Success Tip #37: Head Games

Mental Tips | Physical Tips

Head Games… not just a hit song by Foreigner. the lyric, “If you want to win you’ve got to learn how to play head games” refers to a romantic relationship, and may or may not be true. I know the idea of playing “head games” is normally thought of as a bad thing. In the case of the Foreigner song it’s the idea of stringing your lover along while you’re thinking about something better on the next horizon. But there are more innocent games, and helpful games too. We are always playing little head games or mind games with ourselves. Like when when we say that we are only going to have one cookie, but we know that one cookie usually turns into a nice round number like 3. Oh hell, might as well finish the box now. This way I won’t eat any tomorrow! Sound familiar? How about when it’s tax time and we convince ourselves that it would be much easier to file everything at the last minute. It’s a little game we play with ourselves. We justify, and rationalize to avoid discomfort or to game momentary pleasure. We all do it…and we do it a lot. Usually anything that you are procrastinating is a case of rationalizing that later would be better than sooner. We tell ourselves stories about how we don’t have time or it will be too difficult right now, or we need to wait until we have more energy, and there isn’t a Star Trek marathon on syfy channel. I’m not here to beat you up or tell you that you are full of shit and you better get your act together. Not at all.

Focus on your strengths

As you may or may not know I am big proponent of capitalizing on strengths as opposed to trying to over come weaknesses. What if we could turn these little games around a bit so that they would work for us as opposed to against us? As I said, we are all given to this tendency to tell stories when trying to avoid some thing that we think is going to be difficult. The key word is “think” it’s all in your head. The pain, the discomfort, is just a perception. After all what would happen if you did something totally crazy and did your taxes early this year? What if you said to yourself…”I know I really don’t have the time to do this but, I’m going to spend few minutes on this tax thing tonight. A few minutes won’t hurt too much.” What do you think would happen? A few minutes, as in fifteen minutes is totally doable. Even the biggest tax wimp would have to admit that they could spend 15 minutes organizing receipts with no ill effects. Now, what is the reality here? The reality here is that if do something for 15 minutes you are way more likely to continue and get a lot more done than you expected. This is the same as the cookie turning into 3 or 10. Before you know it you’ve eaten the entire box and your taxes are done.

How to use Head Games

I use these head games for all sorts of things including working out. If I am feeling really lazy. I may say something to myself like, “Okay…I’ll just go for like a 10 or 15 minute brisk walk.” I have NEVER gone for a 10 minute brisk walk.. It always turns into at least 30 minutes of running. I will also use head games when I feel more like watching Netflix than working in the studio. I say something like, “I’ll just go down to the studio for a few minutes. I’ll just listen want to listen to one mix.” and I almost always end up getting a lot done…a lot more than just tweaking a mix

A body in motion

If you’ve seen my Quick Tip videos you know that one of my quick tips is to simply move. It is a law of physics. A body at rest tends to remain at rest. A body in motion tends to remain in motion. That initial start though is the hardest part, and it is usually a lot easier to keep going once you’re up and running . This is physics in action. Keep this in mind when you are tempted to procrastinate. Then tell yourself, “I’ll just go for a short run.” “I’ll just practice for 15 minutes.” “I’ll just do a few sets at the gym today.” Not to contradict Tom Petty, but “the waiting” is not hardest part. Starting is the hardest part. Get your body in motion and you will see results, but sometime you have to learn how to play head games.