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How to Take Action When You Don't Feel Like It

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Andrew W

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We all have those days where we wake up and we'd just rather... not.
You are tired, it feels like you're making no progress on your goals.
But you typically find some way to get in the right mindset.

This technique is for the days you can't.
This is when you can't be bothered to do anything else.
Or don't want to, etc.

Here it is in four easy to follow steps:

1. Take five deep breaths, as slow as you possibly can.
2. Decide on the goal you'd like to work toward.
3. Write out a list of 10-20 steps to get to your chosen goal, as if someone else will be executing on that list.
4.Realize that the list you just wrote for someone else also applies to you, and just follow that, duh.

Further breakdown:

Take five deep breaths
This is a technique found in The Willpower Instinct, which supposedly increases the amount of willpower you have to work with.
Not sure why it works, but it does.

Decide on your goal
The goal you are working toward needs to be clearly defined. You not only want to have a direction, but you want a goal.
A goal works best if you follow the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) paradigm.

Write out an action list
This is the game changer. You essentially write out actions that could be performed to achieve the desired goal.
But often-times when we need to plan out what to do, it takes too much willpower and we end up getting frustrated.
So my proposal is for you to distance yourself from your problems / goals.
Imagine it is someone else asking you how to fix the problem, or someone else working toward a goal.
What steps would you tell them to take?

In a nutshell: Distance yourself from the problem, solve the problem, execute the solution.


Thanks for reading to the end, let me know if this technique has helped you in the replies.
~AW
 

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Andrew W

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the list I'd write for someone else is totally different from what I would or could do myself.

Often times true, but if you are having trouble coming up with anything it is always better to get something down on the page, and then determine which steps are realistic or not for you.
 

Champion

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What works best for me is having a Set-In-Stone regular morning routine everyday which looks like this:

1. Drink a cup of water with 1 lemon squeezed inside it
2. Take a shower and turn it to as cold as possible for the last 30 seconds to 1 minute
3. Do some Kneck & Back exercises
4. Activate the lymphatic system with 10 pushups and 10 squats
5. Take 10 Deep Breaths and hold the breaths inside as long as you can
6. Meditate for 5 minutes using my Meditation APP (Headspace)
7. Read for 20 to 30 min
8. Eat breakfast and start my day

On days where I know that I need to wake up really early to start work for my job as an engineer, I would skip everything on that list except steps 1, 2 and 8.

The advantage of having the fixed daily morning routine, is that no matter what mood I wake up in, I know that I will ALWAYS feel exactly the same once im done with step 8: Extremely motivated to get shit done during the day.

My todolist would usually be ready from the evening before and then I go straight to tackling it. Hope this helps...

Best
Champion
 

S.Y.

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On my end, I identify one action that will take 2 min or less and get me started.

- if I have to do something on my computer the task will be : open your Mac and close all unnecessary opened apps

- if I am already on my computer, I will reset the space by closing every open apps. Then I will take a breath and open my calendar

- if it is coding: I will open Jupyter and import one library

- for workouts: just one burpee and one squat.

One simple task that will take less than 2 mins. Just 2 mins.

Aside from that, my days are ritualized and my time blocked. I am doing a kinda inbox zero but with my calendar. I just keep do what I set to do.
 

Andrew W

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Woah, didn't even expect a whole lot of discussion. Thanks!

Some more things to think about:

Write a GOAL, and a NEXT ACTION.
The goal might be: Write a blog article.
The next action might be: Open browser and search for topic.

So, to start the routine of writing an article you will,

[Open browser and search for topic], which will lead you to [Write a blog article]

Think of it like performing the first essential action that will lead you down a path of actions that will lead to your end goal.

But you only have to convince yourself to perform the first action.
 

Andy Black

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Exactly.

When I don’t want to go for a run in the dark and cold night I just have a goal to get changed. Then to open the front door. Then to step outside. Before I know it I’m heading down the street.

It’s like Gary Halbert’s advice when suffering from writers block to “darken the page”. Just start scribbling on the page and before you know it things start happening.

Or as James Schramko says: “You can’t steer a parked car.”
 

0dysseus

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The list really helps. I would be lost without lists. I consider it to be the most powerful and at the same time simplest productivity tool ever.

Once you break down a task into actionable steps, it's not that scary.

Reading "The War Of Art" also helped me with the mindset part.
 

Genius01

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Aside from that, my days are ritualized and my time blocked. I am doing a kinda inbox zero but with my calendar. I just keep do what I set to do.
Wish I could just be like you.
This is just what I need to become.
Inbox zero mode----->Calendar zero.
 

moneytree3006

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For me it's literally just leaving the house as soon as I wake up with my laptop. Going to sit in a cafe or my co-working space and getting 2-3 hours of work done in the morning. If I don't follow the same routine every morning and feel like I accomplish something meaningful each morning then I feel unmotivated in my day. I discovered this the hard way and had to go through trial and error to find the routine that worked for me. I agree with others that say a morning routine is vitally important. For me though location also plays a big part. I can't stay at home all day otherwise I go crazy from boredom and get nothing done.
 

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