Let’s face it, waking up on a Monday morning can be confronting. For years, I would wake up to the sound of my alarm anticipating emails, phone calls, and my dwindling lack of freedom. Before I would even get out of bed I could feel the stress, anxiety, and lack of passion pile on.
If this sounds familiar, you may have a case of the “Monday Morning Blues,” that feeling of dread about returning to work on Monday morning. But don’t worry, you’re not alone—it’s a reality for over 75% of workers today.
For Millennials especially, when left to our own devices, our minds can run wild, with racy distractions wreaking havoc upon our ability to focus and find fulfillment at work while hindering us from achieving our goals.
Buddhists call it the “monkey mind,” in that our mind’s natural state can tend to be unsettled, restless, indecisive, and uncontrollable. It’s a kind of mental haze that can make focusing on what really matters—like personal and professional goals—close to impossible.
So how do we tame our minds and get them to work for us rather than against us? Like the old saying goes, “rule your mind or it will rule you.”
One Millennial at the leading edge of success may be able to help. He says there’s a daily mental practice he lives by to gain dominion over his mind and program it to align with his goals effortlessly.
Meet Jake Ducey, a 25-year-old 3x published author with Random House/Penguin whose books about leadership, motivation, and human potential have inspired hundreds of thousands to live more meaningful lives. His latest book, Profit From Happiness, teaches readers how to find unity within the junction of wealth, work, and personal fulfillment. Ducey is also a motivational speaker who has delivered a TED talk, and was the first motivational speaker ever on Van’s Warped Tour to reach over 500k Millennials.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Ducey reveals the mindset practice that has helped him beat the Monday Morning blues and find success and fulfillment in work more easily.
Ducey’s practice is based on scientific research about subconscious imprinting. One study claims the average person has about 65,000 thoughts per day, 95% of which are the exact same as the thoughts the day before. In other words, we have a tremendous amount of mental chatter to sort through, and it remains relatively consistent day-to-day.
Our thoughts are based on stimuli from our external environment—things we are frequently exposed to. On default, many of our thoughts are being influenced by the high volume of data we consume, which may not be supporting us in achieving our goals.
If we want to change our thoughts, we must change our environment and be conscious of what we are exposing our minds to on a daily basis.
Ducey says he has successfully reprogrammed his mind to automatically generate thoughts constructive to his goals with a simple daily practice. Below, Ducey shares how to begin this practice in your own life so you can experience greater mental clarity and ease in achieving your own goals.
1. Determine What Your Goals Are. One of the biggest obstacles we face to attaining our goals is knowing what these goals are. Many of us feel uncertain about the direction we want to take our lives and end up allowing life to pass by us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you don’t need to have every aspect of your life “figured out” in order to get started. You don’t need to have an all-encompassing plan with every detail squared away. Instead, you can pick just one area of your life that you want to improve, like your health or your relationships, and define what that improvement looks like. You might decide you want to feel energized, agile, and clear in your body, or that you want to feel understood, valued, and connected in your relationships. In this step, determine how you want to feel in one or more areas of your life.
2. Write Your Goals Down On Paper. Once you know what your goals are, the next step is to write them down on paper—over and over again. Ducey says he writes each goal down as a concise statement that makes sense to him. Then, he’ll write each statement as many as 30-50 times or until he feels it has landed in his mind and body. “The goal is to imprint it on your mind,” Ducey says. “Most people start the day and they get programmed with a bunch of negative things. They’re getting their thoughts and beliefs suggested to them by the outer world—they’re living out of reaction instead of creation.”
3. Record Yourself Speaking Your Goals. An additional or alternative technique is to record yourself speaking your goal statements and then listen to the audio on repeat. “It’s like how the chorus of a song gets stuck in your head,” Ducey says. “Ever listen to a song and then it’s playing in your head all day?” Setting aside a few minutes each day to listen to your goals will be sufficient to imprint them in your mind and prime your subconscious to take action towards them automatically.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com