Triggering Intention: How To Remember To Remember

You’ve got a lot to store in that brain of yours.
Sometimes you need to remind yourself to remember
something. The most effective way to remember is to
choose your triggers wisely.

Post-its work great, but I’m all for simplifying things
even further. By choosing to make a certain behavior a
trigger for a particular thought, we can skip the paper
and adhesive and get right to the important stuff.

The trick is to be intentional about it. We tend to hop
in the shower and let our minds wander to all the stuff
we’re supposed to do. We go about the process of
soaping, shaving, and shampooing without paying much
attention to what we’re doing. We jump into our cars
each morning, absorbed by our thoughts. We wash the
dishes, sort the laundry, wait in line at the gas station,
stand at the grocery counter, and vegetate during
commercials without noticing what we’re thinking. By
incorporating some simple mindfulness techniques into
our daily routine, we can focus on our intentions and
create lasting changes in our brains.

We’ve already learned that in order to get our brains to
work for us instead of against us, we must come up
with present-tense statements that we would like to be
true, and we have to repeat them to ourselves daily.
Spend some time coming up with two or three
one-sentence statements about how you want to feel.

No fair using numbers. This isn’t about setting sales
goals or salary amounts or even the number of pounds
you want to lose. Make a statement that simply
describes how you want to feel about your life right

Here’s a list of possible statements:

“I am filled with joy and excitement each day.”

“I feel confident, relaxed, and open to whatever the
day may bring.”

“I have plenty of time to accomplish whatever I need
to do.”

“I have plenty of energy to enjoy my free time.”

“I attract plenty of money for all my needs.”

“I am surrounded by loving people who want only the
best for me.”

“I am fit, healthy and active.”

“I am calm and mindful of all that arises in and around me.”

Your brain needs to hear these positive statements,
even if you think YOU don’t need to. Humor your brain,
okay? Give it some happy food to chew on. Allow your
mind to mull things over subconsciously.

Brain research tells us that we need to see it, say it
and hear it. If at all possible, say your statements out
loud if only in a whisper. Watch yourself in a mirror
while you do it. Hear your voice saying the words.
Visualize what it looks and feels like when each
statement is true. The more senses you engage, the
more quickly your brain will absorb your statement.

Remember that your mind doesn’t sort thoughts into
neat piles marked “real” or “imagined”. Everything goes
in and is processed in the same way. You must feed
your brain what you want to believe. We all do a great
job of spooning in the negative thoughts, so why is it
too much to ask to dish out a few positive ones?

Once you’ve got your statements, then what? How do
you remember to repeat them in a consistent way?

Choose your triggers. Select a certain habit or activity
that you engage in every single day. It can be
something as simple as brushing your teeth. Any
activity that gives you about 30 seconds of time to
focus will work. It helps to choose an activity that is
somehow related to your intention statement.

For example, let’s say that you want to feel less
rushed. Think of a trigger related to time. Hitting the
snooze button? Looking at your watch? Waiting for
your bus or train? Don’t choose ALL of these-you
won’t remember them all. Instead, choose one single
action to be your trigger for repeating that statement.
Think “time” whenever you engage in that activity, and
repeat your statement: “I have plenty of time to
accomplish everything I need to do.” Or, you could
use that trigger to think “relaxed” and repeat “I am
relaxed and unhurried.”

Use the language that works best for you, but make
sure it is present tense and positive–say “I am relaxed”
instead of “I’m not stressed.” Neuroscientific studies
indicate that if we say the word “stressed” our brains
will zero in on that and skip the “not” part!

Once you’ve selected it, start creating the habit of
repeating your statement to yourself whenever you
engage in that behavior.

Want to work on your attitude about money? Every
time you open your checkbook or use your credit card,
remember “plenty” and repeat your intention statement
about it. “I attract plenty of money for all of my
needs.” Maybe you want to spend less money. In that
case, think “save” and say “I save money wisely” or “I
am thrifty and frugal.”

Looking to improve your approach to your wellness?
Repeat your intention statement each time you take
the first bite of a meal or lace up your exercising
shoes. Think “healthy” and repeat “I am fit, healthy
and active.”

Longing to find a loving relationship? Each time you see
an affectionate couple or someone you find attractive,
remember “love” and state your intention: “I am loved
deeply and treated lovingly.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative thought
cycles we’ve all developed during our lives. Our brains
already know the “I’m never going to get ahead
financially” story and the “No matter what I do, I can’t
lose this weight” story. Our minds are getting way too
many repeats of the “Other people fulfill their dreams,
but not me” fairy tale.

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