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Easy-to-do mini habits help us achieve our goals – easier and faster

Mini habits create the path to our goals – no matter how big those goals are.

If we want to achieve long-term goals, we should not focus on the goal itself but on the behaviours that will get us to the goal.

We design an easy path to the goal by choosing suitable behaviours and changing them into habits.

The behaviours that we want to develop into habits should be behaviours that we want to do – because we have positive thoughts and feelings about them:

    • They don’t make us feel cautious, anxious, or threatened – because we don’t expect them to be risky or dangerous.
    • They make us feel motivated and excited – because we trust they will be easy to do, even enjoyable, not at all painful or hard and difficult.
    • They don’t make us feel overwhelmed or exhausted – because we know they will not cost us much energy and effort.

Because of our deliberately positive thoughts and feelings, we are willing and able to do new behaviours repeatedly, until we have achieved the goal.

To check whether the chosen action is tiny and enjoyable enough, we can ask ourselves if we can believe and say with confidence:

‘Of course, I can do that. I could even do that for the rest of my life. It’s so easy!’

So we start by choosing suitable easy-to-do mini behaviours, and while we are doing them repeatedly, we create mini habits. Mini habits that are mini/small in the beginning, yes, but then, little by little, will develop into bigger behaviours and actions, getting us closer and closer to our goals.


If our goal is to run a marathon, we step-by-step build up behaviour habits that support the process of getting closer to that goal.

We, for example, first build up the tiny habit of walking 5 minutes each morning.

As soon as that has become a strong habit, we are ready to expand the habit by, for example, starting to run 10 minutes each morning.

After a while, we build on that and practice the habit of running 25 minutes each day.

Etc. Etc.

This is how we, mini step after mini step, mini success after mini success, finally achieve our goal: We run a marathon.

Easy-to-do mini habits – the foundation of our habit-creation success

The power of mini habits

Mini habits are much smaller versions of a new behaviour habit that we want to develop.

For example:

If we want to create the habit of running 60 minutes each day, a mini habit could be to walk each day for 10 minutes, or even just 5 minutes.

Mini habits have so many benefits:

Mini behaviours and mini habits help us avoid procrastination.

Procrastination is a short-term mood repair; we procrastinate to manage our emotions. That’s why getting started is often so challenging.

If we, for example, feel anxious about something we need to do and decide to put it off until tomorrow, our anxiety disappears, and we feel relief.

The positive feeling of relief is a reward for the procrastination behaviour – and the more a behaviour is rewarded, the more the survival manager likes it, and the more likely we are to repeat it. We kind of train ourselves to procrastinate.

That’s why it is so important to break down goals, projects, or new habits into small, easily doable pieces.

If we can expect and experience success from the beginning, we no longer feel anxious and hesitant to get started.

Now we get rewarded by our successes and no longer need ‘reward from failure’ (the relief after the postponing).

Mini behaviours and mini habits get us well prepared for more difficult behaviours.

If we practice small and easy-to-do behaviours, we create easy, fast, and constant successes that we can directly celebrate and feel positive about.

And success leads to success.

If we feel successful at something, even if it’s something small, our confidence increases, and we feel motivated to do it again, and to perform related behaviours.

And the more we do a behaviour, the easier it gets. Which again increases confidence and motivation.

And higher confidence and motivation levels increase our ability and willingness to do behaviours that are harder or bigger than the original one.

Mini behaviours and mini habits make us independent from our current level of motivation.

Yes, if motivation is high, we are willing to do difficult or hard behaviours.

But motivation is unreliable because it is based on how we feel.

We all experience ‘low mood days’.

Low feelings usually show up unpredictably and are often hard to get rid of. We are tired, have a headache, just feel miserable, stressed, weak.

If feelings are low, motivation is low.

Also, doing big things can feel hard and painful. We might have to push ourselves beyond our physical, emotional, or mental capabilities.

The survival manager of our brain (read more HERE), however, doesn’t want us to do painful or energy-sucking things. That’s why we can’t expect our brain to support us and why our motivation might shrink as soon as things become more demanding.

If we make a behaviour/habit tiny and easy to do, we don’t need much motivation.

We enable ourselves to do the behaviour successfully and repeatedly, no matter how our motivation might fluctuate.

Mini behaviours and habits are free of risk, danger, failure. They feel safe.

The main task of one part of or brain (the survival manager) is taking care of our safety and survival.

