You’re in a rut.
We’ve all been there. Or maybe some of us haven’t (you’d swear Tom Brady hasn’t been there). And you don’t feel like working today. Whether it’s sales, exercise or Judo practice, sometimes, we’re simply not in the mood to do what we need to do.
What can you do? You could listen to a couple of hours of motivation speaking on iTunes, or watch an inspiring TED talk hoping that will give you a spark. but you know what the easiest and simplest thing to do is?
No that’s not a typo. Taking action is the fastest and in my opinion, one of the best ways to regain your motivational momentum.
Don’t want to exercise? Just do 10 pushups and promise yourself you will quit after. That will fool your lazy brain. Once you pump out 10, you will probably start some stretches, then crunches then another 10 pushups and you’re off!
Don’t want to look for customers because the last 20 people told you to take a hike? Resolve to have 1 good conversation with somebody. Have a goal to simply engage, and not try to market/sell/close (mind trick). First off, it’s the right thing to do (I don’t do sales, I do business development - it’s a big difference and involves more service to people and more wedding out) and secondly, a good conversation without an underlying motive will help you remember that ‘yes you can talk to people constructively and not everyone will tell you to p*** off!’
Want to skip Judo practice? Your coach is probably going to do the same drills as last night - and you’re bored. Ok fine tell yourself (fooling the brain again) that you will go, and plan to tell coach you will only stay . for half an hour due to a meeting. Guarantee once you’re on the mat, you won’t leave.
Taking action despite your feelings is the fastest way to change your feelings. If we all only did things when we felt like it, we’d only accomplish a fraction of what we could (believe me I know). You can certainly set yourself up for success by pre-planning your situation and putting yourself in position to win as I wrote about previously. Nonetheless, the mental technique of taking action despite feelings was something I learned when I read an excellent book by Penn’s Martin Seligman called Learned Optimism.
Equally important to taking action is the self talk you engage in when you are facing challenges. If you often enough get into ruts and find yourself being your own worst critic, commit to reading this book AND taking the action steps outlined within. It will make a difference in how you talk to yourself.
On a slightly related note…
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