More on the importance of self-talk

Several weeks ago I wrote a post on the importance of self-talk. It addressed research reported by Jeff Hadon in The Motivation Myth. You can find that post here.  Today, I would like to expand on that post and give some additional examples of how self-talk impacts our lives.

Eliminate choice in your speech

Believing that we have a choice presents a huge obstacle to achieving our objectives, because having choices forces us to decide what we want to do. The brain is naturally lazy and it doesn’t want to waste its limited energy making these kinds of decisions. Your brain would much rather follow a rule that has been converted into a habit.

For example, if you say, “I want to” rather than “I have to,” you are much more likely to get to work on time, workout, and eat the right foods. By changing what you say to yourself, you have eliminated choice. The task is now nonnegotiable, and you do it.

Another example. Stop saying “can’t” and start saying “don’t.”

How to use self-talk to overcome temptation

Can we use self-talk to overcome temptation? We most certainly can.

When we tell participants to say “I can’t, they give in to temptation 61% of the time. When we tell them to say “I don’t” , they only give in only 36% of the time.

In another experiment, participants were told to set a personal long-term health and wellness goal. When their motivation flagged, one group was told to say, “I can’t miss my workout”. Another group was told to say, “I don’t miss my workout”. A control group was not given a strategy.

Ten days later the researchers found:

• Three out of ten control group members stuck to their goal.
• Only one out of ten told to say “I can’t” stuck to their goal.
• Eight out of ten “I don’t” group members stuck to their goal.

Not only was “I can’t” less effective than “I don’t”; “I can’t” was less effective than using no strategy at all.

Why does this occur? If we say, “I can’t”, we give ourselves a way out. When you “I can’t,” you automatically start to look for excuses, reasons why you can.  Saying “I don’t” encourages the brain to find ways to ensure that you do because that is the person you have become.

The morale of this story

The morale of this story. Be careful what you tell yourself. Someone important is listening. Eliminate choice. Make it clear to your brain what you will do.

Next Steps

If you enjoyed this post, make sure that you check out some of our other posts on this website. Here are some posts that may be of interest.

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Eight neuroscientific secrets of financial success

The formula for making more money is entirely different from the strategies that will bring you happiness.  Making more money is simple but it’s not easy. Noted neuroscience researcher, Mark Robert Waldman, has identified eight neuroscientific secrets of financial success that I will share with you today.

You can incorporate these strategies into your day to help you double or triple your income.

Eight neuroscientific secrets of financial success

Here are the eight secrets:

1. Just dreaming about your desires will not make them come true. You need to know WHAT motivates you to make money and achieve goals. What do you REALLY desire, and even more importantly, WHY?

2. You need to VISUALIZE the goal and then VISUALIZE the way to achieve it. Most people forget the second half of the visualization process.  According to Oettinger, you also need to visualize how you are going to overcome the obstacles that stand in your way.

3. You need to CRAVE the expected reward. Otherwise, you won’t be motivated to work for that goal.

4. You need to work MUCH HARDER AND LONGER than you are neurologically programmed to do. The brain is lazy so you’ll need to be creative to keep your energy high and your motivation strong. Achieving little successes through out the day will get you releases of dopamine that will help keep you motivated.

5. You need to train your body, mind, and brain, to work more EFFICIENTLY. This requires EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE of your field and your skills. If you don’t have the needed skills you must learn and acquire them.

6. You need to keep your STRESS levels low. This involves exercise, relaxation, taking pleasure breaks, and eating well.

7. You need to triple your OPTIMISM and interrupt your DOUBTS on an hourly basis.

8. You need a TEAM. Success requires colleagues, partners, teachers, and coaches…the best you can afford. None of us can achieve financial success solely on our own.

Next Steps

Again, what you need to do to make more money is simple. However, it is not easy and not everyone will take the time to make it happen. Spend a few minutes now and assess how you can use these neuroscientific secrets of financial success to drive your income higher.

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Mark Waldman’s NeuroTips for Money, Happiness & Success (Free eBook Download)

What’s the fastest way to eliminate stress while working? What’s the best way to create instant rapport with colleagues and clients? What’s the easiest way to eliminate procrastination & perfectionism?

