Keeping It Positive

Looking at the Bright Side of Things:


The Idea:

There are lots of things we’d like to get done, but that we don’t always like to do.  This could be from a disconnect between what you really care about (i.e. your life goals) and how your choices relate to them.  Other times, it may be enough just to remind yourself why you’re doing X in the first place.

The Goal:

By identifying positive benefits (which should be desirable to you) to doing X, you can associate nice feelings with X, and hopefully feel more motivated to do X.


The Practice:

Identify something you would like to get done, but doesn’t appeal to you.  Make a list of all the reasons why doing it is great– all the benefits that would result, if you got it done.  Rehearse these benefits whenever you notice yourself having to begrudgingly force yourself to do X.  


The Example:

Say we want to get our math homework done– we know it’ll be helpful in the future because we’ve decided on a math-oriented career, so having proficient math skills can help with that.  But you still don’t want to do math because it’s boring or tedious.


Try really hard to think of benefits to doing this work, anyway.  An example list is:


  • “I should do it because it’ll help me in the future.  I may regret not sharpening my fundamentals later on.”


  • “I should do it because math gives me a great opportunity to test my assumptions and ability to coherently reason, which is helpful for building my logical reasoning skills.”


  • “I should do it because solving math problems strengthens my ability to make plans and generate options, which are general skills that I can apply to real-life problems, anyway.”


  • “I should do it because even if I don’t like it, sticking with something I don’t like increases my discipline and ability to stick through hard times, which is still useful, as I can easily see many future scenarios where I have to do other things I don’t like.  Increasing my discipline now helps me on both this and future problems.”


The key is keep these reasons off the top of your head as a counter to any negative feelings you’ve built up associated with task X.


Play around with this and see if it helps with that “ugh” feeling.

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