Ya know when you need to do something but you really don’t want to. Then you start going back and forth over what to do? You know you should go to the gym, but you really don’t feel like it, and you don’t know what to do.
I want to show you a very simple technique that will help you stick to the right choice without using any willpower. You’ll easily and effortlessly transition into doing what you know is good for you. You’ll head to the gym and have a great workout without ever needing to “make” yourself do it. Sounds too good to be true, right?
The next time you aren’t feeling up to it doing something you know you should do, try this.
First, don’t tell yourself that you have to do it or try to reason with yourself, which normally only intensifies the inner struggle and strengthens the side of you that doesn’t want to do it. As I always say, whatever you resist persists. So don’t argue with yourself or feel like you’re a terrible person because you aren’t motivated.
Simply imagine yourself doing the activity. And don’t put any expectation on yourself to do it. Don’t strategize, rationalize, criticize or judge. Don’t think at all, just imagine.
If the activity really doesn’t feel right as you’re visualizing, then you know it isn’t good for you to do that day. It might be better for you to take a break from the gym. But most of the time, you’ll find that it feels OK to imagine yourself doing the activity.
After a bit of imagining, you’ll watch yourself starting to do it in real life. You’ll naturally head to the gym without having to fight with yourself to go. No effort. No fuss. And it only takes a few moments.
What I love about this trick is that it won’t work unless it’s the right choice. This isn’t about tricking yourself into doing what you think is good for you, but about getting in touch with the health needs of your body, and then being able to follow through. You aren’t “making” yourself do anything. No force is required. In fact, the less force you use, the better this will work.
Except when driving, you can do this anywhere: walking, waiting in line or right when you wake up to help you get out of bed and set yourself up for a great day.
Sometimes when I’m tired and not in the mood to cook dinner, I’ll want to pick something up, even though I know I should cook. So then I visualize myself cooking, which always helps me make the best choice. Most of the time, my desire to order in will go away, and I’ll watch myself going to the kitchen to prepare dinner. This quickly switches my state-of-mind, which gets me in the mood to cook, so it becomes something I want to do, rather than have to do.
Again, don’t try to fight with yourself to do something, just picture yourself doing it. Then before you know it, you’ll start doing it without having to try. If you don’t, then it probably isn’t the right thing for you to do.
With this trick, you can have your cake and eat it too. On one hand, you’ll be able to do what’s healthy for you and get the great results you want. On the other hand, you’ll be able to do it easily without feeling like you’re exhausting yourself or losing out on anything. You’ll do it because you want to, not because you have to, which is the most effective way to motivate yourself. It cultivates a wonderful sense of flow in your life.
There are fascinating neurological and psychological explanations for why this works, which I’ll talk about in another post. And I’ll give you more great visualization exercises.
But for now, run a little experiment to see how this imagination trick works for you. Take a small task you’ve been procrastinating, such as organizing a messy drawer. Casually imagine yourself doing that task without putting any pressure on yourself to do it. Then sit back and watch what happens.