Top Five Mind Hacks for the New Year

One of my favorite websites, Lifehacker, features a series of “Mind Hacks” that range from cracking me up to making me sit and seriously try them out. In honor of the holidays, the new year and thousands of broken resolutions, here is my Top Ten list of mind hacks to help you out:

  1. Distract yourself at the moment of temptation. Turns out that a bunch of cruel, cruel researchers offered kids sugary treats now, or something more awesome to eat later if they waited a little while. Turns out that there actually were children willing to wait, and they all happened to share a common trait: to keep from eating a delicious, sugary marshmallow, they all distracted themselves by twirling hair, counting, or singing  a song. Next time I am craving chocolate I’ll try singing. I’m sure that will work. [source]
  2. Create a reminder network. You’ll be unsurprised that I am a fan of this, considering what a productivity nut I am. This is simple: instead of a single reminder on your bathroom mirror, set up a veritable army of reminders. Don’t just set up a calendar appointment–also set an alarm. And use a service to send you an email. And an IM. And maybe a text message. It’s tough to ignore something important on your To Do (or NOT to do!) list when faced with so many blatant reminders. [source]
  3. Suppress your urge to go to the bathroom. I am so ready to try this one. If you’re stuck fourth in line at a holiday party or the bathroom is packed when holiday shopping, or you JUST got to the start of the returns line when the urge is getting, well, urgent… try this hack: Scratch the back of your calf vigorously–it’ll distract your mind enough to put off the urge momentarily. [source]
  4. Graph your life (or just specific goals). Sometimes, you just need to see it written down for it to really make an impact. Try graphing your coffee habit to give yourself that boost to quit your daily Starbucks stop, or graph your weight loss (or gain) to help curb calories. Heck, you could even graph the cleanliness of your home, or how often you lose your temper–anything. Just knowing you’ll have to be accountable for it later can be enough to put off that bad habit. [source]
  5. Give into your cravings–sometimes. You can’t be perfect. So if you’re dieting, plan a day a week to be gluttonous. If you’re trying to be cleanly, pick a day to be slovenly. If you’re trying to exercise more, choose your sloth day. Knowing you have that one day or hour or minute of reward can really help push you through the rest! [source]
About MommyGeek

Caitlin, a.k.a MommyGeek, is a member of the iGeneration. This means she’s super into technology, and when the robots take over the world, will either be one of the first killed (she knows too much) or recruited to help enslave you (she knows too much – and sympathizes with the robots). She runs Rent a Geek Mom web design, and writes documentation, tutorials and works as Support at Headway Themes.


  1. HeatherS says:

    I can hack my mind only as far as my mood, hormones and willpower of the moment will allow me. I wish I could do better. I am really good at distracting myself from using the bathroom. Even though I drink a lot of water, I am not one of those “stop and pee every 5 minutes” girls so that one really has nothing to with willpower. My kids are pretty cool, though. Even my chocolate addict. If she wants a chocolate treat at at 4:45pm and I say, “We are going to have dinner soon, can you wait until dessert?” She will. If I promise my kids that treat for right after dinner or chips on their plate WITH their dinner, they always remember. But that’s just good deal-making.

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