These and other questions are answered from the latest brain science in Mark Waldman’s new ebook NeuroTips for Money, Happiness & Success.

Each year, at Loyola Marymount University, 25-35 elite business leaders are selected to be part of Mark Waldman’s prestigious Executive MBA program, and on the first day, they come into Mark’s NeuroLeadership class to learn how to transform the way they work and the way they communicate with others.

How would you like to have access to those strategies that Mark’s students pay thousands of dollars for? For a limited time, Mark’s giving you access to the core set of NeuroTips in his newest ebook that you can download for free!

These NeuroTips have been proven to boost work productivity and satisfaction. I hope you check them out.

Download a copy HERE

How can I motivate myself? The Real Truth

Do you often find yourself asking how can I motivate myself? Are you having trouble taking action? Are you looking for that spark of motivation that will get you going (again)?

Unfortunately, motivation is NOT the spark that will get you moving. Motivation is a result. It’s the fire that is lit after you take action.

The Truth About How Can I Motivate Myself?

Each time you take action, and either achieve a small goal or at least learn from the try, your brain gives you a shot of dopamine as a reward.

Motivation is something you get, from yourself, automatically, from feeling good about achieving small successes. Accomplishing something, no matter how small the task, makes us feel better about ourselves and more ready to take on additional tasks.

The Best Way to Get Motivated

Real motivation comes after you start. Therefore, the best way to get motivated is to “break a sweat” and get started. That is why John Assaraf is constantly telling us to chunk down a goal into easily eaten bites and to do less to completion.

The secret is to start.

So today, list three things you can do to today to move towards one of your goals. If you cant think of three, at least list one. Then take action and do it.

Do this and you will find quickly that you have even more motivation to do more.

The above is based on the book, The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win, written by Jeff Haden.

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Using Gratitude To Improve Your Life

Using gratitude to improve your life? Is it possible? Yes, it’s true.

Gratitude changes your brain and it really can improve your life? Each time you pause and feel grateful, your brain changes in a number of ways: your self-esteem increases, your stress level drops, and you increase your lifespan each time you savor the little joys in life.

Stop right now, take a moment and savor the Earth. Breathe in the beauty of the sky. Feel the softness of the ground beneath your feet. And listen to all the sounds that fill this wonderful world – birdsongs, heartbeats, a child’s laughter – as you bring more serenity into your life. That is the power of gratitude, one of the most powerful ways to strengthen the social-awareness circuits in your brain!

What are you grateful for? Your health? Friends? Freedom? Loved ones? How about the planet on which you live?

Savor the feeling.


Write down 3 things you feel grateful for at the end of the day (yes, you have to write it down to get the full neural benefits!). Do it for 7 days and the research shows your self-esteem will continue to INCREASE FOR 3 MONTHS.

Additional Resources

Here are additional posts on gratitude:

Gratitude Rituals

Your Day begins with your evening rituals

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Secret To Achieving Your Goals

Want to know the secret to achieving your goals?  Once you have set your goal and developed a daily plan to achieve it, focus on that process and not the goal itself. That is the advice of Jeff Haden, author of The Motivation Myth.

Everyone has goals. The people who actually achieve them, create routines, build systems and anticipate the obstacles that are going to come up against and plan for them. They consistently take steps that in time will ensure that they reach that goal. In effect, they forget the goal and focus on the process.

The Old Way of Achieving Your Goals

In the past people spent all your time focusing just on the end goal. Those who do that may become disheartened by how far they still have left to go. For example, say you want to lose 125 pounds. After several months you have lost twenty pounds (a significant sum). If you continue to focus on the goal, many will overlook all the progress and fixate on the fact that they are still far from achieving it. If you continue to focus on this gap, instead of the weekly progress, you may give up and eventually gain the weight back.

The Newer Way of Achieving Your Goals

There is a better way. Instead of focusing on goals, focus on the process.

