Sometimes – ok, often – I will be down and despairing and I will strongly feel I will never be happy again. When I think that, I fall back on my six month rule.
For my six month rule, I think of the times in my life I’ve been happy and I picture that time. Then I picture the time six months earlier. In that earlier time, I think: could I have predicted that I would be happy six months later? The answer is no, I never could. Then I ask myself: is my ability to predict any better now? And the answer again is no. Then how can you predict you won’t be happy again in the future, I wonder? And I have to answer: I can’t. For me that is enough to break out of my negative fortune telling about the future.
Maybe I won’t be happy in six months. Maybe I will be worse. Who knows? I sure don’t. So I get in with things and hope and work for the best and I stop trying to predict the future and I stop letting this predictions determine the way I feel right now at this moment.
And what is it: Say nice things – to yourself
It sounds ridiculous, and you may feel ridiculous if you try it. If so, consider this:
- you likely say terrible things to yourself all the time. “I can’t believe I did that…that was stupid…I am an idiot…etc”. You get the picture. If saying nice things about yourself is dumb, that is dumber. So get over yourself.
- athletes, from amateurs to the elite, talk positively to themselves ALL THE TIME. Indeed, when I played sports in school, we were admonished to “Talk it up!” all of the time. It made the team better: it made us better. Great athletes are great partially because they are always talking positively to themselves
- I mean, you are already standing there in the mirror brushing your teeth. Put that big brain of yours to work. Do better with it. Talk it up! 🙂
If you can see clearly ahead, you can make better directions on how to steer. It’s true for any mode of transportation. It’s also true about life. Take a look at this piece in the 99u: What I Wish I Knew at Every Age – 99U. Whether you are young or old, it will give you the ability to see what’s ahead in life though the wishes of others and it will help you steer your one wonderful life.
(Image from here).
Do you ever get stuck in this loop?
If so, then the Atlantic has an article for you. According to this article, The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It – The Atlantic,
Delaying hard work is all about your mood.
And it goes on to talk about how to defeat this.
Seven additional suggestions I have on defeating this doom loop:
- set a regular schedule of tackling difficult tasks and stick with it.
- dilute the difficulty by giving yourself a ridiculous amount of time to do it. If it will likely take 20 minutes, schedule 2 hours and just sit there and do nothing else until you get it done.
- set up a reward for getting it done.
- set up significant negative consequences for not getting it done. You might need help from a friend or coach here.
- log the positive feelings and thoughts you feel after you get it done. Review that often.
- log the negative feelings and thoughts you have before you do it. After you do it, analyse what you wrote and revisit your thinking and feeling. You will likely find it wasn’t as bad as you had expected.
- have a list of things you are procrastinating on. For example, if you have two things you are avoiding, try to avoid doing one of them by doing the other. It’s better to get one thing done than getting none done
Can be found here: 100 Tips to Improve Your Life – 99U.
I challenge you to go through this list and not find anything here that you could apply to your own life. You will likely find at least five. If you find none, maybe your life is already perfect. 🙂
The 99U is a great source of guidance on any number of topics. I have even written some articles there.
You can start life changes any time. These may be aimed on people making New Year resolutions, but you can resolve to change right after you read this.