How To Rewire your Brain for Success: The Motivational Seesaw


Image from Dierk Schaefer

Image from Dierk Schaefer

Why do We Fail?

Have you ever started a new diet and fitness regiment and failed? How about attempting to get organized and taking action in your life? Maybe you wanted to start reading books again but fell into old bad habits.

This used to happen to me all the time.

Do you make a promises to yourself and then fail to come through? Do you get too busy, too tired, too stressed, too overworked to sustain your new good habits?

I used to promise myself that I would start writing this blog. I would tell myself that:

“I will do it when I have more time” 

“I too tired to write”

“I’ll just spend 5 minutes looking at sports online, then I’ll start”

This continued until I sat myself down for 30 minutes and tried to figure out what I really wanted to do, what my passions were and how I could take action and start living a life in a manner that really served me.

I literally took out a notebook and a pen and started writing until I arrived at an answer.

That was powerful.

I knew I was making progress, so I continued. I started writing down what would happen to me if I did not take action. I wrote down how uninteresting my life, how plain, mundane and boring life would be.

That was even more powerful.


The Motivational Seesaw

As Humans, we are very strange creatures. We have these amazing brains, which allow us to do incredible things. Yet, at our core we are animals. Like any animal we will only exert as much energy as necessary and we like to conserve it at all costs.

How much time do we spend thinking about the things that we should do, instead of taking action and actually doing them?


My Tipping Point

It was an early fall day in 2009. The leaves were falling and the trees were a brilliant orange color. I love fall in Minnesota.

I was driving home from my crappy job in securities sales and didn’t understand it at the time, but I really hated my job and the direction of my life.

When you are unhappy, you make excuses and rationalize your actions. This is your minds way of defending you defending you.

At my job, I was constantly dealing with other fat, sick and nearly dead people. When you are surrounded by chronic stress and negativity, it begins to drain you. This led to more rationalization about working a job that I hated and was destroying my soul. The worst part was that I did not even fully understand or comprehend how miserable I was (sound familiar?).

I pulled my car into the driveway at my parents’ house. Walking inside, I said hello to my parents and took the walk of shame up to my room.

I was a college grad living at home with a dead end job. My brain did not work and I was always tired and depressed. I was not living my dream.

When I got up to my room, I changed clothes and I looked at myself in the mirror. My love handles and gut had protruded over the sides of my pants. My face was puffy, my eyes sunk and I had weird red spots on my arms. Apparently the long days on the road, eating crappy food and stress had gotten to me. I was completely repulsed.

How did I let myself get to this point? I had gone from a vibrant young man full of dreams to an unconscious worker bee with no real purpose, passion or reason for existence.

I was so disgusted with myself, that I took pictures of my body. I wanted to remember that moment.

This was rock bottom for me; I had reached my tipping point.

In that moment, I decided to get my life back. There was no turning back for me. The pain of staying the same was greater than the pain and fear of change.

The motivational seesaw had tipped for me.



For those of you who want to affect change, here is what I suggest…

You need to get to your personal tipping point. This is the point where you can’t stand to stay the same and need to take action RIGHT NOW. This can work with any goal, habit or action that you want to take.

Everyone is going to have a different tipping point. Some people are ok with having an extra 20 lbs of fat, some are just fine with constant joint pain, fatigue or illness. Maybe you are like me and your brain does not work well and you are just sick of it. Whatever it is, understand what that moment will look like for you.

Get to the point where you say to yourself “Never again”.


Exercise for Home (Get out a pen and a piece of paper. Do it right now)

Suggested Time: 10 minutes.


Exercise 1: What is your personal tipping point? If you have not reached that point, imagine what it would be like. Be very vivid here. Explain exactly what it would look, feel and smell like (hopefully it does not smell). Write it down.


Read story above


Exercise 2: Write down 3 things or 3 beliefs that are currently enabling you to live in a manner that does not serve you.


1. I don’t go to the gym when I am tired. When I get done with work, there is no way I could go to the gym and exercise. I will go tomorrow when I have energy.

2. I don’t have time or energy to make healthy food. I will start eating better next week. Did you hear about the lemonade and cayenne pepper diet? Beyoncé did it and she’s hot.

3. I’m too busy to get quality sleep. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.


Exercise 3: Write down 3 statements that directly oppose the beliefs stated above (even if they are not true):


1. I have a ton of extra energy to go to the gym. See these love handles, that is stored energy baby!

2. All I want to eat is healthy homemade food. It tastes better, makes me feel better and look better.

3. I love going to bed at a good time and getting quality sleep. It makes the next day that much better. I’m more productive, smarter, have more energy and present for the entire day.


Call to Action

Do the exercises listed above and notice how you feel over the course of 1 week. If necessary do them every single day when you wake up (I do).

Do you see a shift in your mindset or mood? Are you more productive? Are you calling yourself out on your BS and excuses? This would be a good time to write those thoughts, feelings and actions down. Take a second to pause and reflect how you have changed.


99% of the people, who read any part of this post, will not do the exercises listed above.

The 1% who do, will affect change and take action in their lives. It is that simple.

Get the ball rolling and move your life in the right direction.

If you actually do some of the exercises I describe you will start to notice profound changes in your life. They are designed to change the focus and direction of your Reticular Activating System (RAS).

I want to hear from you! Post your experience below in the comments section and let me know how it goes.




Tony Robbins-Unleash The power Within (

The 5 minute journal (

About Ben Austin

My friends call me the illegitimate love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Nye. I’m a bodybuilding-yogi-science loving-foodie bringing an engineering approach to lifestyle design. Join me as I analyze the systems that go into optimal mental and physical performance and explore the stories and tactics of people who set the standard for the rest of us.
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