Week 4

This week deals more particularly with sabotaging thoughts.

Day 22 Get used to disappointment

I guess the main time disappointment comes up with organization is when you have to put off something you feel like doing for something you think will help.  I guess another way to think of this is “what you want right now vs. what you really want.”  Beck promotes the phrase “Oh well” as a way to accept that you’re not going to get what you want.  I suppose we could think of Tommy Lee Jones in the Fugitive saying with quiet but unyielding resolve “I don’t make bargains.”

Day 23 Deal with unfairness

Unfairness is a strategy your mind may use to try and get you out of doing what you may not want to.  One idea may be that you’re just not cut out for the organized life, or that it’s unfair for you when it seems to come easily for others.  Maybe you get hung up on the fact that some of the mess belongs to other people.

The key recommendation from Beck is to say it would be even more unfair to live with the mess.  In my case, a lot of the mess is children whose ability to help may be limited.  Or because I’ve raised them, they tolerate messes.  It’s important for their futures that I model neater living.  Getting them to help can take more work than doing it myself, so for now it’s probably easier to just do it myself and when we’re closer to a maintenance level I can make them help.

Day 24 Don’t get discouraged

I have a hard time sorting out disappointment and discouragement, but I guess the former comes from not getting what you want, while the latter is from biting off more than we can chew.  This was another thing I remember from sidetracked home executives, is that we have a tendency to empty a closet and wind up with a mess in the middle of the hall.  They recommend only getting into what you can resolve in 45 minutes, I think.

We have to really understand the concept of “One day at a time”.  It does not mean live for today, because tomorrow may not come.  It means focus on what you have control over in the present.  Long range planning is necessary, but should always be considered “written in pencil.”  If you have a good day, don’t think you will duplicate that over and over.

Day 25 ID sabotaging thoughts

Characteristics of sabotaging thoughts: pp 27-28
-encourage you to [procrastinate].  Permission, rationalizing.  Shouldn’t… but, excuses
-Undermine confidence.  Kick in after you get off track, both emotional immunity & catastrophizing
-allow disregarding advice in this book, beg off tasks
-increase general stress level: black and white, all or nothing (See thinking mistakes)

Day 26 ID thinking mistakes

This is a list from an earlier work by Beck.  All or nothing:  This is a big one, both for diet and CD.  We’re either on the wagon or off it.
Mental filter: Interpret events based on what has happened in the past, i.e. This never works for me.
Overgeneralization: Just because something happened once, it always will.  Every time try this, that happens.
Catrastrophizing: this is maybe the opposite of what I feel like I deal with.  I say “what difference will it make if it’s gone on this long.”  Catastrophizing may play into why I retreat into procrastination.
Mistaking feelings for facts: this comes up in my difficulty discarding things.
Should statements:  Karen Honey talked about “the tyranny of the shoulds.”  We compartmentalize ideal behavior.
Personalizing:  Because I deal with this or that problem, I am a bad person, and because it is a defect in me, it can’t be changed.
Discounting positive experience:  Negatives are more salient.  It is easier to see what I do that is wrong rather than what I do that is right.
Mind reading:  Other people must think I’m a terrible person.
Labelling:  Attaching global, negative labels to yourself or others.

Day 27:  The 7 question technique

This is a way to dig into self deceptive and sabotaging thoughts.  Beck says you can counter most sabotage without response cards if you really master these questions.

  • What kind of thinking error could I be making?
  • What evidence is there that this thought might not be true [completely]
  • Is there another way to look at this?
  • What is the most realistic outcome of this situation?
  • What is the effect of my believing this, vs. changing my thinking?
  • What would I tell someone else if I could hear them saying this to themselves?
  • What should I do now?

The way I look at things, sabotage arises when the various domains of the brain start working against the larger goal.  Self-interview should be a process of refocusing these domains to work together.

Day 28:  Accountability II

We are reminded for this day that measuring efforts is not about judging ourselves personally, but about gaining feedback on what we are doing.  Something I realized the last couple of days is that as nice as the idea of planning my day in advance sounds, I might do better tracking and comparing that with my results.  I have lost and maintained my weight without pre planning, rather through tracking, and I am hopeful that can apply as well to organization.


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