Taking action even when you don’t feel like it

#12. These are often the most important times to take action

How many times have you not done something that you know you should because you “don’t feel like it right now”?

If you’re like me, then it’s too many times to count.

You set aside some time to work on a project or a new idea, but then your head is foggy, you feel too tired or you just can’t seem to focus.

You are going out to a party, but you’re just not feeling as confident as usual or you feel restless.

It can be frustrating, as on a conscious level you appreciate that the actions you avoid taking are often the most important ones to take.

Every time you delay something until you are feeling good enough to do it holds you back. And often the time that you ‘feel good enough’ never comes around.

In the past, when studying I would often save the harder stuff for when I felt like I am ‘zoning’ (ie. in Flow). “my mind isn’t clear enough to tackle that challenge right now”. Too often, I never got round to clarifying those important concepts.

When I started as a medical student, there were often times when I didn’t feel great and decided to take a morning/afternoon/day off from going to the hospital.

I saw the same patterns in other parts of my life.

Improvements

To tackle this problem, I have taken a two-tonged approach:

Firstly, I have lowered my threshold for how good I need to feel to do certain things. By becoming more confident and less concerned with perfection, it has become easier to start. I can still start work on a project if I only feel 70%, with the knowledge that it’s better to produce something that is 70% of my best than not produce anything at all. I can always improve it later if need be.

Secondly, I have increased how much time I spend feeling good. I have developed certain habits and routines that increase the probability of my mind being sharp, my mood being positive and my energy levels being high.

I will save details for another post but a few things I do most mornings include:

  • Going for a walk and listening to a non-fiction audiobook, which gets my body moving and my mind stimulated
  • A 30–60 second ice cold shower, which really wakes me up on and raises my heart rate and general activation level
  • 20–40 minutes of meditation, which heightens my focus, contentment and positive mood
  • A few cups of ‘titanium tea’ with my breakfast, which gives me four or more hours of sustained focus as well as satiety until lunchtime
  • 20–30 minutes of free-writing while I eat my breakfast (ideas from which I later create these blog posts)
  • Not connecting to the internet until I’ve achieved something significant with the day (usually 3–4 hours in)