Ean Weichselbaum

~Transcendence~

Showing Up

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Today I want to tell you about a little thing I learned doing improv theatre.

Imagine you’ve signed up for an improv class. You’re there, sitting in the audience. A little confused yet excited. Suddenly you hear your name being said. It’s your turn to get up on stage to play a little scene with someone. Your mind freezes. You’re like: “I don’t have any ideas…What am I supposed to do? I’m not a very creative person…” While your mind keeps chattering you get up. You calmly walk up until you’re standing there for everyone to see. Bare as you are in that moment. There’s another person standing next to you – equally clueless about what’s going to happen with and betwen the two of you. Then you enter into a state of silence. Your mind turns off. Your senses heighten. You can feel your blood rushing through your body, your heart pounding. You can hear all the little noises in the room You see the people, their attention resting upon you expectantly. There is a great opulence, but also an equally great emtpiness. Out of this emptiness it happens…

When I started doing improv it wasn’t like that at all. I felt blocked a lot of the time. Anxious. Questioning myself. Unsure of myself. Hesitant. But there is one thing that my amazing teacher Silke taught me which has really stuck with me in all aspects of my life:

  • Show up. Step in there. Even if you have no idea about what you are going to do or what is going to happen. Trust and take the first step. Everything else is sure to follow.

It’s the same principle I use for writing these articles. Most of the time I do not know what to write about. But I sit down with my pen and journal. I set aside time. I put the pen to the paper and write the date. I am open and receptive to whatever comes. Trusting and taking the first step lays the foundation for what’s to come – to come around you and through you. It sets the frame in which experience can manifest. If you are here reading this please do me a favor. The next time you feel doubtful or unsure – just take that first step, with faith. Even if your knees are shaking and your palms are sweating. I promise you – something is going to happen. And it’s going to be beautiful. Have an amazing day.

Take the first step NOW (Decisions)

step.jpgRecently I thought about how more than a month ago I had been to an Anthony Robbins seminar where on one day his co-speaker told us that Tony has a great saying: “Never leave the place of a decision without taking action first.” Think about it. I find it to be amazing.
Immediately taking action…

  • communicates to your subconscious that you’re serious
  • builds momentum
  • feels great – it’s an instant success
  • is a first step towards your goal
  • in the case of changing habits and behaviours -> uses the new neuronal pathway of the habit/behaviour you want to adopt
  • makes it easier to take the second step!

Today I was quicky making my way to get to an event. I had bought some food on the way and was eating while I was walking.. Recently, I noticed, I had not been properly taking time to eat for a few times. I mean I do eat pretty high quality and healthy food, in my opinion – but often I would not take enough time to have a break, relax, and really take time to eat. I am aware that this is important. So while I was walking and while I was eating I was also thinking about how the way I was eating – even at that very moment, was becoming a negative pattern in my life. I could feel in my body that he wasn’t appreciating this. Very clearly I could feel that. A body signal. So I made a decision. “I will take time to eat and relax and take proper care of my body!”

I was still walking and eating. I felt a discrepancy.
Okay! I decided to implement immediately. I looked for a nice spot – next to the sidewalk. Between two bushes. A ray of sunlight illuminated that spot. I arrived. I stood. Felt my legs touching the ground. I took a deep breath. Felt my body. Smiled. Then I enjoyed what was left of my food with tranquilty. Savoring the food. Amazing…
Then I rewarded myself and celebrated!

Next time you make a decision – implement immediately. No matter how small the step you are taking – it is a step in the direction you are heading and it is ever so significant and important. Have an amazing day!

Listen Inside

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Many times we do things that are expected of us. Sometimes our cooperation or contribution is really important for the functioning of a system or because others depend upon or rely on us. Even though we might prefer to do something else at that moment.
The problem arises if we don’t acknowledge this fact. If we don’t notice “Oh, actually I’d like to do this other thing. Yet I now choose to do this because I want to meet my responsibilities or because this is really important for somebody else… or because it’s simply ‘the right thing to do’, judging by my intuition”.

If we don’t do this and just keep acting like we don’t have another preference. If we don’t “listen inside” and ignore that voice which tells us what we are really feeling in that moment – we harm ourself. We don’t listen to that voice inside telling us about our feelings and needs. We ignore it. We practice violence against ourself. As we ignore that voice it gets a little quieter. The more and the longer we do this – the quieter this voice inside of us gets. Until there comes a point where we ourself can’t even hear it anymore. We might be faced with a situation or a choice – we try to listen inside – nothing. It’s because we have trained ourself to get numb. We learned to ignore a part of our experience and feelings.

