Lesson 1: Master Your Self Image And Create Habits

This is the first lesson in the Get It Done Now Series.

Do any of the following sound familiar: “I could never do that,” “They are so lucky,” “I’m just not feeling motivated today,” or “Why can’t I make this work?” These are thoughts that can hold you back from accomplishing your projects. Approaching your projects with these kinds of questions is like trying to stop an oncoming bus with just your arm.

Change Your Psychology

I think the best way to get your psychology in the right frame of mind for completing your projects is the familiar children’s tale, “The Little Engine That Could.” In this story, a little train car ends up having to pull an extremely heavy load over a mountain. Instead of getting overwhelmed, the little train car uses simple repetition as it attempts to complete its task.

“I think I can, I think I can.”

These are the only words you need to get in the right frame of mind. Action will follow. I can’t tell you how many times I get ready to do a project and I don’t feel motivated or I feel overwhelmed, or I just want to be entertained instead. These small words, “I think I can,” repeated in your mind over and over will change your psychology. Repeat them often.

Create Habits

Repeat the words, “I think I can,” enough and you’ll find it happening automatically. This means a habit is forming – in this case, a good habit. To create this habit, find your work space and get out some note cards or sticky notes. Write the words, “I think I can” on the note cards. Refer to them often until it’s natural for you to think you can.

When you think you can, you will try. When you try, you will make progress on your projects. As an aspiring author, I put this to the test with some marathon writing sessions of 4 to 5 hours late into the night. I wanted to complete my book and focus and repetition were key to staying on track.

Default Behavior

The second is your default behavior on your computer. This just means what do you naturally do first when you get on your computer. One of my biggest temptations when I log onto the computer is to check Gmail, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, CNN.com, ESPN.com, NBA.com, Gamespot.com, and many more. It may seem harmless to spend time on these each time you log onto the computer, but actually, a dangerous habit is being created when you do so.

Think of it this way. Take two separate chain links and clasp them together. You now have a linked chain. This link can only be undone by breaking the link (pulling really hard), or taking the time to un-clasp the links. When you immediately go to entertainment on your computer as you log in, or even as you are using it, you are creating a stronger and stronger link in your brain that this is what you should be doing.

To remedy this, I recommend you set aside a specific time period during the day for leisurely activities, email, and social networking on your computer. And during this time, you must accomplish one task on one of your projects before you allow yourself to do them. This creates a better link in your mind that your projects are always top priority when you log onto the computer.

Linking Is Powerful

Creating links and behavior is very powerful. Traffic lights are an excellent example of strong linking. When you see red, immediately stopping comes to mind. When it is green, accelerating and going comes to mind. When it is yellow you have some people who have linked that with gun it and others with slam on the breaks :)

Even if it is just 5 minutes of work on your project the moment you get on your computer every time, this will go a long way (if done daily) to creating a more effective default behavior on your computer.


To change your psychology, adopt the words, “I think I can, I think I can,” into your vocabulary and regularly use them. Second of all, manage your default behavior in your work environment. The first thing you should always do is make progress on your projects. By doing so, you create a habit and link in your mind that this is always most important. Over time it will become easier to start your projects rather than drift off into email, entertainment, or other leisurely activities.

Be on the lookout for lesson 2, “Master a few basic skills” coming soon.

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7 thoughts on “Lesson 1: Master Your Self Image And Create Habits

  1. (Let me preface by saying I often offend w/o meaning to and put my foot in my mouth often online. Text does not carry weight or emotion so it is hard to tell, but my following comments mean well, so please TRY to take it that way. I think you could be VERY successful if you yourself took the right steps and I would love to help you get there)

    First: I like what you are writing, I do.

    Constructive Criticism from an E-Course E-Book fan and one creating one…

    This is NOT an E-Course.

    It is a Great Post.
    It looks to be a set of really great posts.
    But it is not an E-Course.

    Here is probably the best definition I have found of what an E-Course is

    Second: Why I do not feel this is an E-Course:

    There is no community.
    There is no track ability for you.
    There is no place I can connect with other members.
    There is not a sign up I can connect with you on.
    There is no E-Book or Workbook I can use.
    This is SOLELY Informational.

    Information alone is not enough to inspire action.
    This helped me—> http://www.engagingecourses.com/

    Maybe it will help you.
    I now I have challenged you…Good! Perhaps this will challenge you further. I feel you stretching, but you don’t have your new legs on yet. Get em on and get an e course going. I will be the FIRST to SIGN UP and I will SHARE it like no other.

    Hope you took all this with love and care.
    Trisha Trixie

    1. Trisha, thanks for taking the time to offer very well-thought out feedback. It seems I am creating an informational series of posts rather than an e-course. What is missing for this to be an e-course makes sense to me. I’ll reword it to be called ‘series’ rather than e-course.

      After I’m finished with this series of articles though, it’s probably worth a second look at doing an auto-respond type series with these articles and setting up an e-course where members can connect with each other.

      I appreciate you taking the time to share this information. I welcome all feedback of any kind, whether positive, or of the constructive nature. Thanks for being willing to share your thoughts and expertise – I will adapt accordingly :)

  2. WHEW! I did not need salt for my Filet of Sole today!

    I really desire you to succeed so I am glad you are taking it well.

    I enjoyed the post and look forward to more.

    (PS I get stuff done like no other too so I get that aspect. I learned quick is not always thought out and a Venture Capitalist once told me FIRST or IMMED is not always BEST. I never forgot.)

    Happy weekending. Enjoy Baby dom.

  3. I like the “I think I can” thought process. I’ve done it at times but I never termed it that way. It does works a lot :)

    Another thing I do is when I need to do something I really hate doing, I try to only give myself 15 minutes to do it. A task that I really hate seems more tolerable when I only have to spend 15 minutes doing it. The funny thing is, though, once I get started doing it I often go over that! Win-win. You might have mentioned something like this in one of your lessons, judging from the titles.

    As for checking email, I don’t even wait until I get to work anymore. Ever since I got my smart phone, I check it right after my alarm goes off – before I even get out of bed. Pretty bad, huh? LOL! I would say it is just as important to catch detrimental actions before they become habits, but easier said than done.

    I’ll be back tomorrow for part 2 while I process the information on this post.

    1. Valerie – thanks for sharing. I particularly like the time boxing difficult/undesirable tasks at 15 minutes. I’ll even set an alarm for it so that I know I’m on the clock.

      I check my phone when I wake up to Val, so don’t feel bad about that :)

  4. This is an interesting post. And a very helpful post as well.

    I like the way you presented the information and got me thinking and how you explain that checking the social sites “first thing” on the computer is habit forming. To be honest I already knew that it was, but the way you explained it made it seem easier for me to change the habit.

    The idea suggested by Valerie is something I often use when I “need” to do something which I keep putting off. Just promising myself to do ti for 10 minutes (more or less) helps me to get started and, yes, once started, I often continue for longer than the allocated time.

    I’m definitely coming back to your site again!

    1. Hey Dave! Thanks for stopping by and sharing some of your thoughts. It is amazing how powerful the link can be when our behavior is repeated over and over, whether it’s behavior we like or not.

      I appreciate you taking time to leave a comment on your first visit!

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