Scare yourself out of bed
I am an extremely motivated and inspired person.
Right before bed, in the shower, while I am at work, and most other times during the day when I can’t actually do much about it.
I have always prided myself on my capability to plan grand things for “later”, “tomorrow”, “the first day of next month/year”, or “when we move back to Australia/Sweden and things are different”.
Sadly, I have been constantly disappointed to learn that the difference between what I think I will achieve and what comes to pass is vast and unending.
This phenomenon: a combination of laziness, procrastination and sheer lack of willpower, can be hard or impossible to beat.
Luckily, I have been fighting it for what seems like my entire life, and have learned a cunning coping mechanism.
A disclaimer to start with: Felix, who is the kind of person who doesn’t believe in jinxes, says my trick doesn’t even work even the tiniest little bit for him, but there must be other irrational and slightly unhinged people who might be helped by my psychological wizardry.
I’ve disclosed in the past that I like to trick my own brain into being happier. This method works in a similar way.
There is a word in Swedish for people like me. It is badkruka, which translates to bath pot (as in pot-plant), and refers to people who don’t like to swim in cold water.
It is rarely warm enough here for me to even consider going for a swim, and that’s ok. I have made peace with that, and have decided it just isn’t necessary in my Swedish life to go swimming ever.
However, in Australia, I really really love taking a dip in the Barrington River because it is clean, beautiful, and the more times I swim in it, the less times I have to shower and then pump the water tank full again.
While it’s not usually particularly icy, it can be hard to force myself to take the plunge if a breeze is blowing or the sun is behind a cloud.
My way around this is to tell myself very firmly that if I don’t jump in right now, my entire family will die immediately. (Sorry, family.)
There are a couple of genius benefits to this particular lie.
One is that the consequence is so grave. Of course I can deal with a little bit of discomfort to prevent a terrible tragedy.
The second really good bit about this one is that I make sure to add the word: immediately. The entire threat disappears as soon as I enter the water, and I don’t have to worry about it anymore.
When I was in my teens, it was more along the lines of, if I jump now, the guy I like at school will ask me out, which was similarly effective but came true less often.
This trick can be used for getting out of the shower, doing the dishes, getting out of bed in winter or not watching another episode of Sex and the City at one o’clock in the morning.
Some other lies I tell myself include, but are not limited to: I will get hit by a car on my way to work, Felix will get hit by a car on his way to work, and, I will not have enough to do at work and therefore have to pretend to be busy today.
You can play around with various threats until you find one which works for you. It’s a personal preference thing.
More complex situations can require different motivation, but can still be combated with scare-tactics.
Want to eat a whole box of Barbecue Shapes at work but you know you shouldn’t? Time passing slowly? Kill two birds with one stone.
Eat one shape every three minutes, and start the time again if you accidentally look at the clock before the time has passed.
This can also help improve basic arithmetic.
Snacking all morning is also proven to keep you fuller, for longer, which can help push lunch forward, resulting in less time left at work after lunch.
The perfect lies and rules can take awhile to hammer out, but it’s worth it. I don’t doubt my arsenal of small mind games can at least help to explain how I became the rational and well-rounded adult I am today.
Do you have a problem with tiny, everyday challenges? Share this post, and everything will get easier and more fun.