How to keep the momentum going when the big hoopla is all over

Okay, okay, was that a crazy enough title for a blog entry? I hope so! It’s not such a remote thing, when you realize all the hooplas we have out there.

The classic example is the New Year’s Resolution. New Year’s comes and you tell yourself you’ll lose 50 pounds, go to the gym for three hours a day eight days a week, and…let’s see…Become a vegan finally. (Apologies for using a food/weight example here…)

So the first week of January has gone well. You joined the gym. Then, you figure you couldn’t possibly go until you had the right clothes. You spend the rest of the week clothes shopping and then, you bought a pork roast.

Now wait a minute, that’s not vegan! But… You’ll do that tomorrow, right? Or February, when you realize gym membership is due and you haven’t been there once.

Hey…the hoopla is over! What happened to all that energy?

On the non-food side, you decide you are going to write a book. You start the first chapter and then…… What? You’re not writing? I hear this story a lot and you most likely have, too.

How can a person keep up the momentum and energy? How can a person start doing something and then, keep up the practice until it is habitual?

I suspect that a part of this has to do with plain old discipline. The same chutzpah that gets you out of bed every day, maybe you can harness that same energy to fuel your book-writing project.

I have observed that some people set their goals too high or their goals are too unrealistic. I am all for a whole bunch of ambition. Of course!

This is what happens when you expect to soar too high. It gets overwhelming. It’s too much, or too challenging. The task suddenly seems enormous.

I recall when I had a hard time writing (which I don’t now…) I used to break it up into chunks. Studies have shown that if you set a timer and promise yourself you’ll only write for ten or fifteen minutes, you’ll write more in that short bit of time and work more efficiently than if you force yourself to sit at your desk five hours and be productive the whole time.

Just about any task can be broken up into smaller parts. We cannot leap from the first floor to the second, can we? No, most of us couldn’t manage that (I sure couldn’t!). But when we build a stairway we can climb bit by bit till we reach the top.

When you reach that top of the stairway, now you can look back at all you have accomplished. It feels good, doesn’t it?

Now that you have succeeded, go have yet one more hoopla.

And don’t forget to tell me about it.

Naysayers

Do you have Naysayers in your life? I do! If you don’t have any now, you may have witnessed naysaying or perhaps have past memories of Naysayers,

What are Naysayers? There are different types. Remember the story of Job? He had three friends whom I would say were Naysayers. Job stuck to his faith but the “friends,” perhaps with very benevolent intent, told Job to give up. Yikes!

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever experienced well-intentioned people in your life literally tell you “You can’t” or tell you in some other fashion that you should give up your dreams?

Teachers and college professors sometimes do this, although my own experience of college was not like that. I have heard stories, though, of instructors who tell students, “You have no talent.”

I can’t imagine saying that to anyone, can you? How can these profs say this without realizing the consequences? I have known students who were insulted like this and they ended up dropping classes, giving up totally, getting discouraged and angry.

I have had people tell me to give up antipsychiatry or whatever the heck our Movement is called. I was even told that no one cares about it. Actually, that’s so untrue I am surprised I even listened to the person who said it.

I have been told I will always be a failure, even by people I highly respected.

Most of my doctors called me disabled and incapable. And yet, haven’t I consistently proven them wrong when they’ve played the role of Naysayer?

Do you have Naysayers in your life?

I have often thought that the Naysayers in one’s life are actually an impediment and this is why:

Naysayers don’t expect much from you. They expect you to fail, or are convinced you will. This negative expectation is almost like a diagnosis. Or pseudo-diagnosis. FAILURE.

Maybe it’s time to get the Naysaying to stop. I don’t like hearing it and I don’t see it as productive. But is such a thing possible or is Naysaying an intrinsic part of being human?

What if we just didn’t listen to all that? What if we disregarded the expectation of a poor outcome?

Perhaps it goes back to realizing that other people don’t predict your future. No one is psychic. Even if you have had past failures (and who hasn’t?), that in itself doesn’t mean you won’t succeed.

I think I need to also tune in to any Naysaying I may be inadvertently sending out to other people.

I ask what the difference is between warning people about a scam, such as the Windows computer infection phone scam, would count as Naysaying. Should I instead have an open mind and say, “If. you think giving all your personal information to this telemarketer is the best thing ever, GO FOR IT”?

Most likely, not.

What about a person who decides to enter the Mental System?

I have heard people say to me, “I don’t care about consequences, I only want to feel better right now.”

Of course this is a foolish approach. But should I say so? Wouldn’t that somehow be knocking the person down, even though my intent is certainly not to be cruel?

While many of you out there may wish we could stop people from making this decision, perhaps a gentler approach would be more effective. I don’t mean toning down the message. I mean working at a slower pace so the potential psych victim realizes for himself that he’s moving in the wrong direction, and takes the initiative to prevent that from happening.

I think when a person decides and acts autonomously to make a change, ultimately the change is more solid and long-lasting.

I think I need to be more aware of when or if I am making Naysaying statements. Sometimes it is best to stay mum even when you are sure of yourself.

Just a thought.

One Bad Habit Therapists Can’t Seem to Give Up

I have run into this tendency in psychotherapy numerous times.  Remember, therapy is a business and these folks have to have customers to survive.  

When you first meet the therapist, that oh so rosy first meeting, you may,  or more likely may not,  get an accurate picture of what “treatment” will be like. As far as the therapist is concerned,  this initial session is The Big Sell. Especially for those in private practice. Those at agencies are assigned patients and very often that patient can’t be picky. Agencies have rules and often give patients a hard time if they want to switch. When the patient has ability to choose between many in his or her  community, the therapist has to work harder at The Big Sell, otherwise risk losing potential customers. 

One thing they trying if to shower the customer with compliments. These might include numerous positive words about the patient’s character.  To sell well, for sure the customer should leave happy. 

They change their tone very shortly after. To suck in clientele,  they now try to knock down the character they have built up. Here’s where we hear statements about how inadequate the patient is, reiterating the idea that the patient SURELY MUST BE UNSATISFIED WITH LIFE.  Despite any argument by the patient, the therapist now insists the patient is unhappy.  Only therapy can fix this malady, the therapist insists. 

This is a technique known well in sales. If you read what I have written about brainwashing, and check out my radio broadcast on the topic,  you’ll see that brainwashing works the same way.