That’s why it not only wants us to avoid any potentially painful activities. It also wants us to avoid any potential risk or danger. To keep us save, it wants us to stay where we are and not change ourselves or our circumstances.

We can overcome our brain’s worries and fears and resistance to trying something new by avoiding big changes and instead choosing new behaviours that are so small and easy to do that they feel safe. 

Mini behaviours and habits help us change our beliefs and our self-image to the better.

Our habits at least partly determine how we see ourselves, what we think and feel about the person we are (becoming).

Habits – behaviours we do consistently – become parts of our personality – the good ones as well as the bad ones. (E.g., ‘I watch TV each evening – I’m a lazy coach potato’, ‘I’m used to get up at 5am – I am a productive early morning bird’).

Practicing new habits is like developing new personality traits.

Mini habits create success experiences fast and easily which allows us to faster and easier see ourselves as a person who is successfully changing to the better: someone who is getting good at doing what she/he wants to do, who is becoming an expert in creating new habits, who is able and willing to do desired behaviours consistently.

Doing what we want to do makes us feel good and confident about ourselves and our capabilities. And possibilities.

Which makes working on more complex behaviours and habits easier and more probable.

The process of habit development

Regular repetition of a new behaviour finally makes it habitual.

If we decide to start a new behaviour and intend to continue doing it, we want the new behaviour to get deeply ingrained in our brain and become habitual behaviour, so that we no longer have to invest attention and effort into doing it regularly and reliably.

And yes, if we manage to continue doing the behaviour for a while, our brain ‘gets used’ to it and accepts it as the best course of action in certain circumstances.

It decides that it no longer needs to take conscious care of the behaviour and transfers it into its unconscious areas – the behaviour becomes a habit.


Most of us buckle up as soon as we sit down in our car. We don’t have to think about it, we don’t have to remind ourselves to do it, we do it on default – buckling up before we start driving has become an unconscious behaviour – a habit.

It’s easier to transform a new behaviour into a habit if our brain ‘likes’ the behaviour.

The problem with many new behaviours is that the survival manager of our brain (Click here to read more about the two parts of the brain) doesn’t want to ‘get used’ to doing them in the beginning.

As soon as we start to execute a new behaviour, the survival manager in our brain gets nervous.

As we know, the main interests of the survival manager are

    • to avoid pain,
    • to seek pleasure,
    • to save energy.

It wants us to avoid anything that could cause pain or uncomfortable feelings or requires effort and energy.

In order to help the survival manager give up its resistance and accept a new behaviour easier and faster we want

    • to make the desired behaviour as painless, as pleasurable, and as efficient as possible,
    • and ensure that executing the behaviour feels good to us (and to the survival manager).

Good feelings spur the production of a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger in the brain) called dopamine that controls the brain’s ‘reward system’.

The increase in dopamine motivates the brain to link the good feelings to the behaviour.

In future, in similar situations, it will remember the behaviour that led to the positive feeling – and it will want us to do it again. And again. The behaviour develops into a habit.

Celebrating directly after we have done a specific behaviour, is another great way to increase the likelihood that we will do it again:

Celebrating makes us feel good in the current situation which makes the behaviour an easy choice in similar future situations.

There are other ways how we can overcome the brain’s aversion to negative feelings and exploit its desire to feel good.

One of the best strategies is to start the desired behaviour changes with the help of suitable ‘mini habits’.

We’ll discuss these strategies in detail in the coming post.

The purpose of habits

The general purpose of habits – Habits help us survive

Habits are not boring or tedious or old-fashioned or stuffy – habits are necessary, effective, and efficient strategies that help us survive and flourish.

Our brain would get overwhelmed and finally collapse if it always had to deliberately choose what to do in a specific moment. We wouldn’t be able to use our brain for high-level cognitive processes if it had to take care of all the nitty-gritty situations and events in our daily life.

About 45% of our daily actions and behaviours are unconscious habits: actions and behaviours that we do on default, without thinking about them.

By taking regularly required behaviours and organising them into habits that get automatically activated when needed, the brain (the survival manager) helps us save energy. (Read more about the two parts of the brain here.)

And we gain precious free space and capacity in our conscious mind that we can use for more demanding cognitive work (the responsibility of the growth manager).

The purpose of intentional habits – Habits help us change and grow

Making decisions ahead of time makes life easier – for us and for our brain.

We can support our brain (here: the survival manager) in its energy-saving intentions by deliberately deciding how we want to behave in a specific situation.