If you focus on doing the things that you need to do, day in and day out to achieve your goal, you will make daily progress, and each day this will give you a dopamine reward to help you stay on track.

What matters is not how you currently compare with your goal. What matters is that you consistently work your process and do what you set out to do, each and every day, to reach your goal.

Thoughts?  Comment below and share on social media.

Tips for Improving Willpower

Here are some brief tips for improving willpower from Jeff Hayden’s excellent book, The Motivation Myth . These will help you accomplish your goals without needing to depend on willpower, a resource that dwindles throughout your day.

What is Willpower?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Willpower is the ability to control yourself . It’s a strong determination that allows you to do something difficult (such as to lose weight or quit smoking). At its essence, willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.

Willpower is a limited resource

However you define it, willpower is a limited and dwindling resource.  You start the day with a certain amount and it fluctuates throughout the day and generally declines over time.

Willpower can be compared to a muscle that becomes fatigued with overuse. Studies show that repeatedly resisting temptation drains your ability to withstand future enticements.

Exceptional willpower is not a quality you are born with. Rather they’ve found ways to make decisions that don’t require willpower and determination.

Six Tips For Improving Willpower

Step 1: Eliminate as many choices as possible.

Choice is a problem because it forces you to decide what it is that you want to do. The more choices we need to make during the day, the harder each one is on our brain and the more it depletes your willpower.

The best way to eliminate choice is to develop good habits so that your brain can operate on automatic. This is what the brain does by default. Whenever it finds that it needs to so something again and again, it creates a new neural network to make repetition more efficient. Your job is to oversee your brain and make sure that this new habit supports you in the pursuit of your objectives.

Step 2: Make decisions at night so you need to make them tomorrow.

Pick easy decisions that will drain your store of willpower and make them at night before you go to bed.

The idea is to take as many decisions off the board as you can the night before, because that will allow you to conserve tomorrows mental energy for making decisions that really matter.

For example, lay out your clothes for tomorrow so you don’t have to decide or look for what you need. Also, if you want to workout first thing in the morning, have your workout clothes and shoes set out so they will remind you. Also make your to do list before going to bed. This will get the needs of tomorrow off your mind as well as set your priorities in advance.

Step 3: Do the hardest things you need to do first.

You have the greatest mental energy early in the day so focus on doing your most difficult challenges first. Don’t waste time reading email or the newspaper. Save your willpower for the crucial things.

Dive right into one of your highest impact activities and complete it. The feeling of getting it done will motivate you to accomplish even more.

Step 4: Refuel Often. 

Your willpower is tied to your blood glucose levels.

Maintaining steady blood-glucose levels, such as by eating regular healthy meals and snacks, may help prevent the effects of willpower depletion. So take periodic breaks to eat or snack.

Step 5: Create reminders of your long-term goals. 

Create tangible reminders designed to pull you back from the impulse brink. Post little stickup note on the refrigerator reminding you that you are not the kind of person who eats late night snacks.

Step 6: Remove temptation altogether.  

Control your environment to help your self-control. Make it automatic to follow the right routines.

If you are trying to lose weight, get high caloric snacks and deserts out of the house. Similarly, if you are attempting to eliminate alcohol or tobacco from your life, get them out of the house. “Out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t leave temptations around to “tempt” you.

Additional Information

For more information on Willpower check out this excellent resource from the American Psychological Association.

The Importance of Our Self-Talk

Much of what we feel, understand and accomplish every single day happens as a result of our self-talk. Our ability to work, solve problems and respond to our environment is controlled by this self-talk and the questions we ask ourselves consciously and unconsciously. It is critically important that we understand the importance of our self-talk.

Importance of Self-Talk

The basic purpose of our brain is to help us make decisions which keep us alive and self-talk plays a major role in this.

When you ask yourself a question, your brain searches until it finds answers that are acceptable to your conscious mind. What is acceptable is determined by what you have been conditioned to through language patterns, experiences and repetition over time. You can ask yourself any question and your brain will automatically find an answer.