How do we come out of this pattern?

First we can get aware of what is happening inside of us. We try to notice what we are feeling – or we observe that we aren’t feeling anything at all. And that’s okay. Then we gradually try to give that voice more and more importance. We start taking it serious. At first – there might be a decision. We might be unsure. But we just act and shoot in the direction of our gut instinct. People around us might not like it, our actions might even seem a little bit out of proportion or unreasonable – but we remember: This is a learning experience. Our goal is not to make a perfect decision- it’s just to give that little voice inside more room to be and to allow that energy inside to flow freely. It is an act of allowing.
If our environment seems like it’s trying to reduce this space we might need to protect this ever so precious room we are creating for ourselves and for our deeper feelings and needs, thoughts and impulses.

We can even tell those people in our life: “Hey. I’m trying to learn more about myself. Some of my actions and decisions might seem weird to you. Please be kind – as I am kind to myself by doing this.” We can be creative, to find spaces where we can do what is important to us.

Let me give you an example:
A really big need of mine is to have private time – where nobody is talking with me and I don’t have to react or respond to anything. In the past I have felt a little weird for having such a strong need for privacy. But I try to listen inside a lot – while trying to be aware of how my decisions make people areound me feel. So last week was busy overall and I was having an especially busy day. I was driving with a friend in his car – we had been shopping for an event we were helping to organize. The volume and complexity of the tasks and necessary coordination was really taxing and I wasn’t feeling very relaxed.
I felt like I needed a few moments to do some deep breathing and relax. I felt tense. Then I felt like: “Wow this is going to be weird. I’m rejecting my friend if I just don’t talk to him.” But I was like: “Okay, lets try it. It’s gonna be fine!” I told him that I’m gonna do some deep breathing to relax. He was like: “Okay! No problem.” So I did some really satisfying and rejuvenating deep breathing in the midst of this crazy day. It felt absolutely amazing. Having five minutes of quality relaxation time. When I was finished we resumed talking and the whole atmosphere had relaxed – within me and also in the car. Very beautiful. Another thing beside deep breathing I do every day is dancing to at least one song and especially: dancing in front of the mirror while making funny faces to myself. I just love doing this and it lights me up. I proactively make time to integrate this into my day. It pays off.

  • How does being kind to yourself by listening to yourself feel like? Theoretically?
  • Where in your life could you listen inside more and more in the coming days and weeks?
  • Where in your life do you want to let yourself be heard more- first by yourself and then by others?
  • What’s one thing that by proactively making time and room for it every day you know you could make your day and your life more beautiful, peaceful, light, joyful, focused and amazing?

Give it a go and let me know. Or even better yet: RPM it! Have an amazing day.

1song

1I used to be really really scared of dancing. As far back as I can remember it has always felt uncomfortable and weird to me. Even as a little boy and then as a teenager I was afraid of being judged by others and by myself. Afraid to look stupid. Afraid to “do it wrong”. It was something I avoided at all cost, something that made me feel stiff and numb inside. Something I dreaded.

Since I started doing improv about six years ago and then a few years later started going to five rythm dancing classes regularily my experience of dancing has changed quite radically. I found out that moving my body and expressing myself can be an incredibly fun thing to do – so far that it now is an indispensible part of my life. Something amazingly beautiful and deep, healing and envigorating, even therapeutic.

I feel like moving your body to music is something wonderful. If you’re just a little bit like I was then you might not really share this opinion. So that’s why I wrote this article. To give some suggestions as to why a little bit of dancing every day is so amazing and then: how to allow yourself to do it. Even though you might be really really scared. So let’s put our old opinions and views aside and try to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.

What does dancing in awareness do for you?
I’ll explain what it does for me, because it will probably do something similar for you.

