Life's Doorway

The Yes Life Hack

I love picking up little life hacks and tricks to improve my health and life. I also enjoy reading some to do with parenting, as I may take up the position one day – you never know!

A while back, I had read how one parent never says ‘no’ to their child. Instead, they make it a habit to always respond with ‘yes’, at least conditionally: “Yes, you can have a candy… tomorrow, because you’ve already had enough today;” or “Yes, you can stay up late… on a weekend.”

I thought this approach was brilliant for a couple of reasons. First, the child doesn’t learn that there are permanent blockages in their life. After all, a ‘No’ really is simply a conditional ‘No’ for a very specific time and place.

But also, the child learns about consequence, delayed gratification, and that there are always ways to get what you want most, in a productive manner.

Well, I recently found another way that saying ‘yes’ can improve my life. It’s a little trick I’ve used on myself over the last few months.

Basically, when I’ve come up with cravings, or even just hunger pangs that I know are more mental hunger than actual hunger, I’ve learned to tell myself “Yes, but not now.”

Coming back from my mid-day workout, for instance, I’ve often wanted to stop for a treat. But I know I have packed a healthy lunch and it’s waiting for me back at the office. So I tell myself, “Sure, we’ll head down after lunch and grab that muffin.” What happens is that upon saying yes, my brain dialog quells and the fake hunger pangs stop because it thinks I’m going to give it what it wants. So tricky!

And inevitably, I eat my lunch and I’m far too full to indulge in a snack afterwards, so I’ve totally circumvented the dangerous craving.

The same technique can be used in other areas as well. Take working out, for example. I’ve often told myself “Oh, I’m not feeling up to it today. I’ll head to the gym, change, and then start. But if I want to give up, then I will.”

There are two things that make this trick work well for me currently: I’ve already been going to the gym long enough that’s it’s become a habit. That means once I start doing my gym-going routine, my body just starts to prepare itself for working out. By the time I’ve even left work to head over to the gym, I’m already starting to feel more and more like actually getting a good sweat on. The second thing that makes this trick work is that inevitably, once I start the workout, I don’t feel like stopping.

There’s nothing more powerful than our brains. And when our brain has made up its mind about something, just like a child, it’s almost impossible to talk it out of it. That’s why just saying ‘yes’ has worked so well for me. My brain thinks it has convinced the rest of my body to go to the store and buy some treat I really don’t need. And because it thinks it’s done its job, brain shuts up and I can get back to doing something that is actually beneficial to me in the long term.

I probably use this trick at least once per day. That’s a lot of treats I’m avoiding and workouts I’m tricking myself into! But it can be used for pretty much anything. I hope that for you this little Jedi mind trick works just as well as it has for me!

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