This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Erik Bertrand Larssen. All opinions are 100% mine.
A big premise of Hell Week is how to change habits that aren’t serving you and start building habits that will make it easier to be more productive and live the kind of life you want to be living.
This lines up so well with the second part of the three-step process we promote here – simplifying.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Erik Bertrand Larssen”]Practice makes perfect – not intense levels of focus and concentration. The whole point of training is that it automatizes tasks to the point where you don’t have to think about them.[/pullquote]
Rest and Restitution – Day 5 Takeaways
It’s so critical to recognize the drastic difference between rest and “downtime”.
Many of us pursue downtime, but neglect true rest.
When considering how to change habits like this, it’s helpful to understand why they’re not working for us.
Downtime is our way of avoiding things we don’t want to be doing or thinking, and it often involves some form of mindless entertainment. It never really refreshes us because it doesn’t address our real issues.
Others of us see downtime as wasteful, and only bother with it when forced to.
Both types of people fail to recognize that true rest should be about recharging, which is important no matter how busy you think you should be.
Erik does a good job explaining how you can productively build rest into your day, even in the way you approach tasks.
When we choose purposeful rest, it won’t cause us to feel guilty, lazy, or listless, but actually energize and increase our productivity.
Controlling Your Inner Dialogue – Day 6 Takeaways
The conversation we have in our own minds all day long can be exhausting, because more often than not it’s discouraging and negative.
Even after you realize that you can actually choose how that dialogue is shaped, it’s still easy to want to give up because there’s so much negativity that bombards us from all sides.
Choosing to “think positively” might sound a little cheesy, but the way we think has been scientifically proven to actually physically change our brains, which affects our whole bodies. In Christianity this is called “renewing your mind”, and the Bible has lots to say about the power of our words.
There’s really nothing more logical or noble about being pessimistic, but somehow society often seems to view optimism as irresponsible or naive. It’s definitely something I’ve had to work on!
Completely changing your thinking is definitely not going to happen in a day because it’s so ingrained, but getting started and realizing how big of an impact it can have totally can.
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Putting Life into Perspective – Day 7 Takeaways
I’ll never forget when I happened upon a little online quiz (similar to this) in my late teens that estimated your life expectancy and then presented you with a countdown timer. It was such a rude awakening as I watched the seconds tick away – gone forever, and ever closer to my eventual death, that I burst into tears.
As Erik recommends, it’s wise to take time to reflect on life more than just once a year on New Years, and especially to understand your value system.
Ever since we defined our value system several years ago, our life has become much more focused and made leaps and bounds over the years prior, so we can highly agree from personal experience.
Here’s a bit more of our personal experience with Hell Week.
[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’0′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’0′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHUULyfqA7k[/responsive_video]
After Hell Week…
One simple principle is at the heart of mental training – learn to recognize every action as deliberate, a matter of choice and free will.
This week is particularly eye-opening in realizing how much more choice you have than you tend to think.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Erick Bertrand Larssen”]Habits regulate behavior, determine priorities, dictate choices, and they do all this without your full awareness. Habits eventually become second nature, but they are born not by accident, but out of your own free will.[/pullquote]
It’s annoying when you notice that the excess of time you spend on social media or TV isn’t really serving you. At the same time, it’s freeing to discover more time to do those things you always tell yourself you want to do “someday”.
Going to bed early on Friday night and waking up early on Saturday morning definitely felt harder because it’s when we usually let ourselves stay up as late as we want and then sleep in until we feel like getting up.
That’s something we probably won’t change, but here are a few things we do plan to keep up after this helpful “jump-start”.
Better habits we will maintain:
- not looking like slobs, even if we’re just at home
- waking up earlier to accomplish a few things and already feel successful about our day before the kids get up – we’ve had fits and starts of this over the years, but it never really stuck until now, I’m guessing because the kids were younger
- establish a regular exercise routine (I really dislike exercise, so I enjoy combining this time with something I can’t normally take time to do, like watching a favorite show or listening to a good teaching)
- planning farther in advance and more regularly
- continue to work on being very present
- being aware of our “modes”
We proved to ourselves that all those things we “knew” but didn’t feel like putting into practice were worth pursuing.
We realized stuff about ourselves that we hadn’t taken time to recognize, particularly about needing to do a better job at getting into different modes for different tasks and times of day.
Was it worth it? Absolutely!
It really helped that we’ve been making some of these choices for a while already – it felt much less like Hell Week than it could have!
At the same time, we’d like to do this again with more time to plan beforehand, maybe at least once a year.
If you decide to take on the challenge of your own Hell Week, (which we definitely recommend 😉 ) keep this in mind.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Erik Bertrand Larssen”]It’s easy to give only 80 or 90% so that if you don’t succeed you can tell yourself you didn’t really try… but… as long as you give it your all, you will reach a new milestone in your journey, regardless of “winning” or “losing”.[/pullquote]
Hell Week is waiting for you to make the most of the rest of your life! Get it here! Amazon.
Check out #HellWeekChallenge to see how others are doing and follow Erik on Instagram for added motivation 🙂