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Switching mindsets

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

We read so many examples in these pages about lack of motivation. Depression, stress, worthlessness and so on, all reasons that we feel lethargic, in a rut, motionless.

I dont know where this came from, my technique of "reverse switching" as I call it, but I guess its my drive for the end result.

Example. I've purchased paint and brushes to paint our house. I'm watching TV. its ideal weather but I cant be bothered starting the paint project. As soon as I say to myself "I cant be bothered painting today"...I immediately do the opposite!! I rise off the chair and withing 4-5 minutes I have paint on a wall.

Once that occurs, I feel better than sitting on the chair so the mental effort of doing something I dont want to do only lasts 4 minutes. The enjoyment is direct progress (paint on the wall) followed by a great feeling a wall is completed.

However if I drove myself to paint one coat on the whole house with a second coat needed, it would be too long before I'd feel any sense of achievement. Hence two coats on one wall first. Stand back and admire. By the time one coat on one wall is finished a second coat can be applied.

You can see why mentally it becomes a snowball effect.

Once finished I pack the paint away. Then a while later I noticed a small wooden fence hasnt been painted..."oh, I forgot that...I'll do it another time"...bang! Its a negative thought, I'll do it now! The switch effect is used automatically again. Simply not allowing my own mindset of the "easy road" to take hold.

Professional athletes do this. A swimmer swims 100 laps of a pool, as he/she is on that last lap, switch effect means "I'll do an extra 10 laps now".

There is one proviso, one potential problem, those extra baby steps can over extend you, cause more tiredness and be counter productive. Take breaks.

On building sites for example you'll never have tradespersons work all day without breaks. The reason is they would work less effectively with less quantity and quality of work at the end of the day.

So try the switch effect, a total u-turn with tasks. Take rest periods always aware of using the switch effect regularly.

The "switch effect"isnt easy, its a learned thing...a thing that shines with habit. So expect yourself to be challenged...by yourself!. But it can be an great addition to the positive snowball you'll develop that can change your life around.

Let me know if you do this already or if you have tried it.

Tony WK

42 Replies 42

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member


Another great post. I like this ' However if I drove myself to paint one coat on the whole house with a second coat needed, it would be too long before I'd feel any sense of achievement. Hence two coats on one wall first. Stand back and admire. By the time one coat on one wall is finished a second coat can be applied." I painted my house last year with my daughters help. We did one room at a time. Painted one coat in one room, then did the second coat and put the room back in order before moving on to the next room. Our goal was one room per day. It saved us having the whole house in a mess and the accomplishment each day encouraged me to keep going - room by room.

It'a amazing how we feel better once we have completed the task we have been avoiding. This is where i find making a list of jobs i would like to do quite useful. Not only do i get satisfaction out of completing the job, I feel accomplished when i can cross it off the list. It's off the list and out of my mind - double whammy!

i did read something recently about doing small jobs straight away. I am guilty of letting dishes pile up in the sink. if it is only going to take a few minutes to wash a couple of dishes i now try to do them straight away instead saying "i'll leave them till after diner". Of course after dinner I have a sink full of dishes and dread the thought of doing them all.


white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Exactly CMF (ps I like CMF)

And to complete one room is tolerable with rewards immefiate unlike painting the whole house iternally with furniture everywhere.A good example.

If practiced this mindset change starts to become automatic. As long as we dont become workaholics which is the other extreme.

Tony WK

Hi Tony,

I'm connecting here as you mentioned this thread to me.

If only it was as easy as you seem to find it.

On my desk I have letters I have not answered since Christmas to friends I have been corresponding with overseas for 30 years. Usually I answer them within a week. I look at those letters and almost feel physically ill. Something in me stops me from answering them.

There are times I need to phone someone. I look at the phone and I can't even touch it. I have to back away. The thought of picking it up and making the call horrifies me.

I know that exercising and walking will help my back and muscle pains. Some days I end up going to bed crying as I can't get myself out the door to go for a walk or I can't find the determination, desire, motivation or what ever you want to call it to do what I know will be beneficial.

It seems once my mind tells me I can't do something, I just don't know how to go about trying to do it even if I want to do it.

My DR asked me why I don't go walking every day, I told him it is because I can't get myself to put my shoes on, to get myself out the door, let alone go for a walk.

If I knew how to turn all of that around I would feel a whole lot better about myself and life and be a fitter person!

Any suggestions?

Cheers from Mrs. D.

Mrs Dools

I wish I could reach through my phone, hug you and chat.

Of course many of my threads are theoretical based on my own mind and how I've got it working, to overcome my challenges. ..maybe not for you

Motivation for us mentally ill, especially when physical restrictions and associated pain is added and other challenges like relationships are near impossible.

What I often do is make my challenges easily achievable. Eg those xmas letters...just do one. The next will be easier.

I worked with a guy. He told me he didnt have the endurance to paint the outside of his house. Six months later I visited his place and noticed half the house was painted. I questioned him. He said

"You know when we spoke about me not having the endurance to paint my house..Well that evening I decided to paint one weatherboard every day. It takes 15 minutes and now 6 months later my house is half painted"

He found a way. This thread is like that. Everyday you cant put your runners on. One day you'll feel better and you hopefully will switch your mindset and just do it. Even if you dont do your walk....you have already achieved progress.

Tony WK

Hi Tony,

Thanks. A hug and a chat would be excellent.

I just wrote heaps more, but I have deleted it, as it was so incredibly negative and self destructive. I don't need to travel down that path.

Tomorrow I may try to answer one of the letters I have on the kitchen table, I have moved my correspondence there so it is right in front of me each time I walk past.

Today I did manage to go for two short walks. My physio wants me to do four a day for my back, hips and legs. It was pouring with rain and I came home feeling like a drowned rat. The wind was so strong it blew my umbrella inside out.

Hopefully I will find Determination, Motivation, and what ever else I need to help me achieve stuff.

There is obviously a lot of muddled messages in my brain that need a bit of attention and sorting out.

Thanks Tony

Cheers from B

Community Member

Great tool to have Tony,

For me I can't stand still, I get very frustrated if I don't have projects to do.

About 6yrs ago I was admitted to hospital and had all meds taken of me. New meds where started including one for ADHD. This one keeps me going I can't stay idol,I am sure it has keep me going.

There for I don't get depressed like staying in bed,not eating, or completely shutting myself away. I have had times in maybe a hyper state thinking and nearly stopping.

Thats enough my ramble,just saying I agree get up of ya ass and move!!!!



I am not sure if this is the switching mindsets but I make lists as I procrastinate. Lists help me divide things into small tasks and the cross them off. I put things I like doing on my list as well.

I know for me the thought of doing things is worse than actually doing it, except for tax!!

Thanks for an interesting thread.


Thanks everyone for their comments.

Switching mindsets is something I came up with one day to defy my own mind. You know the feeling, sitting, runnets staring at you on the floor with their tongues hanging out! "I want a walk"! They cry!

So just as you decide not to go, you refer to a previous pledge and reverse your easier decision and go! Just do it!.

Decisions...not thinking!

Tony WK

Ah Tony,

If only it was that easy all of the time! What a blessing that would be.

For now, I will go and tether up "Motivation" and "Determination" before they run away from me again!

Cheers all from Mrs. D.