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Self-deception for fun and profit

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yesterday's weather was abysmal. All the schools around us were closed because snow was ... not so much falling as being hurled vertically across the landscape like tiny ice bullets. The wind velocity combined with this punishing precipitation inspired me not so much to go to the gym as to climb back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and refuse to come out until April.

Plus, it was a swimming day. Which meant getting WET in a non-home location. It just sounded terrible.

So I promised myself that I could just go to the rec center, climb in the hot tub, and marinate for half an hour. After all, I only committed to going TO the gym every day. Not to working out every day.

Of course I was lying to myself. I knew that when I got there, I would at least get into the pool first and paddle a couple leisurely laps.

That was also a lie. I went, and I swam a mile freestyle, then an additional 5 laps of backstroke just to finish out the hour. Then I finally went and sat in the hot tub for a little while.

It's useful, at times of low motivation, to break things down into baby steps and to tell ourselves that we only have to do the first step. Right now my kitchen is a mess, and I'm telling myself that when I finish this entry I only have to put the dishes in the sink into the dishwasher and start it. Nothing else.

Sometimes we really do just complete that one baby step. There may well be a day when I go to the gym and just get in the hot tub because I really need a day off. But most of the time, it's just a little lie, coaxing us on to the next part of what feels like an overwhelming task. Just one mile on the bike, just one time around the track, just one load of laundry, just one errand.

And with a little luck, we will finish the day feeling quite smug about all the things we lied ourselves into accomplishing.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great job and getting it done!
    1832 days ago
    I love psychology....isn't it funny how we have to manipulate ourselves into doing the things we want to do? Sometimes I just have to shake my head at the things I have to do to get myself to do stuff. As if I'm someone else - a two year old or something.


    Sounds like you did awesomely.

    1832 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/13/2014 10:51:54 PM
    I do that all the time. It usually works.
    1833 days ago
    The initial Spark is the most important step.
    1833 days ago
  • HILLSLUG98239
    There are times when you cannot compromise on achieving your immediate goal. But I think those times are few and far between, say, if you're being chased by a cougar that wants to eat you. The rest of the time, we're allowed to listen to our bodies and let our emotions have a say.
    1833 days ago
    My trick is to tell myself "I'm just going to do chores for 30 minutes and see how much I can get done within that time." If I really work hard for a short time, I can get a lot done and then reward myself with something I enjoy.

    Good blog!

    1833 days ago
    I lie to myself as well...it's about the only way I can convince myself to do housework!
    I'd much rather go outside and play! emoticon
    1833 days ago
    1833 days ago
    That was funny! Did you get back into bed and pull the covers over your head? Marinating in the hot tub sounds sooo good! I'll join you! Why would you go to the gym and NOT work out? The pool is a good workout. There's nothing wrong with baby steps! All those "JUST ONES" will lead to more later on.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1833 days ago
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