Is Your Imagination “Running Away with You”?


Does this ever happen to you?
There’s something important you need to do but you’re putting it off because you’re thinking doing it will be difficult or unpleasant in some way? Strangely, it seems to be easy to imagine the “worst case scenario” as the likely outcome.

That story in your imagination is powerful enough to keep you from doing something you actually need to do. The Temptations understood this, as you may remember from this lyric:

“A cozy little home out in the country with two children, maybe three.
I tell you, I can visualize it all. This couldn’t be a dream, for too real it all seems.
But it was just my ‘magination, once again.
Running away with me.”

Since what you imagine can seem so real, why not practice imagining positive experiences and outcomes? Here’s one way to do that. Let’s say your task involves getting your financials ready for your tax preparer. You might have slogged through this task in past years and found it tedious. So you are imagining this time being grim and you just aren’t enthusiastic about starting.

The solution is imagining the task being more of an interesting challenge – something you can get involved in and make timely progress, and then feel a satisfying sense of accomplishment. Perhaps think about the benefit of doing the work.

“Oh sure,” you may be thinking. “Fat chance I’d buy into that.” No problem. The positive thoughts create what’s called cognitive dissonance, an inconsistency. Now your brain can recognize a choice.

Think of how you’d increase the appeal of doing the work. Consider what’s in it for you to complete the task, how you’ll feel when you do. It’s your imagination so you can enhance the experience in any way you want. Step into that picture and claim it as real.

The more you start thinking positive, the easier things become.

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