  • Dancing for me makes me feel free, it helps me to relax and open up. It allows me to show my emotions and to feel my vulnerability and also to feel my strength. I’ve had days where the few minutes I was dancing were some of the best moments of that day. Just standing in front of the mirror in a hotel room and dancing to some music I enjoy. Looking silly. Feeling a bit weird –  but hilarious and happy! Or sometimes really really sad and mellow. It’s all good.
  • Connected with myself and with the music. Expressing myself. Feeling like there’s room for me to be and to show my emotions. Room that I might not have felt on that day.
  • Dancing energizes me and makes me joyful. When I move then I feel alive. It’s also challenging – trying not to do the same movements over and over and to stay connected with the music while expressing my own emotions at the same time.
  • It’s also moderate exercise – gets me moving and gets some Oxygen pumping through my body and I feel awake afterwards.
  • It helps me to clear my mind. If some thoughts are circling through my head and I can’t seem to shake them off – dancing helps. It somehow puts those thoughts back into my body – and then they can flow and change and the dam wall is broken. The water of my experience of life is flowing again.
  • It helps me to deal with difficult emotions. For example when I feel sad or depressed dancing can do wonders for me! It’s just amazing how a few minutes of moving to a beat or to a melody can light me up 🙂 Miraculous even…

How to do it?

  1. Set aside five or ten minutes where you’ll be undisturbed – best on your own if you’re a little shy.
  2. Finde a nice spot where you have at least some room to walk around and move.
  3. Put on some music you like (headphones or speakers) and then start moving. It doesn’t matter HOW you move. It’s not a dancing contest. It’s only important that YOU enjoy it.

Now some concrete tips for finding the right movements and expanding your comfort zone. Try experimenting with the following:

  • slow/fast
  • fluid movements/hard movements
  • center of gravity
  • lots of stepping around/standing in one place only using the upper body
  • let one body part lead your dance – like all movements being started and lead by your head for example

The most important thing is to be supportive and nice to yourself. If you notice criticism creeping up – that’s a bad habit. Be like: „Okay I might look stupid, but that’s okay. This is my time for enjoying myself. Who cares?“. Put on a big smile and continue 🙂
It is important to make it clear to yourself that everyhing is okay. All movements are valid. Try to find those that you enjoy the most yet keep experimenting. You will notice your brain getting really active – it’s like giving yourself a mental workout as well when you keep it open and keep changing your movement patterns.

If you have a hard time starting at all then just start very very simple. Just shift from one foot to the other. Bop your head. Then try to really enjoy this simple movement. You don’t have to do complicated stuff. Focus on enjoying those movements even though they might be simple and do them 100%. Play all out. Nobody’s looking (hopefully right? ;). Give it all you got. You will be rewarded with a much deeper and satisfying experience than if you hold back. It might not be easy to fully go into it, on some days you might feel like you’re in the flow – on others not so much. Notice these fluctiations and keep enjoying yourself.

  • When you’re done reward yourself. Especially if it was difficult! Encourage yourself and cheer yourself on. Nobody else will do this for you. Take good care of yourself.

Since I made dancing to at least 1 song a day a ritual a little longer than a month ago, I have noticed myself feeling much more alive and vibrant. The biggest advantage is during and after dancing itself. It just feels amazing. Afterwards I’m almost always pumped and I’ve had some of the most productive periods of work after dancing. Overall I feel much more balanced and my body and mine feel synced.

Find out if you would enjoy to dance more often. If so then decide to do it. Set aside 5-10 minutes, find a private spot, put on some cool music and enjoy yourself. Do 1 song for 7 days as a start. What a great reward and what an amazing activity. When you have finished those 7 days look back on what has changed and on how your experience has been. Write me if you want – I’m excited to hear about your experience!

Stuck? Change Your State!

Okay. So I’m here sitting in the park. In between appointments. I have the goal of writing a useful article – in the evening I won’t have time and I’m committed to writing something every day. I have a time-window of 5 minutes because otherwise I’ll be late. I feel pressure to perform. I brainstorm some topics – nothing sticks. My mind is blank and time is passing. I’m starting to feel the onset of frustration. What do I do? RPM! A quick one.

What do I want to do?
Write a great and useful article. In five minutes.

Why do I want to do that?
Because I want to help people. I won’t really have time in the evening. I have planned it now – not doing it would ruin my plans. I want to spend the evening with my girlfriend – without distractions. Because I love writing and helping people.

Massive Action
I take some action. Any. With my notebook in my hand I get up. I walk. It’s good. I stop and get down and do 15 knee bends. A group of children and grown-ups walk by. A woman giggles, the children are fascinated. I feel alive. Oxygen. I sit down and start writing. This. Done. I celebrate (link). Life can be so simple.

As you first find and then gradually put the right strategies and mindsets in place in your life you’ll enjoy succeeding more and more as time goes on.

What is your #1 priority today? RPM it! Enjoy.

