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Inner genie thumb
I've personally really struggled with having a list of things I KNOW would make my life amazing - meditating, being fitter, saving more money, etc. - but doing them has been tough (like most people).
But it wasn't until I started doing ONE thinking mental exercise each day that I started making more of the right decisions on a daily basis, enough that it led me to the right spots in my life I wanted.
This mental exercise has helped me when I'm struggling with figuring out what path to take, whether or not I should do something, as well as how to stay motivated on a daily basis.
It all starts with accessing your "inner genie"
The Inner Genie Exercise
Anytime I was confronted with potentially slacking on a habit (like meditating), or I wasn't clear about what the next step was, I asked myself one thing:
"What does the expert do? What would the fit Alex do? What would the Buddha Alex do? What would the Alex that actually saves money do?"
It sounds super simple, but here's how my life changed.
Example 1 - "Ugh, I really don't want to shoot this video after a 10 hour day."
Here's a classic example in my own daily life.
I'm really interested in building Modern Health Monk's audience, but it takes a lot of work.
And since I shoot these videos in bulk (this year, I'm doing a DAILY video), it means I set aside about 80 minutes straight just for filming, after several hours of prepping for the videos.
With a job, that means I need to sit down and talk for over an hour straight, after an already 10 hour work day. And it's pretty easy to go "ugh, I just worked 10 hours."
... But then I do the exercise.
What does the BEST version of myself do? What does the Alex with a huge modern health monk audience do? He shows up, films the videos, and gets it done.
That's how I instantly know what I should be doing.
Example 2 - "Ugh, I just want to get to work and not have to do this long morning routine. I could sleep in so much more."
The same thing often happens with my meditation: it's a lot easier for me to just roll out of bed, make a quick breakfast, and then get to work quickly.
It would be a lot easier for me to just skip the meditation and do whatever I wanted in the morning.
But I know meditation benefits me, and I know I want to be the kind of person that meditates daily.
So then the question comes up:
What would the Buddha Alex do?
Well I’ve read many biographies of buddha, about the hours he meditated in the morning, the walking meditations, the evening meditations, the 5, 6, or 10 hours of meditating a day. What would the Buddha Alex do?
He would get himself to do it and figure it out. He would shut up and do it :-).
Then it's pretty obvious what I have to do if I want to become the kind of person I want to be.
Example 3 - "The weekends are so boring... this sucks... what do I do?"
I've always struggled with boredom and unhappiness on the weekends, since I usually work a lot of hours during the week (without that much free time). So when I encounter a lot of free time I freak out. I'm insane, huh?
So I ask myself the same question:
What kind of person do I want to become?
What does the happy Alex do? Maybe he goes and hangs out with his family.
What does the healthy Alex do? Maybe he goes hiking somewhere or goes for a run.
Whatever you want to become more of (Healthier, happier, wealthier, etc.), you use this exercise to figure out what you need to do. Then do it.
You can answer your own questions, and then life isn't such a mystery. It's also infinitely easier to stay motivated because you know what needs to happen.