Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Just Show Up

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A cognitive behavioral truth about activities that are intellectually, emotionally, or physically draining is that sometimes contemplating doing them causes you more distress than actually doing them. You can’t stop ruminating about what a pain in the ass something is going to be. You inflate the difficulty in your own mind to a point where action seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

If you find yourself in this position, a motivational technique you can use on yourself is to focus all your attention on getting to the starting line instead of on running the race. In other words, just show up. Even if you only give a tiny little bit of effort it will still be better than doing nothing at all, so don’t worry about how hard it’s going to be, just get there.

Once you find yourself in the moment you can decide for yourself how much effort to put in. Whether it’s a great deal or very little you’ll probably find that the activity causes you less distress than thinking about it did. When you’re in the moment you don’t have time to think you just do, and afterwards you usually feel good about yourself. Exercise is a prime example of what we’re talking about but you can extrapolate our idea to pretty much any endeavor under the sun. Stop worrying about how it’s going to be or you’ll probably find a plausible excuse to never get started. Instead just focus all your attention on showing up and worry about the rest once you get there.