I’ve been sort of stuck in a rut or as I like to say, I’ve been in my feelings for the last couple of weeks and I was going to write a very sad post about how nothing is going right and everything sucks but in the spirit of trying to keep positive and actively doing things to get out the rut I decided to talk about the importance of developing and keeping good habits instead.
I was recently reminded of how most of what we think is guided by our feelings and feelings are not facts, meaning, the things you think to yourself, about yourself, about others, about the situations you’re in etc., are most likely just emotional responses and aren’t always necessarily facts. It’s important to note this because what separates the people who we admire, the people who are doing the things we aspire to do from us is that they do what needs to be done despite how they might be feeling.
Not everyone is born with this super strong will power. All of what we do stems from habits we developed over the years. If whenever you do something and it gets too hard you quit and never try it again this can develop into a habit you’ll definitely take into other areas of your life as we do with most habits. If whenever you tried a new sport and you weren’t good at it right away and you quit, you might tend to quit every new business idea you have as soon as you find out you’re not immediately a pro at it.
No matter how good or naturally gifted you are at something, if you don’t build good habits around that skill, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful at it.
What separates you from your idols
Most likely, you let how you’re feeling dictate your work. You might be the type of person who needs to be “inspired” do make music or to draw or to write, while the person you look up to most likely makes it a habit to write or play music or draw consistently, no matter how they feel. I read somewhere that creativity is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the better you get at it. The same with willpower and focus and consistency. If you “force” yourself to work at the same time everyday or 3 times a week or however you set up your schedule, no matter how you feel, you’ll find that “suddenly” you’ll feel more and more creative at those specific times you set out to do your work.
At first, your mind is going to fight this notion that you can be creative whenever you want and it’s going to tell you that “you’re only creative at midnight” or “you can’t force creativity” and those thoughts and feelings are to be expected. Whenever you try to create new habits, fear of the new and our human tendency to fall back to what is comfortable for us will have us thinking all of these crazy things. That’s why it’s good to remember that feelings are not facts.
You will always have days when you don’t feel like it
No matter how good you get at sticking to a certain habit, no matter how much of a pro you think you are in your field, you’ll always have days when you just don’t feel like doing whatever it is you set out to do. You’ll be tired, you’ll tell yourself you “deserve” a break, your mind will try to pull you back into the comfort of passivity but you have to do it anyway.
“DO IT. That’s always my answer. Everyone’s surfing around for the ‘right words of encouragement’ or a ‘sign’ that they should begin. GET UP, GET OUT THERE AND GET BUSY!”
– Myleik Teele
As soon as you give into these thoughts it’s usually a snowball effect and your back to square one: wanting to do things and never actually doing them. That being said…
Don’t be too hard on yourself
We are all human and sometimes, no matter how hard we try we still fail at things, we still skip a day, we still feel like not doing anything and sometimes it will get the best of us. Accept it, don’t beat yourself up about it and most importantly, don’t let it happen two days in a row. If you feel yourself not being strong enough to fight the feelings one day and you give in to old habits just take that day, sulk in those feelings and get back up the next day and get back to work. It’s OK if you can’t fight it once, just don’t let your “giving up” muscle get stronger than your “willpower” muscle. Don’t give yourself too much time exercising “giving up” when you could be “working out” your willpower.
Consistency is what keeps you in people’s mind
You might have figured out already that if you sort of “force” yourself to put out work when you don’t feel like it, you might not always put out your best work and that might not be sitting well with your right now. OK, here’s my take on it. In most fields, relevance is a common factor. You have to keep yourself relevant to your audience whether it be prospective clients, fans, readers, etc. If you put out work sporadically it might still work out for you but as we’ve seen, say, with the music industry, if you’re not in the media constantly, people forget about you. Now, don’t take this music industry analogy and say “well, I’m not doing music so it has nothing to do with me”. If you’re a computer analyst and you put out great work 3 years ago and you haven’t done any relevant work between then and now (because you didn’t feel “inspired” to) that you can refer your clients to it’s not likely that you’ll be their first hiring choice. Now, I’m not saying to put out work just to stay relevant, I’m saying, develop a schedule that works for you and put out work consistently, in a time-frame that’s reasonable for you. That way people will remember you in your field as time goes by. Plus, everything is changing with the advancement of technology and even just by the fact that there are other people in your field constantly working and putting stuff out there so you should also strive to advance and showcase your work as time goes by.
You’ll always feel good after you’ve finished a tough task
Nobody ever regrets working out. It might have taken you an hour of self-convincing just to start and you might have felt pissed and tired during the workout but the sense of accomplishment after you’re done is always a wonderful feeling. Same goes with the tough things we tend to procrastinate on doing or put off until the very last minute. If you’re anything like me you stress and worry for no reason. Until I am done with a tough task I very actively worry and stress about said task. Pointless, I know, that’s why the best solution (and something I’m still working at betting better at) is getting things done and over with as soon as possible, or as author Brian Tracy says “Eat That Frog”.
It’s not just you
As alone as you might feel sometimes, it’s good to remember you’re not the only one who feels this way. I know first hand how making and keeping new habits is tough and I’ve fallen off the wagon more times than I can count. If you’ve been around since I started this blog you’ve seen it first hand how many times I’ve said I was going to be consistent with posting and I believe there’s a 1 year gap between a couple of my posts and all of this was mostly because I didn’t feel like it or I thought other people thought this blog was a stupid idea and nobody liked my posts and so on and so forth, again, letting my feelings take over, forgetting that feelings are not facts. This is all to say that you’re definitely not alone, getting into a stump is normal, what you have to do is to not let that stump stay longer than it has to.
(PS: If yo’re ever in a rut and need to talk about it, feel free to email me through the contact form on the navigation bar on the left and I’d be happy to help you work through whatever’s happening and help you get back on track with creating and keeping good habits).
And that’s it for today! Hope you enjoyed it and feel free to leave me any comments, questions, concerns and suggestions down in the comments below! Have any of you read Brian Tracy’s “Eat That Frog”? What were your thoughts about it? Let me know!