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Breakdown a mental roadblock. Try this one thing - a trigger. It works.

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

RUN. It’s funny how one little word made me go numb all over.

Although a couple years ago, I can still remember that dreaded feeling.

"It’s just a 5K,” said Allison, my bonus-daughter, and the ringleader of the appalling idea to run a race. “It’ll be easy."


I was staring down 4,978 steps, being herded along a mass of people at an ungodly hour in the morning through the sweltering August heat to do the race.

Then my seven-year-old granddaughter, Lilly, piped up."Grandma, I'm running it. Join us!"

My heart melted. I took the dare.

What had I done?

For a gal that only walks, not RUNS, I had my work cut out from me.

Then I found this article, Couch to 5k in nine weeks.

Diligently I followed the steps, and ran the race side-by-side with Lilly and Allison.

Lately, I've been giving myself permission to 'play' in the art studio.

It's been tougher than I thought to not expect immediate masterpieces as I try something new.

So I tacked the photo of Lilly prominately in the studio to remind myself that it took me 9 weeks to go from a shuffle walk to actually running a 5k.

... and persevered.

Yet, still, I wasn't liking the results in the studio.

Then I read Laura Belgray’s email titled:

I’m a lazy person who rejects 99% of self-help tips, but this one worked.

The subject line caught my eye!

Here’s a synopsis.

“You create a trigger,” she said. “Some event or habit that happens without fail, that can mark the start of the action you want to take.”

This trigger idea was new to me.

What did I have to lose?

I wanted my trigger to be something distinct, yet easily accessible to jump start my attitude in the studio.

Mint tea at Christmas has always been a comforting drink. Why not use the spicy aroma to ‘trigger’ my productivity?

Before my next studio day I set my 'trigger' ground rules:

Just 'play.’

  • It doesn’t have to be good, or even pretty

  • I don’t have to have a vision or plan

  • It doesn’t have to look like 'my' style

  • I don’t have to know where or how it fits into a collection or theme

I just have to 'paint.'

I dragged a thermos of tea to the studio, cracked open the lid, letting the steam kiss my check and the peppery scent float up my nose, triggering my “desired action.”

I’m working to make this trigger a habit, like showering, or brushing my teeth.

A habit that sends the desired 'action' message to my brain when I first get a whiff of my mint green tea.

It seems a bit like Paslow classical dog conditioning , but my trigger is working!

Watercolor canvas blue birch trees contemporary by Kate Moynihan artist
'Shades of Crayola Blues' 16 x16" $387

How about you?

Are you feeling stuck?


Maybe a trigger will work for you?

Intiqued for more?


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