We then consistently practice the desired behaviour and make it become a habit.

Whenever the specific situation comes up, we no longer need to think and decide about it (usually the growth manager’s job) because our brain knows what to do – and it automatically initiates the now habitual behaviour.

Deliberately practicing new behaviours helps our brain overcome its focus on the past.

Our brain is past-focused. It uses past experiences to predict the best suitable behaviour in the present moment.

So, if we relied only on the suggestions that our brain is bringing up – based on behaviours that have been successful in the past – we would never try something new and never change.

If we want to create different experiences and results in our life, we need to take the initiative and tell our brain about the new direction we want to take.

We focus on a goal that’s important to us. And we deliberately choose and practice a set of new behaviours that will enable us to achieve the goal.

This helps our brain to redirect its attention from the past (our old/current behaviours) to the future (our desired new behaviours).

By repeating new behaviour and thinking patterns we actively create effectful changes in our brain and sustainable changes in our life.

Choosing new behaviours and thinking patterns and practicing them deliberately and repeatedly means that we take actively advantage of our brain’s plasticity.

If we create new habits, we create changes in our brain which result in changes of capabilities, skills, long-term behaviour.

The more regularly we do what we deliberately decided to do, the less we have to think about it (which helps us save cognitive energy), the easier it becomes, the more we do it, etc.

How can we help our brain let go of its change-aversion – so that we can change ourselves and our life?

The good news is that we are the boss of our brain.

We are responsible – and capable! – of paying close attention to what’s happening in our brain.

We can – and should! – take the leadership.

It’s our job to supervise the survival manager and the growth manager (read more here) and make them cooperate in ways that allow us to survive and to grow.

As we are now aware of the main interests of the survival manager – seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, and saving energy – we can decide to actively support the growth manager and take the lead in the discussions with the survival manager.

The best growth strategy is to pursue new goals and change-intentions in ways that help loosen the survival manager’s automatic resistance:

    • Powerful thoughts and feelings

We deliberately choose and practice empowering thoughts about our plans which help us create powerful feelings. The survival manager’s automatic resistance thoughts lose their power and influence.

    • Easy-to-do actions and behaviours

We plan our actions carefully and make sure that the new behaviours are tiny and easy to do, so that our survival manager can accept them as risk- and pain-free alternatives to current actions/behaviours.

    • Small start and fast results

We then start doing the new small things, so that we can create early success experiences and evidence for the survival manager that we indeed can do this.

    • Habit creation

We practice the small and easy behaviours – we do them repeatedly and consistently – and continue to create daily success stories, no matter how little they are. Soon, our survival manager will start to consider the now no longer new behaviours as potentially ‘survival-suitable’ behaviours.

    • Mind-management

And whenever the survival manager is tempted to bring up any worry-thoughts or feelings of fear and doubt, we carefully redirect our attention to our positive thoughts and to the results that we have already created with our initial actions.

After lots of practice and repetitions of the new behaviours, our survival manager will drop its resistance completely and accept the new ways of doing things as the right ways of doing things.

At that point, the survival manager – who wants us to function efficiently and save energy wherever possible – will make the behaviour unconscious and automatic – which will make it a deeply ingrained habit.

The two parts of our human brain – and why one of them doesn’t want us to change and evolve

In recent articles of this series, we talked about the power of our thoughts and how the quality of our thinking determines the results and experiences we have in our life.

Because it’s our thoughts that determine what we do – which actions we take and which behaviours we execute consistently.

Today we want to learn more about the human brain and how we can manage it successfully.

The human brain consists of two main parts.

One part of the human brain acts as our ‘survival manager’.

It has helped the human species to survive for thousands and thousands of years by

    • directing us to the things that keeps us alive (food, shelter, sex, community, etc.) and
    • keeping us away from the things that are or could be painful, dangerous, risky (trying new things, moving out of our comfort zone, being adventurous, etc.).

Another part of the brain is responsible for the ‘executive’ work, the high-level cognitive tasks.

We could call this part of our brain our ‘growth manager’.

It enables us

    • to reflect and use our imagination,
    • to plan and be creative,
    • to set and pursue goals,
    • to process, manipulate, integrate information from other brain areas, from our body, and from the outside world,
    • to change and update old knowledge,
    • to solve problems and make conscious decisions.

Both parts of our brain are doing a great job – they are just not good at working as a team.

The survival manager and the growth manager both want our best.

