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10 Day Mental Challenge

The 10 Day Mental Challenge is a thought exercise introduced by Tony Robbins in his book Awaken the Giant Within. It tells readers:

You will not indulge in or dwell in any unresourceful thoughts or emotions for ten consecutive days.

Here is the version that we teach and use at Asian Efficiency.

Setting Up Your Challenge

The premise of the challenge is simple – be and stay positive for ten consecutive days, and notice the difference that it makes in your life.

Define Your Rules

The first thing you want to do is define your rules. Here the ones that we recommend clients start with:

  • No indulgence in unresourceful thoughts and emotions. This is the Robbins classic.
  • No indulgence in procrastination.
  • Be fully engaged in everything you do. If you’re being productive, be fully productive. If you’re taking a break, fully take a break. There are to be no stuck states where you get caught halfway and beat yourself up for not doing the other thing.
  • Your most important task comes first every morning.
  • At all decisions points, ask “what is the right thing to do?” and then go do that immediately.
  • You get 2 minutes breaking any of the above and then you have to start the 10 days over.

Gather Your Resources

You’ll also want to create a resource list to help yourself out. For example:
1. Ways to get in a good mood.

10 Day Mental Challenge Tea
I <3 tea.
  • Coffee.
  • Smiling.

2. Ways to beat procrastination fast.

3. Ways to get unstuck.

  • Going for a walk.
  • Taking a break.
  • Changing environments.

4. And so on.

Harness Technology

Use the technologies and systems at your disposal to make this easier. We recommend:

  • Pulling up your calendar and creating a 10-day all-day event that says “10 day mental challenge”. If you have a large wall calendar, make it more dramatic and put a big band of colour across those 10 days.
  • Write down your rules in an Evernote note and carry them around with you.
  • Make reviewing your rules part of your morning and evening rituals.
  • At the end of every day, review how you went in your daily journal entry.

Executing The Challenge

Executing the Challenge

Now that you’ve done all the groundwork, this should be easy – just start living the Challenge. No unresourceful thoughts and emotions. No procrastination. Get fully engaged. And do the right thing.

Where to Go Next

We’ve just given you the starting suggestions for the 10 day mental challenge that we teach at Asian Efficiency. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add other productive habits to the challenge list – like adopting a better email management system, or clear to neutral.

In fact, when you’re done with one 10 day challenge, take on another and use it to adopt new habits over time.

Do the challenge for 10 days and experience the quality of difference that it makes in your life… then keep on doing those things forever.

If you’re looking for more productive habits to adopt, both the Asian Efficiency Primer and our Premium Newsletters are packed full of cutting-edge habits, rituals and actionable ideas to help you become a better you.

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Thanh Pham

Founder of Asian Efficiency where we help people become more productive at work and in life. I've been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and The Globe & Mail as a productivity thought leader. At AE I'm responsible for leading teams and executing our vision to assist people all over the world live their best life possible.

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  1. Hi I would like to ask how we can “fully take a break” or taking breaks in general. Although it seems like something basic, people in this day and age stop thinking about relaxing and are constantly busy or at least “act” busy.

    1. Whatever means necessary! If you're sitting on the pot, tell yourself this is my break! If you have 2 minutes in your car tell yourself "this is my break and I am fully aware!"

      Do what ever you can to sneak those breaks in and then BAM you realize you need to start to TAKE your break. Peace will begin to grow in your heart.

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