I’ve written in the past that one of the best ways to get yourself moving on something you are resisting is to use the magic phrase “I’m not really going to …. now, but I’ll just….”. For example if you are putting of writing a report, then say to yourself “I’m not really going to write the report now, but I’ll just get the file out.”
What the phrase accomplishes is to get you over the first step. Once you’ve done that your mind seems to lose much of its resistance and you start to gain momentum. In fact what often happens is that you seem to get into an almost automatic frame of mind in which you hardly notice that you are doing the task.
I remember last summer I was sitting in my garden one Sunday afternoon after lunch enjoying the sunshine, when I became aware that I really ought to be mowing the grass. Naturally that was the last thing I wanted to do, so I said to myself “I’m not really going to mow the grass now, but I’ll just get the power cable out”. The next thing I knew was that the grass was mown. It was almost as if someone else had done it. But there wasn’t anyone else around, so I knew it must have been me!
If you use this phrase a lot, an interesting thing starts to happen. You frequently find that you by the time you have finished the phrase, you already well into the task. For example, by the time you have said “I’m not really going to write this report now, but …” you will have started to write the report!
So just saying the first half of the phrase gets us moving. We don’t even have to specify what the first step is.
What is happening here? Why should saying we’re not going to do something be the trigger phrase that gets us to do it?
In some way one part of our mind seems to be able to fool another. One part is perfectly aware that we intend to write the report, at the same time that another part is blindly believing the lie that we’re not really going to do it.
Notice the difference between saying “I’m not going write that report now” and “I’m not really going to write that report now, but …” In the first one, we mean it!
What happens if we start to use this technique on longer-term things? “I’m not really going to lose 10 lbs, but …” or “I’m not really going to sail around the world, but …”.
Have fun finding out!