But they don’t agree on what’s best for us. Their interests and intentions differ, and they usually try to pull us in different directions.

The survival manager is the change-averse part.

    • Its mission is to keep us alive and safe. That’s why it wants us to stay where and who we are.
    • Its job description lists these three main tasks: avoid pain, seek pleasure, save energy.
    • It doesn’t want us to change at all, it hates and resists any change.

The growth manager has opposite interests.

    • It wants us to question what currently is and to be imaginative about what could be instead.
    • It wants us to be curious, to explore other options and learn and create new things,
    • it wants us to change and move on – so that we can develop our potential and evolve and grow.

What’s happening in our brain whenever change ideas come up?

When our growth manager brings up innovative thoughts that have the potential to create feelings like excitement, motivation, curiosity – causing us to get active and do new things?

As soon as any ideas of potential change pop up in our mind, the survival manager gets nervous and ready to interfere.

It will do its very best to push back any change initiative brought up by the growth manager.

The survival manager doesn’t confront the growth manager directly.

Instead, it pulls its secret weapons:

Well-established and mostly unconscious thoughts that automatically create feelings like fear, insecurity, doubt, confusion – which then cause us to stay away from doing new things. (‘This is dangerous. It’s too hard. I can’t do that. I don’t know what to do.’)

If we don’t pay attention to what’s happening in our mind, the survival manager will always win the battle:

We will survive, yes – but we stay where we are, we don’t change and evolve.

In the next article, we will find out how we can persuade our brain to embrace change – so that we can start to intentionally change our thoughts, feelings, actions and habits, and consequently the results in our life.

Why it’s so important to choose our thoughts very carefully

Our thoughts determine what we do or don’t do.

Our thoughts and beliefs, the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we can or cannot control, what we can or cannot do, determine how we feel, and our feelings drive our actions – the things we do or don’t do.

It really is this easy – whatever our challenge is, our thoughts determine how we approach and manage it:

    • ‘Bad’ (negative, powerless, weak, self-limiting, doubtful, etc.) thoughts create ‘bad’ feelings.


If I think, ‘This is such a mess, I can’t clear it up.’ I feel hopeless.

    • ‘Bad’ feelings make us take ‘bad’ actions.

If I feel hopeless, I take no action at all or I start and then give up quickly.

    • ‘Bad’ actions create ‘bad’ results/experiences in our life.

Procrastinating or giving up leaves the mess as it is. I create evidence for my original thought (‘I can’t clear it up’).

If we want to change our results, we need to act differently.

And our actions, behaviours, habits will only change if we think and feel differently about our challenges:

    • We need to intentionally choose ‘good’ (positive, powerful, determined, confident, trustful, etc.) thoughts to create ‘good’ feelings.


I choose the thought: ‘Of course, I can do this. I just take one step at a time.’

Which makes me feel capable. Or confident.

    • Feeling ‘good’ enables us to take ‘good’ actions.

If I feel capable, I start to get active and take the first step. And then the next.

    • And our ‘good’ actions then create new ‘good’ results.

Little by little, the mess gets cleared up. I prove to myself the truth of my thought (‘I can do this.’)

Of course, in real life, it’s not always that easy.

Changing our thoughts, feelings, and consequently our actions/behaviours is often not easy because we have a human brain.

We struggle – again and again – to get active and change and improve the things that are within our power – because our brain, at least one part of it, doesn’t want us to change what we do or don’t do. It also doesn’t want us to change our thinking.

We need to understand our human brain and how it works if we want to manage it successfully.

We’ll discuss in the coming articles of this series how we can learn to manage our brain – and, as a consequence, our actions and habits – in a powerful way.

Habits create sustainable change – one-time actions often don’t

‘What you do most days matters more than what you do once in a while.’ (Gretchen Rubin)

The results created by one-time actions are often not sustainable.

Yes, of course, one-time actions can create changes in our life. Even big changes. But do they last?


Think about a cluttered garage.

A big one-time action, like working a whole weekend in the garage, can definitely create visible and real change: at the end of the weekend the garage is (ideally) clutterfree and organised.

But how will it look like in 4 months’ time?

The success of many one-time actions is short-lived because we do change our external environment, yes, but we don’t change ourselves (our thoughts and feelings), and we don’t change what we do on a regular basis.

New habits help us create reliable and lasting results.

It’s when we build new habits – when we start to do new things consistently, every day, again and again – that the real change is happening.

