Midnight Motivation: Trick Yourself

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Sometimes when we need to get something done or we know we should being doing something but we’re tempting ourselves to leave it for another time, we just need to trick ourselves. By ‘tricking ourselves’, I mean to envision the minimum we would have to do in order to reach that day’s target, the minimum we would have to do to at least do something towards that target, or the minimum that would still make us feel like we’ve done something towards our goal. For example, if one of our goals was to go on a run every other day, we could tell ourselves to run for 20 minutes on the treadmill, or if we had to get some work done for next week, we could tell ourselves to do one hour’s work. Once we have managed to trick ourselves into doing the absolute minimum needed to get something done, one of three things will happen. Firstly, we’ll get that minimum done; we may plod through it reluctantly, but at least we did something and did enough to feel productive. Next, we may find that we decide to keep going; “we’re doing it now, we’ve got ourselves into the mindset and we’ve got everything out already, we might as well do some more. It will save us having to do it later and maybe tomorrow, instead of slaving away at this, we can go out and do something much more fun”. Finally, by tricking ourselves, we may decide to keep going because we are actually enjoying what we’re doing and it’s making us feel good. Sometimes one of the hardest parts about motivating ourselves is initially getting ourselves to do it. Once we’re actually doing it, we forget why it was such a chore in the first place. Let’s just start and see what happens.

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