Mental Renegotiation

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-Matt Leedham

Yesterday, Jaime wrote her second post on mission commitment – the importance of relentlessly pursuing your goal. There have been times in my life when my mission commitment was high (e.g. marathon training last year during a tough winter), but admittedly there have been times when my mission commitment has not been as strong. What can happen when your mission commitment isn’t strong?

Mental Renegotiation

Have you ever set your alarm clock early? Perhaps you wanted to get up early to exercise, or study, or write. You had all sorts of good intentions when you set the alarm before going to bed. But what happens at 5:30am when the alarm goes off?


We’re all familiar with this. When the alarm goes off, we immediately engage in mental renegotiation. We start thinking about how warm it is under the covers, or how tired we feel and that more sleep must be good for us. We do all sorts of bartering and trading in our minds, and before you know it, you wake up at 7:30am and not only missed out on going to the gym, but might actually be late for work!

Check out this great post by Steve Pavlina on how to wake up early. If your mission commitment is high and you’re willing to practice, you can wake up early every morning without question. Also, there’s a whole website/blog dedicated to waking up early, if that’s your goal.

Waking up early is a great example of mental renegotiation, but it’s not the only time it occurs. Think of these examples and possible solutions:

You go out to a restaurant with your friends with every intention of eating something healthy, but once the waiter tells you the chef’s special, you cave.

  • Solution: a friend of mine told me last week that she always tries to look up a restaurant’s menu online prior to showing up. She already knows what she is going to order, so that she’s not sitting there in the restaurant being tempted by all the delicious descriptions on the menu and intoxicating aromas wafting throughout the dining room.

You commit to drinking less alcohol, but still want to be social. Before heading to a party, you tell yourself you are just going to sip on water. You walk into the party to find your friend celebrating a new promotion and someone puts a beer or glass of wine in your hand.

  • Solution: Come up with a quick sound bite that can be relayed to anyone offering you a drink. Usually, “I’m driving” works good enough these days as most people aren’t rude enough to push you on that. You could try, “I’m hitting the gym in the morning – thanks anyway.” If you’re really getting pushed, go with the old, “I’m on medication – the doc says no drinks.”

Working Out
You go to work with your gym bag, but come 6pm you’re hungry and it’s raining. You start thinking about cooking dinner, and about the dog not being fed, and all of a sudden you give in and drive home instead of the gym.

  • Solution: Eat a snack around 4:30pm to tide you over until dinner. At 5pm, post on Facebook that you are going to the gym. Commit to it publically before the urge hits you to bail out.

If mental renegotiation happens to you, read up on our posts about priming and mission commitment.

You can do it, we can help…err…that’s the Home Depot slogan, isn’t it? Well, it applies here too!

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