RPM

A simple tool for finding clarity for what it is exactly that you want. Finding your why’s, your real motivation and then taking concrete steps for making it happen. I learned it from Anthony Robbins. This is amazing for getting moving and making stuff happen. Use it often and you will find that it gets easier and more effective the more you do it.

So you’ve come here to get results. You’ve come to the right place. Set a strong and clear intention to reach your outcome. Follow the very effective process. Trust in the process. Release attachment to your goal. Enjoy the work. Success.

What’s RPM?

  • Result.
  • Purpose.
  • Massive Action.

Imagine for a moment a time in the future where the outcome you are currently seeking is reached. Whatever you had wished to happen has happened, in the best possible way for you and others. Imagine. Details. Clearly. That’s where we’re going.

Get a journal or a piece of paper and a pen or open a seperate text editor. Only read on if you are really serious about that result you’re after. Go through the process diligently but quickly. Keep moving. Have fun with it!

THE PROCESS

Notice how you feel about your outcome right now. 

  • Step 1: RESULT

Do the following in writing: Get clear on the exact result that you desire. Imagine it with detail and clarity. How will it look when you have achieved what you want? How will it sound and feel? What are the exact properties of having achieved your goal? What aspects are most relevant? How will you know that you have really achieved it? Write it down.

Finished? Well done!

  • Step 2: PURPOSE

Ask yourself: Why do i want this? Why is this goal a must and not just a should-goal? Go for emotionally moving reasons. Where you actually feel something. What’s motivating you deep down? What’s ticking beneath those logical reasons why? What has a strongest emotional component? Where can you feel your juices running, heat rising? What makes you feel disgusted with how things are and elated when you picture your vision? What details can you see clearly that motivate you the strongest? What words really move you when you say or think them? Find your emotional reasons why. Find your leverage. Write it down.

  • Step 3: MASSIVE ACTION

What concrete steps could you now take to move in the direction of your goal? What small, concrete step could you take right now? Write down at least five small or bigger, concrete, well-defined effective steps. This is your action plan. Write down more if you want, but at least five. One of them an action that you can do right now at the end of this exercise.

Done? Great job!
Notice how you feel about your outcome now.
What has changed?

Now take that one little action that moves you closer to your goal immediately in order to set things in motion. No matter how small.
Done?

Yes? Then…CELEBRATE!!!


(See my blog post on
The Value Of Celebration to find out why regularily celebrating your victories could make you happier and more successful today, see here how simple RPM can be applied by an example from my life. It is a tool for small goals as well as big ones!)

Appreciation

0a68996b1a3a6225f9305c4d15c6f1ccLast sunday I went to an indian restaurant with a few friends. The waiter there was really sweet and attentive. You could feel that he was caring. We were talking to him and he told us about how he and his wife had seperated and that he now is working long hours at the restaurant. Also without a woman present in his home he had started smoking, he said compunctiously. I could feel that he was putting a lot of effort and love into making us feel comfortable in the restaurant.

As we paid there was an opportunity and I told him that I really appreciate what he is doing. That without him we would not have had such a warm place to eat lunch and we would not have felt this welcome and cared for and that he is doing a great job. I showed him that we appreciated him and let him feel that his contribution really was an amazing addition to our day. An experience not possible without him being there and being as committed as he was. As he heard this he started to light up. I could see that communicating this made him feel really appreciated and useful. He could feel that what he was doing had meaning for others. It was so beautiful to see this. So beautiful and so simple to do at the same time. Just a few words and a smile. It was all there, laid out in front of me. I just had to muster the courage and share my feelings.

I think often we are afraid of sharing our love and appreciation. We mustn’t be. Because our love beautifully affects those around us and ourselves in the most miraculous ways. Loving and appreciating people is a healing act for both sides. It’s easy. You can’t love and appreciate the people that currently are and those that are coming into your life too much. There’s no overdoing love and kindness, appreciation and gratitude. The only possible side effect is even more love, fulfillment and joy in your life and in the lives of the people you touch. I suggest you go and make a difference in somebody’s life today – it’s so simple and enjoyable. It might not be easy – but it’s totally worth it.

On Self-Love And Self-Respect

Growing up I had a terrible sense of Self-Love. I was a complete perfectionist, always beating myself up and never happy with the results I produced. This led to me feeling frustrated most of the time and not following through with projects because „I could never get it right“. I was afraid of not being good enough. Other people unconsciously picked this up and they too did not treat me as well as I would have liked. Not fun. If you are treating yourself poorly that is an invitation for other people to treat you poorly as well. Why should anybody respect you if you do not respect and love yourself?

