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Big Man, Tiny Habits: Turning a Negative Into Your Motivation

Welcome to a new Man Enough segment that focuses on small shifts to your daily tiny habits that, in time, can result in massively positive changes. Whether you struggle to regularly work out or feel your vocabulary is lacking, or if there seems to be a tire around your waist from stress eating, or even if you’re just not overly excited about yourself at the moment, all it takes is the tiniest tweak of your daily routine to redirect yourself towards a more positive trajectory.

We begin with negativity, the all-consuming hate monster that follows us around like a shadow throughout the day (maybe even while we sleep). But while negativity can feel like a dark, weighty page in your story, it can actually be a good thing to have around if it’s processed in a positive way. Kind of like pasta.

Picture this: Negativity is your shadow. You know it’s there, which is good because you can easily spot it, but instead of looking at it as though it’s evil, maybe consider its potential.

If you’re busy guilting yourself for gaming or watching porn too much during quarantine — you know, the kind of where you max out your fingers and stumble out of it deathly dehydrated like you’ve been on a carnival ride all day — or if you’ve exhausting yourself with emotional eating (your muffin top has a muffin top) followed by the weighty dessert of body-shaming, you need to ask yourself: Does any of this really make me happy?

Perhaps, negativity is just what you need to refuel your fire.

After eight hours of gaming, do you feel good about yourself? You hate yourself a little, don’t you? It can create inner anger towards yourself. But that’s not all bad if that negativity is used as the spark to make a positive change, and it starts with tiny habits.

Our recent Man Enough guest, Jay Shetty, is a purpose coach and meditation master, but even he admits to gaming like a guilty guru during his stay at home. We’re all guilty of doing things we know we shouldn’t; that’s half the fun. But that doesn’t mean we should hate ourselves for it. Sometimes we do things purely because they’ve become part of our routine or a detail in the story we tell ourselves, but that can always be erased and replaced or just lightly edited.

Anger and other intense emotions bring with them an energy, even if it feels dirty, but you can channel that dirty energy and transform it by redirecting that anger towards making a positive change. Maybe instead of gaming eight hours, you game for one and then switch to something healthy. Again, tiny habits. Baby steps.

Make a game out of it. For every minute you game, do a pushup. So much of gaming is stereotyped as lazy, out-of-shape sloths, but some of the greatest minds game. If by the end of the game, you’re feeling a bit ripped, you will have used something that once created negative energy in you to make a positive impact. It’s all about discipline. Rewrite the stereotype. Look at Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance, he played head games with himself to take himself to another level. You can, too.

While everything is quiet in quarantine, we challenge you to reevaluate how you spend your time, a Marie Kondo of the soul if you will. Ask yourself if the activity — gaming, porn, midnight ice cream pints — is bringing you any actual joy or if you do it because there’s nothing else to do or it’s what you’ve always done.

Even healthy things are up for this debate.

If your hobbies, workout routines or even the people you were spending time with three months ago don’t make you feel good anymore, it’s time for a tweak. This is not to say you shouldn’t work out but do it in a way that’s exciting to you, something that stirs your enthusiasm. And don’t be afraid to pull from your past and do something that makes you look ridiculous if it tickles your brain or your heart inside.

Freshen things up, follow your curiosity and get excited about your life again. Rewrite the stereotype. There’s no better time than this very moment. And switch to dark chocolate; it’s healthy, dirty goodness in small doses. 

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