People use baby gates for a number of reasons.

Parents typically set them up to keep their tiny tots from wandering into a room that’s “off limits” or to prevent them from plunging headlong down a staircase.

People also use them for their pets to limit access to specific areas within the house... Come to think of it, a baby gate would have come in handy and prevented the moment of infamy I talked about in my email a couple weeks ago when one of my dogs pizzled in my wife’s shoe… but I digress.

Anyway, a few minutes ago I got back from a run, let my dogs outside, and then reset a baby gate we have in place downstairs.

And then this question came to mind:

Why don’t we apply the baby gate concept to our mental training?

I can’t be the only one who runs into trouble whenever I wander into certain mental “rooms” that I know I should probably steer clear of. It really annoys me when I do it, too, because once I come to my senses and realize where I am and that I need to get out, I’m like, Why the heck did I let myself wander in here in the first place? I know better than this!

Cue guilt and regret and shame.

Have you been there?

Would you like to stop backing yourself into corners psychologically, and eliminate habits that keep tripping you up?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you spent more time in rooms with plenty of light, joy, and space to move freely?

Well, I have just the solution for you: Māby Gates!

And if you purchase within the next 15 minutes, you can get TWO Māby Gates (mental baby gates) for the price of one! That’s two Māby Gates for the low, low price of $0 (just pay separate processing and handling).

And using my patented mental delivery system, you can take possession of your Māby Gates instantly! All you have to do to acquire these magical devices is picture them in your mind, and then either wink, nod, or smile to accept delivery.

Do that now.

If you did it... Congrats on the purchase of your new Māby Gates! Here’s how to use them…

First, think about the mental rooms you enter that never seem to work out well for you. These could be as general as rooms occupied by worry, depression, gossip, or anger, or as specific as complaining – or making demeaning remarks – about your spouse when talking to your friends.

Really, we’re talking about anything you know is a bad habit. Bad habits, after all, are a product of the series of thoughts you followed that lead you into taking wrong action.

Next, pick one “mental room” you want to stop entering and imagine yourself stretching a big, beautiful, Māby Gate across the entrance to that room. Now secure it by locking it in place.

Installation is now complete.

The great thing about Māby Gates is that you can open them or step over them to get to wherever you choose to go. If you want to enter a certain room despite the Māby Gate in front of you, you are still free to do so.

But often times, the mere act of putting up a Māby Gate that’s decorated with warning signs and clear reminders of what you’re choosing to forfeit if you enter – as well as what alternative rooms you could choose instead – will help you cross that threshold less often.

This all boils down to using a simple, admittedly silly, mental image as a powerful reminder. If you use your Māby Gates consistently, you’ll cultivate a greater awareness – and be more conscious – of where you allow your mind to go.

Instead of just reflexively barging into the “Anger Room,” you'll see a Māby Gate on your approach, and it will remind you that you have a choice.

Taking a deep breath and thinking for five seconds before you enter a room with a Māby Gate can be the difference between having a miserable argument (and rest of your night) with your spouse, and having a good laugh, conversation (and maybe some other stuff) instead.

But it requires you to not just go careening carelessly through the Māby Gate without exercising awareness and thoughtfulness on the front end.

See how these Māby Gates work?

Simple.

Now that you know how to use your Māby Gates, start putting them to good use, and if you like them, let me know about some of the victories you experience as a result!

- Brian Bergford