6 November 2013
What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like It
Today was one of those days when I did not feel like doing anything at all. Of course, I have had too many such days to count in my lifetime and I bet you have too. The only this I could do was give it over to self discipline. I really had to push and shove through the motions of all that had to be done today. That is self discipline for you (along with a bit of guilt).
Although it worked, I did not feel satisfied after I completed all of tasks. I began to wonder: if self discipline is really the best remedy on the days when we just do not want to go through the motions of life?
Is pushing oneself really the best treatment when what we may need the most is a more gentle entrance into our routines? Self discipline seems to be at odds with gentleness to me.
What might be a better way? Because I am definitely not implying that we lounge around and watch the clouds go by until the right mood strikes!
How about HABIT? Strong habits that you carefully build into your system. Habits do not wait around to discuss the matter with you. They simply nudge you forth on auto-pilot if you build them right.
When my alarm goes off at 5:30am, I do not usually question what I feel like doing. I have built a habit of getting up, putting on my yoga clothes, running through a few yoga poses, brushing my teeth, washing my face going downstairs, making coffee, 15 minutes meditation, a half hour devotional and then serious exercise time.
Habits bring out the strong, smart, powerful side of you when you are too tired or bored to make the snap decisions that you need to get on with your day. If you build the habits that you want when you are clear, wide awake and fully alert, then they come to your rescue on those days when you are less than your perfect perky self.
Habits are powerful. Habits can take over and run the show when you just do not feel like it and habits can be gentle and yet firm with you. I enjoyed reading “The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. In this book,
Duhigg explains the habit loop consisting of three events:
1. Define the cue
2. Build the right routine in response to the cue
3. Get the reward.
You can build new habits or change old habits. If you do this loop enough times, it becomes second nature–as soon as the cue shows up, you will respond with the right routine. You do not even question if you do or do not feel like it.
In my case, my cue is my 5:30 alarm. My routine is what I described above and my reward? Well, that is the post-exercise happiness. It is beyond measure.
What is your habit loop? Can you think of creating a habit loop in one area of your life?