2020-07-14

Pushing & pulling changes

Here are two ideas I've named, which I'm sure you are semi familiar with. I hope that by giving them a label they're easier to discuss, and prompt yourself. to use.

Pushing changes

Good for getting out of ruts, bad states of mind and breaking or stopping bad behaviours. Often useful in the middle of a day that’s gone off track, or in the middle of a low period. These work by pushing away the states of mind, and don’t deal with the underlying cause.

Examples

  • Intense perceptual stimuli: using cold water to splash your face or shower in, shining a bright (but safe) LED in your eyes, drinking something very cold, listening to some loud music. Temperature seems to work best for me.
  • Intense physical exertion such as a long run or very long walk. Make it difficult and effortful.
  • Gentler but less effective methods: a timed nap, meditating, taking 100 deep breaths.

Pulling changes

Good for getting into new routines, and creating new habits. The idea is not that the X actually improves you, but that you use it as a springboard on your journey to improve. These work by pulling you towards good states of mind but work like a blunt tool by"faking it until you make it" rather than reaching the good states of mind and routines through reasoned effort.

I find saying silly things to myself such as "after I've made change X, everything will be new and better" and this small bit of optimism acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Examples

  • Small changes to your living and workspace: rearranging furniture, changing your computer wallpaper, thoroughly cleaning and tidying.
  • Changing your possessions or appearance: a new watch, hair cut, etc
  • Going away: being away from home is a great time to break your script and do things differently.
  • Making use of meaningful dates: anniversaries, birthdays, solstices, the first day of a month, etc are all great opportunities for change. I find it very motivating to be able to say (and know I’ll be able to say) things like "I’ve been doing X since meaningful day Y".
5 Tristan Cook: Pushing & pulling changes Here are two ideas I've named, which I'm sure you are semi familiar with. I hope that by giving them a label they're easier to d...
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