Back to the example:

Instead of doing the work in one go, we can decide to do it step by step, to divide the work in small and easily doable portions.

Like starting to invest 15 minutes each Saturday morning to declutter and reorganise a small area in the garage. Depending on the current state of the garage, it might take many weeks or even months to sort it all out.

But at the end of these weeks or months, not only will the garage be free of clutter, we’ll also have built the habit of taking care of it consistently. And this new habit is going to create sustainable change:

If we stick to our new habit (every Saturday 15 minutes organising work) the garage will never get cluttered again.

One-time actions usually don’t have consequences on our habitual behaviours, they don’t change us and they don’t change what we do or don’t do on a regular basis.

If we want to change our life in a sustainable way, we need to change our habits.  

So how do we change ourselves and our behaviours?

We need to change the way we are thinking – because our thoughts determine what we do or don’t do.

The next articles of the ‘Habit Creation Series’ are going to analyse the close relationship between our thought patterns and our behaviour patterns in more depth.

Clutterfree thoughts + powerful habits = clutterfree life

Clutterfree thoughts -> help us create powerful habits -> which help us create a clutterfree life

Where does the clutter in our life come from?

As human beings, we all have the tendency to accumulate clutter.

It shows up as

    • Thoughts in our mind that don’t serve us.
    • Feelings in our heart that disturb our wellbeing.
    • Actions in our daily life that draw us away from where we want to go.
    • Results in our life that keep us stuck.

The most damaging category of clutter is the clutter in our mind.

What we think determines how we feel and act, and what we create in our life.

If I, for example, have ‘clutter’ thoughts about my home and my organising skills, these thoughts can easily trigger a ‘clutter-cascade’, which could look like this one:

    • ‘Clutter’ thoughts

‘My home is a mess. I don’t know how to organise my belongings and create a clean and clear place. Why is this so hard? What’s wrong with me?’

    • create ‘clutter’ feelings

I feel incapable. Overwhelmed. Stressed.

    • which initiate ‘clutter’ actions/habits.

I’m not doing any decluttering and organising work, instead I’m spending every free minute on social media or Netflix – so that I can find relief and distraction from the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. I continue buying things that I don’t really need. I push more stuff into hidden storage areas. I avoid being at home and being confronted with all the stuff.  

    • And what I do/don’t do creates ‘clutter’ results:

I live in a disorganised messy home that’s full of clutter. I can’t enjoy my home.

This simple example helps us see

    • why it is difficult/impossible to act and behave in a way that leads to the results we want
    • if our mind is cluttered with unhelpful or even harmful thoughts.

However, it’s within our power to take back control.

We can clear up the mess in our mind

and form powerful behaviours and habits that help us create the clutterfree and enjoyable life we want.

We can change the situation described above just by deliberately choosing more powerful ‘clutterfree’ thoughts.

Thinking differently will create different feelings, actions, and results:

    • ‘Clutterfree’ thoughts

‘My home is not what I want it to be. That’s okay, I can change it. I am going to get good at decluttering and organising my belongings. I’m going to create habits that help me get and maintain a clean and clear place – a home that I can enjoy.’’

    • create ‘clutterfree’ feelings

I feel determined. Active. Capable.

    • which initiate ‘clutterfree’ actions/habits.

I learn what I need to know about behaviour changes and the creation of new habits. I develop a clear idea of my ideal home and an action plan that will guide me from here to there. I consider the obstacles that might show up on my way and how I’m going to overcome them. I stop judging myself and practice new empowering ways of thinking about myself. I remind myself that I am on a journey and that I’m going to move forward, taking one small doable step after the other. I start this journey now, taking the first step.

    • And what I do/don’t do creates ‘clutterfree’ results:

I get good at taking the steps and building the habits that help me create the home I want.

What about you?

What might be the ‘clutter’ thoughts that currently keep you from building powerful habits – habits that would make it easier for you to create the life you want?

New habits help you change your life – but do you KNOW WHAT you want TO CHANGE?

Life changes and the importance of asking powerful questions

If we want to make changes in our life, in any area of our life, we need to change our daily life. And ourselves!

We need to think and behave differently, repeatedly, and consistently. We need to form new thought patterns and behaviour habits.

But do you know exactly what you want to change?

And why?

And what the outcomes are that you want to achieve? And why?

And what the specific thought and behaviour habits are that you need to implement to realise the desired change?

The best starting point for any intentional change in our life is to ask ourselves some challenging questions – and answer them!

