Is your “but” getting in the way of results? Are there a lot of things you should or could be doing, but there’s always some excuse? In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated,David Burns writes that “but” may be our greatest obstacle to effective action.
Example of “But” Limiting Action
“I could go out and jog today, BUT” …
- I’m too tired
- I’m just too lazy.
- I’m not particularly in the mood, etc.
The good news is that Burns has a prescriptive method to counter your but arguments and take action. He calls it the But-Rebuttal Method.
Summary of Steps
- Step 1. Create the But-Rebuttal table.
- Step 2. Write down your but statement.
- Step 3. Write down your but rebuttal.
- Step 4. Continue this process until you’ve run out of excuses.
Step 1. Create the But-Rebuttal table.
To create your But-Rebuttal table:
- Draw a line down a sheet of paper to create two columns.
- Label the columns: "But Colmun", "But Rebuttal"
Step 2. Write down your but statement.
Write down your but statement for a task you need to do, but are find yourself coming up with objections.
Step 2. Write down your but rebuttal.
Write down a but rebuttal. For example, “I’ll feel more like it once I get started. “ or “When I’m done, I’ll feel terrific.”
Step 3. Continue this process until you’ve run out of excuses.
After your but rebuttal, you will likely think of another objection. Write that objection down, then fight back with a new rebuttal.
Example But-Rebuttal Method
Burns includes an example of using the But-Rebuttal Method:
|But Column||But Rebuttal|
|I really should mow the lawn, but I'm just not in the mood.||I'll feel more like it once I get started. When I'm done, I'll feel terrific.|
|But now it's so long, it would take forever.||It won't take that much extra time with the power mower. I can always do a part of it now.|
|But I'm too tired.||So just do some of it and rest.|
|I'd rather rest now or watch TV.||I can, but I won't feel very good about it knowing this chore is hanging over my head.|
|But I'm just too lazy to do it today.||That can't be true -- I've done it on numerous occasions in the past.|
In this scenario, it's Saturday, and you've scheduled mowing the lawn. You've procrastinated for three weeks, and it looks like a jungle. You tell yourself, "I really should, BUT I'm just on in the mood." Record this in the But column. Next you fight back by writing a rebuttal. You continue to write each next but statement and rebuttal until you run out of but statements.
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