How Questions Work

Questions, according to Tony Robbins in his quintessential book, Awaken The Giant Within, accomplish three things:

  1. They immediately change what we’re focusing on and therefore how we feel.
  2. Questions change what we delete. Often, we feel bad because we delete all the reasons we could be feeling good.
  3. They also change the resources available to us.
Questions can be Empowering or Dis-empowering

The questions we ask ourselves can either be empowering or disempowering. You can ask disempowering questions that make you think about things that make you feel bad and block you from taking action. Or you can ask empowering questions that make you feel good and motivate you towards achieving your goals.

For example, what is more empowering?  Asking what will happen if I fail or what will happen when I succeed?  Pretty obvious isn’t it.

Results of asking better questions?

As you get used to asking yourself better questions, doing so will become  more and more automatic. You will begin to ask yourself better questions, even without knowing it.

When you learn you to ask yourself better questions,  gradually over time, you will find that you are making better decisions. Additionally, you will feel more positive, motivated, and confident.

Empowering Questions that Tony Robbins Asks Each Morning

Some of this self-talk  can be routinized and given structure. Here is a list of questions that Tony Robbins asks himself each morning:

  1. What am I most happy about in my life now?
  2.  What am I most excited about in my life now?
  3.  What am I most proud about in my life now?
  4.  What am I most grateful about in my life now?
  5.  Who do I love? Who loves me?
Problem-Solving Questions

Here are some additional  questions that Tony Robbins recommends for dealing with problems that arise throughout the day.

  1. What is great about this problem?
  2. What is not perfect yet?
  3. What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
  4. What am I willing to do no longer do in order to make it the way I want it?
  5. How can I enjoy the process while I do what is necessary to make it the way I want it?

What new empowering questions are you going to ask yourself?  Let us know in the comments below.

Turning Worries Into Solutions

Do you have worries? Undoubtedly you do. If you are alive, you have problems. We all do.  Are you interested in turning worries into solutions?

Of course you are. In this post, I am going to describe one of the most effective evidence-based strategies for dealing with negative feelings and thoughts that hold us back from realizing our goals and dreams.

This process is based on a decade of cognitive/behavior research and neuroscience. A majority of successful business people and entrepreneurs currently practice it.

The Three Step Process

Here is a basic three step process for turning worries into solutions:

1: identify a specific worry and write it down.

2: Reframe the worry as a real-time problem.

3: Ask yourself: “How do I solve this problem and overcome any obstacles that stand in my way?”

This allows you to create a PLAN you can set into ACTION.

Want to Take It to The Next Level?

If you would like to supercharge the earlier three step process, use the WOOP process based on the latest research of Gabriele Oettingen (Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation):

1. First visualize your goal or desire in great detail. (Wish or Desire)

2. Visualize in great detail all of the benefits if you achieved that wish/desire/goal. (Outcome)

3. Visualize and write down all of the obstacles that are stopping you from attaining that goal). (Obstacles)

4: Visualize a plan or strategy that will move you toward your goal. (Plan)

If you don’t have a solution, you’ll need new skills or coaching to see if your plan is realistic. If not, focus on a different wish/desire.


The Five Second Rule

Do you have trouble motivating yourself to take action?  Do you press the snooze button? Do you have trouble starting that big project? Do you fail to strike up a conversation with that attractive single across the room?  If these ring true, the Five Second Rule is for you.

It may sound ridiculous, and perhaps simplistic, but Mel Robbins “Five Second Rule” is the answer. It’s a simple mental “hack” that will enable you to take action.

Your brain wants to keep you safe. That is its primary function. As a result, the brain places much of your life on auto-pilot, following habits that your brain has created to keep you safe and stuck in your comfort zone.

To overcome this auto-pilot, you have approximately five seconds in which to take action. After that, your auto pilot kicks in. If you can take action within that short period, you disrupt the habit loop that is running and are able to take action.

Using the Five Second Rule, you regain the choice to go from auto-pilot to decision-maker in your life. Are you up for taking control?  Five, Four, Three, Two, One … GO!

Listen as Mel Robbins explains the the Five Second Rule in this extraordinary interview with Tom Bilyeau. Incorporate this hack into your life.

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