Questions like these:

    • If my life was ‘perfect’, if it was 100% as I want it to be – what would be different compared to what it is right now?
    • What would have to change in the various areas of my life before I could call them ‘ideal’?
    • How would the ‘perfect’ version of myself be different and behave differently compared to the person I currently am?
    • And – very important – why would the desired versions of my life and of myself be better than the current versions?
    • How am I going to think, feel, and act differently in future? What will I think about myself? What will I feel? What will I do differently?

What’s the purpose of asking challenging questions?

The purpose of this type of questions is not, of course, to make us feel disappointed, incapable, or frustrated  – if right now we are at a place that’s far from ‘perfect’.

The purpose is also not to create feelings of shame, regret, missing out – because we haven’t yet managed to get where we want to be.

The only purpose of asking ourselves questions like those above is to help us gain awareness:

Our answers help us understand better

    • what’s going on in our mind and heart,
    • what’s really important to us,
    • what our dreams and aspirations are and
    • why we have them.

The increased awareness is often all we need to feel motivated and get active.

As soon as we can clearly describe the differences between our present life and our ideal life, we can start to develop ideas about what we want to change, and how we wish to show up and behave differently in future.

What do you think about the questions listed above?

Do you feel like spending some time with them, using them to explore the current state of your life? And to design a clear idea of your desired future?

Do it now – and then you can use the increased awareness to change what needs to get changed in your life:

The thought patterns and behaviour habits that currently keep you from living the life you want.

Our home is the ideal place to practice the habit-creation process

The best way to start getting better at forming powerful habits is to prioritise and focus.

Instead of trying to change behaviours and habits in all areas of our life, we take a step-by-step approach.

We decide to start practicing the habit-creation process in one area of our life.

And we commit ourselves to get this area sorted out with the help of successfully established habits – before we move on to change/improve another area.

Our home is the ideal place to focus on first.

Properly prepared and conducted home-improvement projects not only create positive change in our home.

Doing decluttering and organising work repeatedly and consistently also helps us build useful daily-life routines and clear up our mind and form powerful thought habits.

These are the main reasons why our home is the ideal place for behaviour-change practice:

    1. The process of decluttering and organising our belongings delivers fast and visible outcomes:

As soon as we get active, we can directly experience – and enjoy – the results of our actions.


        • After investing 10 minutes in cleaning our kitchen countertop or dinner table, we can enjoy its clear surface – a surface that 10 minutes ago had been cluttered.
        • Regularly decluttering and sorting our socks ensures that we find what we need when we open the underwear drawer in the morning.
        • As soon as we start a daily 5-minute paperwork-decluttering habit,we can observe how the pile of papers on our desk is shrinking day-by-day, until it’s gone. And if we stick to our 5-minute habit, it has no chance to build up again.
        • Introducing the routine of picking up and putting away all shoes and worn clothes in the evening creates immediately an atmosphere of calmness and clarity in our bedroom.
    1. The experience of immediately visible positive results strengthens our trust in ourselves and our actions.

It triggers a sense of ‘I can get active and create results’, ‘I’m able to manage and organise myself and the work I want to do’, ‘I can create positive changes in my life’, ‘I’m able to take action repeatedly and consistently’.

This type of thoughts makes us feel motivated to do it again, and again.

    1. Successfully practiced behaviour habits have positive effects on our thinking habits.

While we take action repeatedly and practice new behaviours regularly, we become really good at forming powerful habits – not only practical behavioural habits but also new powerful mental habits.

We find it easier to think better of ourselves and of our capabilities and get better at letting go of the clutter in our mind – all the self-limiting thoughts and feelings that can make it so difficult to do the things we want to do.

    1. Successful home-improvement habits can be transformed into life-improvement habits.

The powerful behaviour and thought habits that we build while we are decluttering and organising our home not only create positive change at home.

They also help us build powerful habits in other areas of our life:

We can use our new habit-creation skills again and again, and start more and other powerful habits that help us positively change our relationships, our finances, our career, our body and health issues, our calendar, etc.

The secret of a clutterfree home and life: A clutterfree mind.

The solution to our clutter problems looks easy. But is it really easy?

From the outside, the solution to the clutter problems in our homes looks simple and easy:

Getting rid of the ‘too much stuff’, all the belongings that we don’t need, love, use (any longer) will immediately create sufficient space for the things we want to keep.

