I recently came up with a new tool for my clients (and for myself) that is super helpful in keeping our mental and emotional state as good as it can possibly be. So I thought I’d go ahead and share it with you all today.

I refer to it as a rule, but I want you to be flexible with it and allow it to work for you in a way that’s uniquely your own.

That being said, let’s talk physics for a moment…

Physics is confusing...

Don’t leave! It’ll be brief, I promise. And I’ll even use horses in the analogy to make it more relatable.

Horses galloping

That’s better!

Okay, so let’s say you are riding a horse on a trail and you come upon a pretty steep downhill pass. You figure, “What the heck, we’re already going this way, so let’s just keep on in the same direction.”

Your horse thinks that’s a grand idea and heads gleefully down the hill. Soon you notice that she’s starting to pick up speed as the hill becomes steeper and eventually you’ve lost all hope of maintaining balance and control. Essentially, you’re careening down the hill with no hope of slowing down. Oh, and you also realize at some point on the out of control slope that you’re going the wrong direction… and you’re going to get there really soon.

Or… you’re heading toward the hill and you realize that you’re going the wrong direction before your horse starts picking up that speed, so you’re able to rebalance her onto her hocks and turn around before you’ve lost any hope of going back in the direction that you want to go.

What’s my point here?

Well, your thoughts seem to follow the same rules of physics. If you allow your thoughts to go careening downhill (and in this case, downhill equals thinking and feeling worse and worse), you are going to build up a whole lot of momentum in creating things in your life that are really not going to feel good.

But… if you stop yourself before you get to 17 seconds of complaining, bitching, griping, worrying, agonizing, etc. then you will effectively prevent that negative momentum from building up.

That’s what The 16-Second Rule is… if you really need to get something off your chest that’s been bothering you, give yourself 16 seconds to do it. And no longer than that.

So talk really, really fast for 16 seconds and then stop that train of thought and shift to one that’s more productive (translation: one that feels better to think about).

Fair enough?

So, put that rule into practice and see what you notice. Then let me know how it goes by commenting below.