Ten percent new every day or two

Tiredness and the ‘10% New’ challenge

Reading time 6 mins

Your mind, your mood, and your vitality

It’s amazing just how powerfully our mood can affect our vitality. It’s also amazing how our gloomy or negative moods can quickly blend into one another to become our habitual attitude.

Mind and body affect one another

But what is particularly impressive, or scary, is how our habitual moods affect our vitality or ‘energy levels.

What we habitually think about, what we habitually dwell upon, determines whether we feel tired and lethargic or feel alert and vital.

Yes, tiredness is often the result of hard work. And it is sometimes the result how we habitually think – of our attitude.

True? Or just a theory?

Is this true? Can your outlook, your on-going emotional state, really affect how much energy you have? Or is it just someone’s theory?

In NLP we take the view that personal experience is more convincing scholarly research. That’s why, for example, in our own NLP courses in the New Forest participants experiment with and test everything – including this.

So I recommend you do the same for this claim about mood and vitality. And you can do it in a couple of minutes.

Compare the following scenarios

Compare the following scenarios to get an idea of how your mood affects your vitality. You will need to do this rather than just read about it.

So first read the description of Scenario 1 and then sit back and imagine being in it for two or three minutes. Then shake that off by standing up or moving about.

Then do the same for Scenario 2.

Scenario 1

Take a moment to get into and experience the following:

It’s a mid-winter Monday morning.

Outside it’s cold, raining, and dark and gloomy – you can hear the traffic sloshing by.

You’ve got a very heavy workload facing you this week because you’re covering for someone who will be absent for the week.

And, oh yes, you have to attend the usual, very boring, 2-hour work meeting once you get in.

And you’ve just checked your emails or opened the morning post and discovered that you owe more money to someone that you’d expected.

Right, how do you now feel in this scenario?

And, especially, how energetic do you feel? If this were a real situation would you be

bouncing about?

bounding up and down steps and stairs?

walking with a spring in your step?

looking at the world with a twinkle in your eye?

ready to take on and meet the challenges of your working week?

It’s unlikely. Most people will feel low, deflated, and at least somewhat drained at the prospect.

Scenario 2

Now slightly change the scenario – it’s the same day and everything is the same as above apart from one item…

It’s a mid-winter Monday morning.

Outside it’s cold, raining, and dark and gloomy – you can hear the traffic sloshing by…

You’ve got a very heavy workload facing you this week because you’re covering for someone who is off for the week

And, oh yes, you have to attend the usual, very boring, 2-hour work meeting once you get in…

BUT just before leaving your home you get some great news (choose from the following or invent a better one to suit you)…

Somebody who you are very attracted to has just sent you a text saying they would like to meet you one evening this week or…

You have received a legacy of a substantial amount of money (though not enough to enable you to give up your job)…

You just received a letter saying that your interview was successful and that the job of your dreams is yours — you can start in four weeks time…

You have received great news about a member of your family (e.g. your partner or yourself is, finally, pregnant after a long wait)

What’s your mood like now as you head off for work? And how is it the different to before you received this great news?

How does your mood change from the first to the second scenario?

“Have a nice day?” No, have a stimulating one!

What we think about and how we think affects your energy.  Habitual gloomy or negative thinking erodes optimism unless we pay attention to how we live our daily lives.

But there’s another piece…

Remaining cheerful and optimistic isn’t easy if it’s only done mentally. It’s not all in the mind. We also need to manage how we live our daily lives so that our routines and activities stimulate us mentally and physically.

Happily this doesn’t mean you have to get up an hour earlier and walk and run till you’re even more exhausted.

Mind affects body – and body affects mind

Many of us feel weary or even downright exhausted at times. Sometimes with good reason, such as when we’ve been working very hard, exercising strenuously, experiencing a lot of stress, and so on.

But often it’s the sameness, the mundaneness, of everyday life and its routines and struggles that gets to us – and creates mental and physical weariness.

We slip into a rut and begin to focus mainly on the things that are not going right in our lives and/or to the bad things which might happen.

This. in turn, affects how we stand, sit and move. Our posture slumps, our movements become slower, our face becomes less animated and the pull of gravity seems to become a little bit stronger!

Soon these mental and physical patterns become the norm. Our attitude changes and we accept that ‘this is how I am’ and put it down to age or our genes! And our bleak attitude, in turn, finds even more evidence to support it!

What’s the answer?

Some people advocate changing diet. And, yes, tiredness is often accompanied by a lack of magnesium, potassium, and the B and C vitamins – but I have yet to come across anyone who has eliminated this type of weariness with nutritional supplements.

Better to ensure you adopt a varied and healthy diet of regular meals.

Other people will advocate taking up exercise. Great idea – but the catch is that when you’re tired the very thought of exercise is off-putting.

The answer could be quite simple and undemanding: get out of the rut – little by little.

Change your routines

Think about what happens when you go on holiday for a week or two – or even have a weekend away. The different location, things to do and see, food, and people – and the different routine or lack of routine – refresh us. So we begin looking at life differently.

We look at each other – and even at ourselves – differently.

This is one reason why so many people are tempted to move permanently to the holiday destination. But it rarely works – because our affinity for routine soon produces the same attitude there!  (Shakespeare was a pretty wise individual in how he observed life and the human condition. He says in Henry IV ‘If all the year were playing holidays to sport would be as tedious as to work’.)

But routine can quench the joy of living. And changing your routine – even just a little – can break the cycle of sameness-boredom-weariness-sameness.

“10% NEW” for 2 weeks

We need routine to make our lives run smoothly and to do things efficiently.

But never-ending and never-changing routine can be ‘un-useful’!  Balance this by offering yourself yourself the 10% New challenge for a couple of weeks – when you do something new every day for 14 days.

  • Take a different route to work
  • Do things in a different order
  • Go out for a mid-week meal
  • Shop in a different shop or locality
  • Dress a little differently
  • Try a different food
  • Talk to people you haven’t talked to before…

.. the list is endless – add your own.

The main thing is to start making little changes and to stick with this for two weeks. And see (and feel) what a difference this makes.

Now you could keep a diary for the two weeks to follow what happens – but this is only for those of us who are very systematic – or just plain sceptical.

Only 10% though

For most people changing lots of things doesn’t tend to work too well. It creates resistance from those around them. It’s disruptive and less efficient. And it’s difficult to maintain the momentum.

Stick to quite small changes.

That’s why it’s just 10% new and different – rather than 90%. This introduces the habit of frequently making little adjustments – that’s enough to keep you out of those ruts.

And, if you make a 10% change every day or two, think of the difference that’ll make in a year…



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