The 10 Day Mental Diet Challenge

Lately I’ve been reading Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins, and I’ve got to say, this is a really good book.

I’ve heard all of the negatives about Tony Robbins, specifically the charges of using foul language, etc. And frankly, I haven’t got much to say about that. I also own Personal Power Classic Edition, and I don’t recall hearing any foul language on it. I watched a TED talk he gave in which he used the word “bullshit,” but that’s about it. But I’m getting a bit off-topic here.

Regardless of what you personally think about him, Tony Robbins has had quite a successful career. And I’m kicking myself for not discovering him sooner. In this book, chapter 13 is titled The Ten-Day Mental Challenge, and its key message is consistency.

The challenge sounds simple. For the next ten days, beginning immediately, commit to taking full control of all your mental and emotional faculties by deciding right now that you will not indulge in or dwell on any unresourceful thoughts or emotions for ten consecutive days.

I say it sounds simple, but in reality, it’s not. Many people have tried and failed.

The Rules

Rule 1. In the next ten consecutive days, refuse to dwell on any unresourceful thoughts or feelings. Refuse to indulge in any disempowering questions or devitalizing vocabulary or metaphors.

Rule 2. When you catch yourself beginning to focus on the negative — and you certainly will — you are to immediately redirect your focus toward a better emotional state. Specifically, use the Problem-Solving Questions as your first line of attack; for example: “What’s great about this? What’s not perfect yet?” Remember, by asking a question like “What’s not perfect yet?,” you’re presupposing that things will be perfect. This will change your state. It doesn’t ignore the problem, but it keeps you in the right state while you identify what needs to be changed.

Rule 3. For the next ten consecutive days, make certain that your whole focus in life is on solutions and not problems. The minute you see a possible challenge, immediately focus on what the solution could be.

Rule 4. If you backslide — that is, if you catch yourself indulging in or dwelling on an unresourceful thought or feeling — don’t beat yourself up. There’s no problem with this as long as you change immediately. However, if you continue to dwell on unresourceful thoughts or feelings for more than one minute, you must wait until the following morning and start the ten days over. The goal of this program is ten consecutive days without holding or dwelling on a negative thought or state. This starting-over process must happen no matter how many days in a row you’ve already accomplished the task.

This Ten-Day Challenge is not easy. If you habitually feel sorry for yourself, it’s not easy to stop. If you’re focusing on financial pressure, operating out of fear won’t make it any better. If you blame your spouse for everything that goes wrong in your life, the easy thing is to keep doing it. If you mask your insecurities by being angry all the time, if you wallow in guilt, if you blame your looks or your financial situation or your upbringing for all your problems, it’s not easy to change. But you already have so many tools to improve your life. This is my challenge to you to start using them.

Believe me, the power inherent in this little exercise is amazing. If you stick with it, it will do four things for you. First, it will make you acutely aware of all the habitual mental patterns that hold you back. Second, it will make your brain search for empowering alternatives to them. Third, it will give you an incredible jolt of confidence as you see that you can turn your life around. Fourth, and most importantly, it will create new habits, new standards, and new expectations that will help you expand more than you could ever believe.

Success is processional. It’s the result of a series of small disciplines that lead us into habitual patterns of success that no longer require consistent will or effort. Like a freight train picking up speed, this exercise in doing things right consciously, in erasing the patterns that hold you back and installing new ones that can propel you forward, will give you a sense of momentum like very few things you’ve done in your life.

The great news about this is that, unlike a diet where you starve yourself and eventually have to go back to eating, your old pattern of finding the negative is not one you ever have to return to again. This may not be a Ten-Day exercise in the end. It’s really an opportunity for you to become “addicted” to a positive focus for the rest of your life. But if, after banishing your toxic mental patterns for ten days, you want to return, be my guest. The truth is that once you experience life in this mentally vital and alive way, going back would disgust you. But if you ever find yourself getting off track, you have the tools to immediately put yourself back on the high road again.

A Word of Caution

Don’t begin this 10 day commitment unless and until you are certain that you are going to live by it for the full length of time. If you aren’t committed to this, then you won’t last the 10 days. This is not for the weak of heart. This is only for those who are fully committed to conditioning their nervous systems for new, empowering emotional patterns that can take their lives to the next level.

The Results

I’ll be writing each day about my progress on this challenge. That, in itself, should be a challenge.

You can read the progress by following the tag 10 Day Mental Diet (or see the listing of the associated posts at the bottom of this post)

Comment below if you’re planning on participating, or have tried this challenge before.


8 thoughts on “The 10 Day Mental Diet Challenge”

  1. So, third year in a row 🙂

    These days I’m feeling a bit low as my condition has slightly worsened (summers!).

    As a result I’m bargaining with myself to seek help, which is really not effective in my case. It actually does more harm than good.


    • Nakul, it’s inspiring to hear that you’re doing this every year. It really reminds me that I need to attempt it again.

      And yes, stay strong and think positively! Remember how powerful your mindset can be.


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