As soon as the house is clean and clear, it will be fun to organise everything nicely, and then we can lean back and relax and enjoy our home and life.

We all know, however, that in real life it’s not that simple and easy.

Instead of making decisions and taking action, we so often procrastinate and postpone our decluttering projects, and over time we are even adding new things to the clutter instead of sorting it out.

Why your brain loves the clutter in your life and wants to keep it.

It’s not your fault if you don’t do what you promised yourself to do.

You are not a weak or bad person because you procrastinate and postpone tasks and projects.

There is nothing wrong with you if you struggle to clear up the messy areas in your life.

If anyone is to blame, it’s not you. It’s your brain.

As humans, we all have a human brain. Our brain is extraordinary and amazing. Powerful and efficient. It’s really something special:

    • Having a human brain is wonderful at least half of the time – because the newer parts of our brain enable us to plan deliberately and consciously, to structure and organise, and to realise the ideas and goals that are important to us in our life.
    • Having a human brain, however, can be frustrating the other half of the time. That’s because the older parts of our brain are not at all interested in our personal development and in the realisation of our goals.

Our primitive brain is 100% focused on our survival.

And yes, that’s great – we all want to survive. However, we not only want to survive, but we also want to create, and grow, and enjoy our life.

So how can we motivate our primitive brain to partner up with us and help us achieve our goals and do the things we want to do, like getting rid of the clutter in our home?

We need to understand our human brain and what it does to keep us alive.

Our brain’s job is to ensure our survival.

These are the main parts of its ‘job description’:

    • It wants to help us save energy – That’s why it’s trying its best to make us efficient and to avoid hard work. That’s why it prefers to rinse and repeat our thoughts, feelings, and actions instead of doing anything new or challenging.
    • It wants to protect us from feeling any pain or discomfort – That’s why it wants us to seek pleasure and run away from anything that might cause us even temporary pain or discomfort.
    • It wants to keep us safe and away from any potential risks – That’s why it tells us that we can’t do new things, that we should hide ourselves where we are, that we are unable to change anything.

We need to understand and accept that our brain is programmed to protest whenever we make challenging plans and choose new goals, whenever we decide that we want to change ourselves or our lives.

The purpose and the effects of our negative and limiting thoughts.

The main strategy of our brain in doing its job as our ‘survival manager’ is to offer us negative thoughts.

It permanently tells us that we are not capable to do it, that we don’t need to do it, that we don’t know how to do it, that it’s too hard, that we will fail and feel terrible.

That our brain is coming up with these kinds of thoughts is actually not the problem. It’s just what human brains are supposed to do.

The problem is that most of these thoughts that our brain produces on default are unconscious thoughts – and that we don’t realise that they are just thoughts, not facts.

All these thoughts that are supposed to keep us from getting started, from doing what we want to do, are just sentences in our mind – they are not the truth.

The good news is that we can solve this problem.

We have a brain, but we are not our brain. We can decide to deliberately manage our mind and take control of our thoughts, those sentences in our mind.

The solution is just one thought away.

All we need is awareness and decisiveness.

We need to become aware of what we are currently thinking because what we are thinking determines what we are feeling and doing. Or not doing.

And then we can decide to declutter any limiting or useless thoughts and replace them with new powerful thoughts – thoughts that allow us to get started and help us get things done.

As soon as we get used to thinking differently, we are going to feel and act differently. We are going to start and finish what we want to do, we get things done.

How we can help our brain believe that we can take action and create results

We now know why our brain doesn’t want us to create change in our life and why it’s so determined to make it as difficult as possible for us to do new or challenging things.

We appreciate its intention (to keep us safe and comfortable) but we no longer want to follow its suggestions (because they keep us stuck).

We are willing to make some bold decisions and let go of thought errors and replace them with powerful new thoughts.

However, we can’t expect our thought work to be 100% successful from day one.

We need to expect our brain to come up with resistance.

It will fight our new ideas and it will try to prove to us that the old way of thinking about us and our abilities is the best way and that we should give up and declare defeat.

Our brain is easier to persuade if it can see some evidence that we are on the right track.

The best way to get our brain on board is to offer it some early success stories. 

And we are absolutely able to create these success stories, even when our new thoughts are not yet 100% grounded in and accepted by our brain.

We do so by committing ourselves to do some practical physical work, just a little bit, a few tiny steps – to get started and to deliver first visible and believable results.

This will help our brain to change its mind and become a supporter of our decluttering projects.