Not In The Mood? Do It Anyways.

This article is part of the fascinating series, Mindshift.

Your life right now…

Are you where you want to be?

I’m not.

I’m obviously mad about this, so I want to know why. Don’t you? What the heck have we been doing wrong?

Katniss shooting arrow

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in The Hunger Games.

I think I’ve found the culprit – that guy just took off with my wallet. Wait, I can’t blame him. He just got here. *Katniss shoots him with arrow* Thanks Katniss.

If you haven’t yet, read The Hunger Games and watch the movie. They are both incredible (especially the book).

 

Where was I? Oh yes, the culprit that sabotages us…

Feelings. Feelings are to blame.

In the past, most activities I chose to do did not add value to my life. It wasn’t an overall lack of passion. I’m generally very passionate. It was that in so many specific instances, I felt like doing something trivial instead of something meaningful.

I feel like relaxing today. I’ll work towards my dreams later.

Think about feelings for a moment. Not just emotional feelings, but the broader meaning as in… “I feel like climbing a mountain” or “I feel like watching another TV show.”  What creates these desires?

  • Our emotions – Bad moods usually end in ice cream.
  • Physical and mental energy levels – