What If? A Powerful Question to Ask Yourself
What if I started getting up an hour earlier to exercise?
What if I didn’t let my bladder leakage prevent me from living the active lifestyle I want?[/i]
[i]What if I decided to do something completely outside of my comfort zone, like go on a road trip? [/i]
[b]“What if” questions allow powerful ideas to take form. [/b]Here’s a quick example:
Let’s say you have been to your doctor about your bladder issues and they’ve recommended a treatment plan that they feel will reduce your leaks, including a popular medication. It seems to be helping, though it has some pesky side effects that really bother you. You’ve tried other medications and they haven’t worked. You start to feel disheartened. “Why do I have to deal with bladder leaks?” you ask yourself. “Why can’t I find anything that works for me?”
It’s easy to slip into despair when you believe there’s no solution in sight. But what if you challenged that belief?
Fortunately, there’s an easy technique that works in situations like this one. It’s so simple that it’s easy to dismiss.In this example, what would happen if you asked yourself “what if?” What if you decided not to simply live with those side effects? What if you called the doctor and asked about other treatment options? What if you did some research and found a doctor to give you a second opinion? Or discovered an innovative treatment option that works even better for you? In this case, “what if?” questions can inspire you to be persistent in finding the best possible treatment for your condition.
Here’s another one:
Imagine that you’re carrying 30 extra pounds. You’ve been on and off diets for what feels like forever. You go in for a physical and your doctor tells you your weight poses a serious risk to your health and you need to lose at least 20 pounds immediately. On your way out the door, he hands you a few papers printed with diet and exercise plans. Ugh. You might leave the office feeling hopeless. You’ve tried so many times to lose weight and it always comes back. You might find yourself thinking, “Why bother when I’m just going to fail anyway?”
What if – instead of feeling discouraged – you asked yourself some “what if” questions? What if – this time – you get the support you need and are finally able to get, and keep, the weight off? What if you research the options for weight loss, and try a few things until you find something different than what you’d tried in the past? What if you just keep keeping at it, instead of giving up the first time you encounter a big plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies? What if – this time – you find something that works?
“What if?” questions, in this scenario, can help you find the motivation you need to focus on weight loss and fitness.
The key is to use the “what if?” question to move your inner dialogue in a positive direction. This simple question can take you from flat-out “not going to happen” to “when can we start?” in just a few minutes.
The “what if?” exercise can be done with a friend or family member, on paper, or even in your head. When you find yourself feeling less-than-powerful, ask yourself this question, over and over, until you’ve exhausted the positive possibilities. The key is to be open to whatever comes to mind. Being willing to consider all ideas, even the outlandish ones, so you can move toward actions that will improve your situation.
You can also use this trick to expand your activities. If you find yourself limiting your travels beyond your front door because of your concerns about leaks, try a few “what if?” questions.
What if you decide to go on the vacation you’ve always dreamed of and your nightmare about getting through security at the airport doesn’t happen? What if you go to your twenty-year reunion and get to rekindle your relationship with your best friend from high school? What if you’ve been limiting your happiness by not leaving the house?
In this case, “what if?” can inspire you to find solutions to your leaks so you can get out and live your life.
Many famous inventors had to ask the “what if?” question over and over and over, in order to bring their brilliant ideas to life. Imagine if Thomas Edison hadn’t tried 1,000 times to invent the light bulb, asking “what if we tried this instead?” on this 999th try?
[i][b]What about you? What “what if?” questions could you ask yourself to move your mood (and actions) in a positive direction? [/b][/i]