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Resolutions, big wins, and goals often end in failure. Why?
Because you didn’t plan it well enough? Perhaps. But I’d wager one reason is you were too ambitious.
Sometimes, the biggest impact comes from a tiny change.
Whether it’s waking up early, eating more veggies, or gaining more confidence, a better you doesn’t always require a huge lifestyle change.
These 3 self experiments are small changes you can make in your daily life that can make a HUGE difference.
1. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone By Getting Rejected, Repeatedly.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
For some people, the fear of rejection is so great that it cripples their lives. From boys afraid to ask a girl out, and employees terrified to ask for a raise, this fear is everywhere.
This experiment, based on Jia Jiang’s attempts, will desensitize you from rejection, and minimize your tendency to fixate on outcomes outside your control.
- Commit to at least 30 days, more if you can handle it. Jiang did it for 100 days.
- Get rejected by another person every single day. Your request must put you outside your comfort zone, and in the mercy of the person you’re asking. This is important, because if the request doesn’t make you feel vulnerable, it won’t help you in the end.
- You must be rejected by someone oblivious to the experiment.
- If your attempt earns you a ‘yes,’ it means you weren’t bold enough. Try again.
- Prepare a good reason for your crazy request.
- If your request is rejected, politely ask “Why?” then negotiate a simpler version of your initial request. For instance, if a burger refill isn’t possible, ask for a fries refill.
- Keep track of your rejection attempts in a calendar or notebook.
- Nurse your wounded ego and try again tomorrow.
Wow — people with your audacity! Ask for stuff you’ve always wanted to do but know to be impossible. Check out Jiang’s rejection attempts for inspiration.
2. Write Your Heart Out And Fight Stress Through Journaling
Many successful and influential people wrote on their journals regularly. And it’s not just authors and creatives, as the stereotype might suggest. General George S. Patton, the inventor Thomas Jefferson, and former President Harry Truman are just a few non-creative examples.
Journaling can give you a way to vent your frustrations, organize your thoughts, and record random musings among others.
Try this experiment to discover how journaling can change your life:
- Create a template. I know a lot of people buy diaries and organizers at the start of the year, but never write on them. I suspect it’s the agony of starting from scratch, or not knowing what to write. To avoid that, use a template with prepared questions, or keep a list of writing prompts ready, like these from Daring to Live Fully and Creative Writing Now.
- Don’t worry about grammar or style. Leo Babuta of Zen Habits writes three to six bullet points in his journal, and it doesn’t matter to him if they’re grammatically incorrect and incomplete sentences. By writing exactly what you think, you remove the constraints of grammar and style, making it easier to journal regularly.
- Set a schedule and time limit, and stick to it! It could be 15 minutes or 30 minutes, whichever is easier. You can write in the morning or before going to bed, as long as you write every day.
According to a study from the Journal of Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, writing about stressful and traumatic events in your life for 15-20 minutes at least 3 times can improve your physical and psychological health.
3. Torch Fat In 4 Minutes With The Tabata Technique
The answer to losing weight, apparently, isn’t in the duration of your exercise but in its intensity.
In this study, researchers compared the V02 max (your body’s rate of utilizing oxygen) and anaerobic capacity of two groups over a six week period. One group rode a bike one hour a day for five days, the other group also exercised for five days but only for four minutes. After six weeks, the 1-hour group didn’t show much improvement, but the 4-minute group increased their anaerobic capacity by 28%.
This exercise, also known as “Tabata” is loved by Olympians and celebrities like Kyra Sedgewick because of its quick fat-burning ability.
Here’s how to do a Tabata:
- Pick one cardio exercise, like running, biking or jumping rope. Get a timer.
- Run, Jump or bike as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Pushing your body at maximum intensity is the key to this routine’s fat burning magic.
- Rest for 10 seconds and repeat this seven times.
Check out this video to see what a Tabata workout looks like:
These self experiments may work for you, or they may flop and you’ll curse me for convincing you to try them. Whatever the case, remember the most important word in the title of this post — EXPERIMENTS.
Think of yourself as a scientist methodically testing different hypothesis until you find one the self experiment that works for you. Don’t give up so easy.
Which self experiment are you going to try? Let me know in the comments.