Just like we discussed yesterday, there's something about the future that makes it seem really UNimportant. The importance of future events pales next to the pull of things happening right now. When this happens - when the future seems distant - our inner child wins out. We give in to the distractions and temptations that are here, now, at the expense of our long-term goals.
To combat this, we're going to make the future feel more real, more pressing, and really, really scary.
Worst Case Scenario
Task: Visualize the worst possible thing that might happen if you don't get your work done.
Info: The idea here is to imagine the worst possible outcome of not working. Really go dark and scary for this visualization task. Here's what I might imagine as I try to motivate myself to work toward my Ph.D: As I continue to put off important experiments, the days tick past, one-by-one. I do the very minimum each day and don't think carefully about how to schedule my time to keep myself busy and make progress. Experiments take two or three times as long as necessary. Because I never make time for work, I barely make progress day-to-day, month-to-month, and, eventually, year-to-year. Before I know it, I'm in my 15th year of my Ph.D. program with no papers and no hope of getting a job. Finally, my committee decides my lack of progress is unacceptable, but instead of giving me a Ph.D. out of pity, I am kicked out of the program with nothing to show. Yikes.
Goal: Make the negative outcomes that might result from procrastination feel as immediate and real as possible.
For some, this scare-tactic may be demotivating: the seriousness of the situation makes them freeze. To avoid this, pair this challenge with previous Daily Mind Games to keep things fun and moving forward. After today's "Worst Case Scenario", go right into "High Contrast" and imagine the positive outcomes that will come from working hard. Then, "Divide and Conquer" and complete one task that seems "Too Easy". Rinse and repeat until you're awesome!