Let’s imagine a different situation:
You love yourself. You have challenging but realistic expectations for yourself and you fulfill them most of the time. You respect yourself. You accept yourself. Suddenly someone treats you poorly. What do you do? Firstly you are not really that affected. Because you have your own love and respect. Secondly: you do not tolerate it. If you do not tolerate you yourself treating yourself poorly, why should you let anybody do that. Once you know how good it feels to treat yourself good and love yourself there simply is no way you are going for either treating yourself poorly or accepting other people’s bad treatment. It’s a no-brainer, once you have experienced on a regular basis how good it feels to be treating yourself amazing you just want to keep doing it. Nobody should be able to treat you as well as yourself. If you find someone who treats you better than yourself then you’re doing something wrong.

So here are some simple and actionable tips for developing your sense of Self-Love, Self-Respect and Self Acceptance.

  1. Reward yourself regularily for little and big successes. Good job! Well done!
  2. Forgive yourself for failures. Really learn to fully forgive yourself. The price you have to pay for not forgiving yourself is simply too high. Forgive. It. Feels. Good.
  3. Learn from your failures (also called learning experiences). Develop a constructive mindset.
  4. Find more and more things you love about yourself. Make a liste every day. Think about 3 things you love about yourself right now.
  5. Do something good for yourself every day. Find out what feels amazing to you and do more of that. Eat something healthy, really enjoy a shower, go for a walk, meet with friends, say something nice to yourself. Feel how good it feels.
  6. Value your opinion about yourself over other people’s opinion of you. Not easy? Practice. You are the #1 authority on your life. You write the script. Everybody else is just an actor in your movie.
  7. Have clear rules for when you have succeeded. By YOUR definition, not by other people’s. If you say something is a success – it is. Period. Even if your boss or your friends say otherweise. Your reality. Once this is firmly established you can gently open to feedback and start learning. From a strong stance and with you valuing your opinion over other people’s.
  8. Make it easy for yourself to succeed. Set attainable and clearly defined goals so you know when you have succeeded. Create many little opportunities to succeed, like making your bed in the morning as you get up. Little successes create momentum.

Trying even only of of the above will help you to be on the way to developing more Self-Love, Self-Respect and Self-Acceptance every day. Enjoy the increase in your quality of life. Yes!

Good job reading this and hopefully now thinking about implementing some of it. Investing time and energy in constructive and practical self-development is a great habit to cultivate. As is consciously practicing Self-Love. Have an outstanding day because you deserve it!

Engineering A Streamlined Process Of Change

478259061If you did not tap out reading the title here is what today’s article is about:

Change is necessary for growth. Agree?
Change is challenging and makes life fun. Right?
Change is always easy and straightforward. True?
Well, not always. But today’s article is about how we can make change be more flawless, easy and enjoyable (plus effective and long-term as well as a byproduct).

Remember REPOH for later:

  • Through Repetition an act becomes Easy, making it Pleasurable to do it which leads to you doing it Often which leads to it becoming a HABIT.

What I noticed is that my brain is very much addicted to it’s habits.
To the point that it sometimes outright rejects new behaviours and concepts even
if I’m convinced with all my heart that I want to adopt them. Even if people who are succeeding with the things I want to be successful with are exhibiting exactly these behaviours right in front of my nose. Even if it’s really really obvious. Many a time I have found myself reverting back to old behaviour, although I was trying my best to establish a new one.

So on to my practical theory on change:

You set a goal and decide on a certain outcome. Your expectations of yourself change, your standards for yourself change. You make a plan which involves a behavioural change. You take action. It goes well for some time -> there is progress. Then, inevitaboly, setbacks happen. fluctuations in progress. Your brain tries to revert back to old behaviour.
The reason why this happens is because until a certain point is reached the old behaviour is a stronger habit than the new one. It’s still more in alignment with your (old) identity, feels more like “you” for your brain. This induces your brain to exhibit this behaviour. Understand that it’s your active conditioning!
So now you really only have two options:

Option 1: You get really frustrated.

