One Way to Do The Thing

If you’re feeling stuck, it’s hard work just thinking about how you’ll coax yourself into doing The Thing. But before you can actually do it, you need to get your mind into a state of being. This is so that you become who you need to be in order to do The Thing you want.

The scientific, neurological evidence is well and truly in. According to neuroscientist, L Feldman Barrett, and the theory of constructed emotion, it all starts in your head. Then it overflows through to your emotions and into your behaviour. You can imagine then, the feedback loop this sets in place, when you take into account the mind body connection.

Being stuck in a rut can become a habit. Habits work like a spell you’ve cast over yourself. Only you can break the spell. Habits are hard to break because the repetition reinforces thinking. Unless you crack it by changing your thinking.

So, if you’re feeling stuck, then you don’t need to bully yourself into action. All you need to do is change your mind. And do something else. Yes, don’t do The Thing you want to do. At least not yet. Do something else instead. Why? Because physical movement can shift your thinking. New or different movement produces new or different thoughts that can shift your behaviour.

Here’s how to do it

First, you’re going to set your mind on being who you need to be. Next, you’ll do something else. Then you can attempt to do the thing you want to do. Three steps.

Because we’re dealing with a loop here, we need to break into it by pointing your focus in a new direction.

First, set your mind on being who you need to be. Next, do something else. Then attempt to do the thing you want to do.
Jump off and into being who you need to be before you do The Thing
Image by Philippe HECKEL on

To start changing your mind, decide on who you need to be so you can do The Thing you eventually want to do. Who do you need to be? Choose one from the list below:

Things to Be (this is a long list)

  1. Be pro-active
  2. Be decisive
  3. Be more responsible
  4. Be less responsible
  5. Be aware of personal boundaries
  6. Be pleased with myself
  7. Be congruent
  8. Be organised
  9. Be lenient
  10. Be more practical
  11. Be light-hearted
  12. Be more aware
  13. Be questioning
  14. Be accepting
  15. Be resilient
  16. Be graceful
  17. Be determined
  18. Be conscious
  19. Be prepared
  20. Be assertive
  21. Be imaginative
  22. Be flexible
  23. Be joyful
  24. Be empowering
  25. Be discerning
  26. Be mindful
  27. Be truthful
  28. Be inclusive
  29. Be creative
  30. Be self sufficient
  31. Be quiet
  32. Be courageous
  33. Be humble
  34. Be aware of intentions
  35. Be grateful
  36. Be diplomatic
  37. Be open-minded
  38. Be understanding
  39. Be compassionate
  40. Be exclusive
  41. Be fun loving
  42. Be respectful
  43. Be objective
  44. Be motivating
  45. Be intimate
  46. Be sensual
  47. Be inspiring
  48. Be companionable
  49. Be independent
  50. Be not afraid
  51. Be ethical
  52. Be generous
  53. Be sharing
  54. Be receiving
  55. Be comforting
  56. Be humorous
  57. Be content
  58. Be guided
  59. Be forgiving
  60. Be alert
  61. Add your own here.

Now, go and do something else. Choose something else to do from the following list. But. Yes, there’s a but, although it’s not a biggie. If you hold onto any expectations about what might transpire after you’ve done something else then that energy will stop you from being who you need to be. While you’re doing something else, you need to concentrate on being who you need to be.

Something Else to Do (this is a very long list)

  1. Get a health and fitness check
  2. Seek dietary assessments and modifications
  3. Get a massage
  4. Learn relaxation techniques
  5. Use bio-feedback therapy such as kinesiology
  6. T’ai Chi
  7. Hatha yoga
  8. Exercise in nature or outside
  9. Aerobic activity such as walking or running
  10. Participate in competition sport
  11. Participate in group gym classes
  12. Try rock climbing
  13. Go caving
  14. Weight train for inner and outer strength
  15. Use boundary work and therapy
  16. Seek primary pleasures
  17. Learn martial arts
  18. Use humour
  19. Art, music, sound,dance or movement therapy
  20. Use aromatherapy
  21. Develop and improve communication skills
  22. Relationship counselling
  23. Grief counselling
  24. Try co-dependency therapy – 12 step programs
  25. Stress management
  26. Anger management
  27. Forgiveness
  28. Emotional release therapy
  29. Listen to, and follow
  30. Time management
  31. Stress management
  32. Learn how to manage instead of control
  33. Define priorities
  34. Co-operate or co-create
  35. Set goals
  36. Problem solving strategies
  37. Develop and improve communication skills
  38. Clear up debt with a financial budget
  39. Write a business plan
  40. Organise money, write a financial plan
  41. Examine belief systems and attitudes
  42. Reframe, rewrite beliefs and attitudes, perspective
  43. Dream work, dream recall, recording and dream analysis
  44. Hypnosis
  45. Move out of comfort zone with small steps
  46. Use guided visualisations
  47. Use affirmations
  48. Visual stimulation
  49. Use art therapy
  50. Apply colour therapy
  51. Study psychologically based works
  52. Explore astrology or numerology
  53. Explore personality typing and profiling
  54. Study the philosophies of Plato, Socrates and others
  55. Personal, intuitive or spiritual development
  56. Clarify, assess and review personal values
  57. Find a coach or mentor
  58. Apply win-win attitude
  59. Journaling
  60. Creative dance
  61. Meditate regularly
  62. Participate in social support groups
  63. Participate in environmental or humanitarian service projects
  64. Participate in community projects
  65. Rise to the challenge
  66. Lead the way forward
  67. Dare to be different
  68. Commune with nature
  69. Complete unfinished business
  70. Develop witness state
  71. Gain experience
  72. Master talent or skill
  73. Gain a certification, qualification or degree
  74. Read or study spiritually inspiring works
  75. Make a choice
  76. Pay no attention
  77. Keep my word
  78. Find my truth
  79. Express my truth
  80. Follow my dream
  81. Trust my instincts
  82. Speak up
  83. Say nothing – keep it to myself
  84. Give permission
  85. Negotiate a better deal
  86. Compromise
  87. Have more faith in myself
  88. Strive for interdependence
  89. Develop inner resources
  90. Co-operate
  91. Co-create
  92. Stream of consciousness writing
  93. Write a letter
  94. Eat outdoors
  95. Belly dance
  96. Ballroom dance
  97. Read fairytales and fables
  98. Watch comedy movies
  99. Attend comedy shows
  100. Read limericks
  101. Tell stories
  102. Read poetry
  103. Write poetry
  104. Develop spiritual practice or discipline
  105. Ski
  106. Swim
  107. Surf
  108. Dive
  109. Paint
  110. Draw
  111. Sing or chant
  112. Learn to play music
  113. Listen to music
  114. Smudge your environment
  115. Night walks
  116. Celebrate equinox/solstice
  117. Purify
  118. Create collages
  119. Light candles
  120. Make a bonfire
  121. Shoot arrows
  122. Throw boomerangs
  123. Fly a kite
  124. Go fishing
  125. Carve or chop
  126. Whittle wood
  127. Change your hair style
  128. Change your dress style
  129. Feast
  130. Cook or bake
  131. Tie knots
  132. Unravel
  133. Mend
  134. Find a symbol of new status
  135. Weave
  136. Knit
  137. Unveil
  138. Exchange gifts
  139. Re-cross threshold
  140. Join together
  141. Wear symbolic clothing
  142. Solitude
  143. Vigils
  144. Make a mask
  145. Make vows
  146. Wear an exotic mask
  147. Period of silence
  148. Immerse in water
  149. Fast
  150. Celibacy
  151. Stay in a sacred space
  152. Smash
  153. Collect
  154. Sort
  155. Burn
  156. Cut or prune
  157. Weed the garden
  158. Plant trees, herbs, flowers
  159. Tear
  160. Bury
  161. Wash
  162. Veil
  163. Clean out stuff
  164. Clean up
  165. Cross a threshold
  166. Make a symbolic sacrifice
  167. Strip away
  168. Build
  169. Rebuild
  170. Give or donate
  171. Recycle
  172. Add your other ideas here.

Okay, what happens next?

You’ve chosen who you need to be. And you’ve done something else. Now you can have a go at doing The Thing. If you still can’t do The Thing, then repeat steps 1 and 2. Yes, there is a downside because that’s how life goes. And that’s how you train your brain.

The upside is that you get to do The Thing when you become who you’re meant to be. So, yes, it’s possible that you’ll repeat steps 1 and 2 more than once before you get to do The Thing. And on each repeat, you’ll need to embody a different state of being and choose a different thing to do from the list of something else to do.

You might be inclined to think that all of this is an attempt to justify procrastination or a cover for self doubt. While just doing it can work well for kinaesthetics and extroverts, just being and doing something else, then doing The Thing is another option for deep thinkers and introverts.

Embody who you want to be, do something else, then do the thing you want to do.


Feldman Barrett, L 2018, How emotions are made: the secret life of the brain, Pan Books, London.

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