If the Force could influence the weak-minded, what couldn’t we do to improve our own lives? We’re our greatest mental enemies, which explains why it’s all too easy to let our thoughts misguide us to a negativity abyss whenever shit hits the life fan.

But we want to believe it should also be just as easy to reverse the self-doubt and self-loathing into self-confidence and self-loving (without whipping it out), and in turn, become better at what we do: getting in the best shape of our lives. Smartening up on money. Studying more effectively. Working productively. Learning to say no. Becoming a better lover. Becoming a better son, father.

Finding it in yourself to do the goddamn dishes.

You get the idea. With chest puffed, men want it all. Men view everything as a competition, and men want others to see they’re the know-it-all, do-it-all. In the spirit of this month’s theme – fresh starts – we still see the same old tired resolutions being made, though. Guys seem to know it, but the ‘doing’ part is lacking a serious follow through.

Perhaps, then, a Jedi mind trick (or in the case of this article, three) might bust you out of your rut.

Disclaimer: The following mind hacks have been tried and tested (some even scientifically proven) to work better than Harry Potter’s wizardry and get you primed for new challenges – at best. At worst, they’re placebos to survive to the next day. You’d still have to work conscientiously at your objectives.

1. Foster a new identity

Mind over what matter: For the almost-alpha and beta males who want to hit a new high in fitness and sports. May also be readily applied for career and business advancements.

We’re not suggesting something extreme to the tune of Jason Bourne, but more of establishing a surrogate identity. The reason why you haven’t been able to shed your love handles despite trying for five years, or simply to achieve the kind of functional fitness for you to continue playing recreational soccer every Saturday, is because past failures (or your inner critique) have convinced you that ‘this is just who you are’ – a half-asser.

Like it or not, the resistance to hit the gym will always find ways to keep you from going full throttle. When that happens, try summoning to mind someone you look up to. It doesn’t have to be a pro athlete or a YouTube fitness sensation. It could be someone you already know. Then transpose his day in the life and psyche over yours. What would he have done? Live it out, but calibrated to your best possible capacity.

While you won’t ever clang-and-bang weights like Dwayne Johnson before gobbling up a monstrous sushi train, what matters is that you actually go out and do something until it sticks as a habit.

2. Audit your day (or life in recent memory)

Mind over what matter: For the gents who often feel hindered by a sense of underachievement, paranoia and anxiety.

Your day sucked. And boy, it sucked hard. Or did it? Before you turn people around you into collateral damage for your ‘bad day’, retreat to a quiet space and deconstruct your day. Be honest, be objective. Did it suck because you stuttered at a wedding toast and heard a few sniggers? Or did it suck because you dropped the ball so hard at that make-or-break interview, it bounced back to smack you in the face?

Trivial or not, both cases illustrate a propensity for our minds to magnify the negatives; this is something psychologists have dubbed the negative bias, in which our evolutionary instinct to survive gets us disproportionately paranoid.

Game yourself at every end of the day: for every count of ‘bad day’ triggers, recollect as many or more ‘small wins’ (don’t neglect the big ones) to offset the bad shit. This is an important exercise because you’ve got to remember that it may not be your day (or you) that sucks.

Your mind does.  

3. Force time out your mind – do nothing!

Mind over what matter: For the stressed out Bros who’s always defecting to the next great distraction at work – basically everyone. May also be readily applied to become a better sex-giver.

Reality check: by checking in to social media and the WWW every 5 minutes, you’re not making yourself any richer (unless your profession is a social media specialist). You’re making the makers behind them richer.

Solution: use your brains and… do nothing. Think about nothing. Push the constant buzzing of your phone out. But it’s an important email! My client needs the draft ASAP. My Insta-crush just posted a new story. If your mental capacity is a fish tank, every distraction is a chunk of attention, energy and patience diminished. Before you realise what’s going on, the tank’s dried up for tasks that matter – if you don’t already know what productivity is.

Granted, it’s difficult to completely isolate yourself from the chaos. Take small, measured steps to tune out and ALT+CTRL+DEL your mind. If you find your mind wandering and recluttering in what is supposed to be a semi-meditative state, get yourself thinking about how you’re breathing instead: inhale till you can take no more, get high on oxygen. Exhale aloud.

Learning to stay engaged in the present moment is key to greater performance, and the best way to become better at everything is to be at peace with doing nothing.

But how do you do nothing? Funny question, we know. But in a society where you’ll find yourself silently judged for not being busy, you need to first accept that it’s OKAY to let go and blank out. Work in Pomodoro time blocks instead of imprisoning yourself on the office chair for hours. Even 5 minutes of nothingness is a disguise for jumpstarted productivity… and sexual performance.

Give yourself a f*cking break, man. You really don’t need another self-indulgent Instagram post to make you feel less of a man.