Activation Energy & How to Overcome Barriers to Starting Something New in 2018

In chemistry, activation energy is the energy which must be available to a chemical system with potential reactants to result in a chemical reaction. Activation energy may also be defined as the minimum energy required to start a chemical reaction.

The term has also been used by psychologists to describe the motivation required to begin a task.   It could also be the energy needed to move from doing something on auto pilot to doing something new.

I know in my own life activation energy is an issue I grapple with.  Where do I get the energy to write a new post on this website?  I certainly didn’t feel like it today!  It’s much easier to surf the internet and waste time doing pleasurable mindless tasks.  Where or how do we get the energy to do something we don’t want to do/something we have been procrastinating on?

Experiments to try out

Below are three things to experiments with in your life to overcome the activation energy needed to start tasks.

1. The 10 minute rule:

The 10 minute rule is one of the 28 actionable experiments in my book ‘Experiments in Personal Change’ and I love it.  Simply tell yourself, “I’m going to do this for 10 minutes. Once I get to the 10-minute mark, I’ll decide whether to keep going.”  More than likely once you have done something for 10 minutes you will decide to keep going.  There is a saying in Irish ‘Tús maith, leath na hoibre’ which means A good start is half the work.  All you need to do is get started and already you are half way there!

2.  Count from  5 down to 1 (5 second rule)

Count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then move!  It’s that simple.  You don’t feel like getting off the couch? Right, do the countdown and then move your arm, your leg or any part of your body.  Once you move it’s easier to keep going.  If I don’t feel like getting out of bed I do the countdown and move – any movement at all makes me get out of bed…’s almost like the movement breaks a trance and you just continue.  Mel Robbins explains the 5 second rule in talk below.

3.  Make yourself accountable to someone else

Finally, make a date with someone else. It’s easy to back out of something, be it a walk or a run, a trip to the gym, or anything else, if you have no accountability.

Activation energy is really important to our success in 2018 so make sure you are ready to overcome obstacles when  you don’t feel like doing something (which will be most of the time!).  Remember ‘Tús maith, leath na hoibre’

Best Wishes,


PS. You also might have other ideas on overcoming activation energy needed to start tasks/start new things that have worked for you.  You are  invited to share your ideas below so that others can benefit from your experiences (thanks in advance).

New Year’s Resolutions 2018 & Bridging the Knowing-Doing Gap

My New Year’s resolution is to bridge the knowing doing gap in my life. For example I know all about hypnotherapy and I know all about hypnosis and self-hypnosis but I’m not consistently using these powerful tools in my own life. That means that I’m not taking advantage of these brilliant tools and that is a problem because I’m recommending the same powerful tools to everybody but I’m not gaining the benefits myself. I know what needs to be done but am not implementing it!  Another example that struck me recently was that I was advising someone to invest in cryptocurrencies and when that person didn’t respond positively and did not take me seriously. I was a little bit annoyed and in particular because the value of cryptocurrencies went way up and I was thinking that if that person had listened to me he could have made about $14,000! However, did I take my own brilliant advice? No I didn’t invest money that I had sitting in my savings account in cryptocurrencies and I didn’t benefit either.  Sounds stupid – yes it is! The knowing – doing gap strikes again.

Back in 2013 I actually opened an account to buy Bitcoin and had the account verified. However did I actually buy Bitcoin? No! If I had I would be a wealth man today. In 2013 Bitcoin was trading at $100 /Bitcoin. In the past few weeks they hit $20,000 per Bitcoin. An investment of $500 in 2013 would have been worth $100,000 recently. Again the gap between knowing and doing!

So the big question I would like to ask you today is what do you know that you should do in your life? Maybe your New Year’s resolution could be to actually do it and bridge the knowing doing gap.

Best wishes for 2018!



If you would like some brilliant ideas to make 2018 a fantastic year then please check out my book Experiments in Personal Change. It is packed full of useful actionable ideas on personal development. Also keep in touch with Life is a Laboratory for further updates on the Experiments in Personal Change course (I will give a special deal on the course to newsletter subscribers so please subscribe now to keep informed of the launch date).