You feel like failing. You don’t understand why this change is not working out for you. You get distracted, your focus is fractionated. Your physiology is negative. You feel uncomfortable. STOP!
Every single one of these behaviours is taking you in the opposite direction of your desired behavioural change. Feeling uncomfortable and unsuccessful makes you brain look for good feelings and comfort – doing something your brain is good at and that it’s used to. Something that feels safe -> Your old behaviour.
At these points of fluctuation and apparent! setbacks in your progress it is absolutely essential that you get a hold on your emotional reactions by understanding why this is happening.
Then you can re-focus and concentrate your effort to keep reinforcing the new behaviour.
Let me insert a quote from Brian Johnson’s amazing Newsletter quoting Timothy Pychyl:

“This self-change process is uneven. We truly do feel like one day we leap ahead and the next day
we fall back. Although we have to be committed to change and firm in our efforts to be strategic, we also have to be kind to ourselves during this challenging process. We all face setbacks, disappointing moments, and frustrations with our apparent lack of progress. Your attitude toward these setbacks and yourself will be extremely important to your continued progress. Be kind but firm with yourself, and be willing to forgive yourself when you do not live up to your own expectations. One of our recent studies was about this issue of self-forgiveness and procrastination. It has important implications for each of us as we take the self-change journey. What we found was that self-forgiveness for procrastination was related to less procrastination in the future.”

—Timothy A. Pychyl from Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

This brings me to
Option 2: Forgiving yourself and moving on

This enables your brain to learn the new behaviour. The more you now keep doing the new behaviour and keep rewarding yourself for every little step while reframing the setbacks and quickly forgiving yourself, because you now understand why it happened and why it will probably happen again in the future, as these fluctuations are part of the process of change and you now know how to deal with them – the quicker your new habit will feel comfortable and good to your brain which means it will automatically induce you to exhibit this desired behaviour on autopilot before you realize it has happened. Your job is to keep repeating and rewarding and to be patient and forgiving and relentless in your focus and to be totally clear and very specific with your reasons for the desired behavioural change (your why’s) to keep you going with ample motivation while you keep rewarding yourself for every step in the desired direction along the way.
Then you, from time to time, take a step back, look at what you have already accomplished and smile and pat yourself on the back. Then you step back into the arena and keep
going, reinforcing and learning and before you know it your new default behaviour will be the one you had planned to implement.
Success.

  • Know your why’s
  • Have a clear plan for execution
  • Be good to yourself
  • Keep a steady and clear focus and re-focus again and again and again
  • Make a proper effort
  • Reward yourself
  • Repeat

You are bound to be successful. Bound to be successful.

The Value Of Celebration (or why rewarding yourself is so important)

So I went to the UPW 2016 Anthony Robbins seminar in London about a month ago. One of the things I learned there which really blew my mind was how important and beautiful it is to actually reward ourselves after we have achieved something (and I mean even little things, not just big goals once in a while). I’m talking every day. Multiple times a day. I’m talking about making it a habit to reward ourselves!
So what this looked like at the seminar was that after we learned something new (quite intense sessions with a lot of information at a very fast pace) then hey were like: “Okaaaaay. Great. Now let’s put down our workbooks and GET UP!” And then everybody got up, patted themselves on the back and started dancing and celebrating like crazy with music playing! Like there was no tomorrow. Often times without an apparent reason (what reason do we need to feel good anyways?). They said it was to condition our nervous systems to quickly go into a peak state. This and it felt amazing and wole my body and brain up! This is when I realized: That’s how school was supposed to be.

But another reason is to reward ourselves after we have learned something new or achieved something in our day. This makes our brain learn and remember so much better and also very important: we want to do more of what we did before the reward!

So what has happened since I started adopting this new habit? 

In the past I might have worked for 2 hours straight without a break. Then when I was finished I immediately went on to the next task. No celebration, no self-reward, no break. This led to me feeling overworked and then being confronted with the next task (already feeling pretty tired! after 2 hours work) resulting in feeling overwhelmed. Then I felt like I was failing (already having forgotten about the success of the previous task).

Now when I get to work and finish a certain segment (and with many tasks I really have to define a segment and plan a little break and reward) I usually get up, dance like crazy or just simply pat myself on the shoulder, do a gesture of „yes“ and focus on feeling proud of myself. I look at what I’ve done and feel a sense of fulfillment! “Aaah.. that’s how success feels!”, says my brain.

Yes sometimes this feels a little artificial (because it’s a new habit I’m building and I didn’t do this regularily in the past).

The result?

I feel amazing about myself. I help my brain realize „Hey, we just finished something here! We did a good job. Yes!“. And then my brain goes like: „Okaay. Working and achieving is desirable! We feel good when we do this. Yes!“. This enables me to do more work and to be more productive while having a deeper sense of fulfillment, joy and feeling successful overall. It is really just an entirely different experience of living… I totally recommend giving it a try.

So what actually happens when you reward yourself?

You condition an idea-effort-success cycle. Basically you’re learning how to succeed and finish a task and then feel good for doing it. Plus you get in the habit of doing that new task more and more often! Because what you enjoy usually becomes a habit. Only if the reward at the end is there – and I mean a real, emotionally impactful reward that touches you. Doing something where you really feel successful, like giving yourself a high five, moving a certain way, smiling and getting a big grin on your face. Only if a proper reward ar the end is there then your brain effectively learns that new habit.

So you might have been putting in a lot of work like I used to do and then feel unsuccessful at the end, because you forgot to seperate tasks and celebrate little victories. Or because you forgot to celebrate and reward yourself at all, maybe even moved on to the next task at hand without taking a break like I used to do. Not a good strategy to get more of that productive action or work done in the future, don’t you agree? So why not start getting used to a more successful way of doing things – especially if it feels that good? Easy!

How to do it? How do I reward myself?

It can be a simple gesture or something you say to yourself. Most efficient is if you use multiple channels of communication with yourself.

Gestures (making a fist, putting your hands in the air, doing a victory-sign, pulling your elbow down while making a fist going “yes”, breathing full and strong, jumping up and down, dancing and shaking your bum, making a proud face, putting your hands on your hips and standing tall while nodding at yourself in a confident and self-contented way). Dancing to a song I enjoy (3-5 minutes) works amazingly well for me. Also great as a little break before going back to work feeling rejuvenated.

Facial expressions (big grin, open mouth and open eyes like „wow“, everything you can think of that you enjoy 😉 Experiment!

Voice & language: Tell yourself: “Yes! Well done! Great job”. If you cannot be loud you can also talk or shout “silently” – just act like you’re shouting or talking loudly or even singing but don’t actually use your voice. Yet do push air through your throat. This can also be very effective.

If you’re alone – just go crazy to your own liking… If not you can do it more subtly and it’s still effective as long as you really use your body and try to feel it.

Notice what triggers you to feel proud, happy, rewarded and successful. Then be really good to yourself for a few minutes! It might take some experimentation but it’s totally worth it.

Oookay..feeling weird doing this? (or even thinking about doing this)
Okay I get it.. One might feel a little awkward doing this. So the main reason for that weird feeling in general is because the new behaviour is not yet well-known to our nervous system. To experience this first hand let’s do a little 1-minute-exercise:

Raise both of your hands above your head (without smashing anything), then clasp your fingers together.

Done that?… Keep your hands up!

Now you should notice that one of your thumbs is on top of the other. Notice how it feels in your hands. Now change it up so that the other thumb is on top (you might have to change all finger positions).

Now feel how this feels in contrast to the other hand position. Just notice. Does this feel good? Does it feel better or worse?

Great! Relax your arms again and congratulate yourself for learning something new, or for reinforcing something you already knew.

In case you didn’t enjoy the exercise (come on!!) you at least tried something new. Give yourself a big pat on the shoulder or grin or get up or whatever you feel like giving to yourself as a reward. Try it! Then notice how this feels in your body.

Okay so the point of this exercise is to illustrate that things that are not habitual usually feel weird. So this is reason enough that rewarding yourself and celebrating like crazy over little stuff might feel weird at times. If you keep doing it (and it’s pretty easy to keep doing it because it feels really really good and makes you more productive!) then it will feel comfortable in no time (yay!).

So if you feel like giving it a go and trying it out yourself, so you can see why this stuff makes sense and it’s not just all talk:

Here are the simple steps

1. Pick a task.

2. Finish that task or part of the task until you feel you should take a break and reward yourself for the work already done.

3. Reward yourself and celebrate so that you can actually feel the impact in your body!

4. Notice how you now feel in comparison to before. Is this a behaviour worth adopting?
A little addition: celebrating for “no apparent reason” and getting into a peak state sets free neurochemicals in your body that make your brain tune-up. You feel better and are more engaged with the little tasks and things in your life (and also the big things). This has totally changed the quality of my life. I really recommend dancing if you like it. Even a few minutes of timid dancing can totally change your day (and the day of people you come in contact with!). The more passionate and expressive you dance, the more impact it will have on your nervous system though 😉