Feelings betray us all the time. “I don’t want to go to the gym… I need to do this paper but don’t feel like it right now… I’ll clean up in the morning…” The phrases are endless, but they all expose the power of feelings.
Any time you talk about the way you feel towards an activity, there is one hidden statement you are making. You are secretly saying, “My feelings dictate my actions.“
Is it bad for your actions to be ran by your emotions? I can certainly think of times where it makes sense. You probably shouldn’t spend all your time around people you do not like. Conversely, it makes sense to entertain yourself with the activities that feel fun. Your emotions can play a positive role in your actions.
However, we run into a problem very quickly if we operate on how we feel. The difficult tasks, the “good for you laters,” and the healthy, positive habits fall by the wayside.
Flipping the Feelings Script
No matter how hard we try, we cannot make feelings go away. Ignoring how you feel is unrealistic. Instead, we have to reverse the focus.
We flip the way our feelings control us by beginning with the action, then ending with the feeling. This mindset shift allows you to take the action that you know is best for you, while still validating your emotions. Here’s what it looks like:
You wake up and say, “I’ve chosen to go to the gym today, so I am going to go.” You get there and begin to exercise. Then, you reflect. “How does this feel? Is my body responding well to the exercise? Do I need to adjust anything?“
Notice how the shift works… You begin with the action that you decided on without relying on your feelings. Then, you allow your feelings to help you analyze the actions you’ve committed to.
What’s the purpose of this mindset practice? It is to get you into a more decisive position, where you are in total control of your life. As you practice, you will find it easier to do what you say you are going to do.
Practice Makes Perfect(er)
I wish I could tell you that this practice will make your life perfect forever. The truth is, our feelings are powerful and can overrule many of the decisions we make. The goal therefore is not to be perfect. Rather, it is to maximize your control.
If you have trouble sticking to diet or exercise routines, or you procrastinate often, or people describe you as flaky, this work can be a huge unlock. Allow your feelings to be present, but not in a decision making role. Your logic decides what to do, then your feelings come along for the ride you have designated.
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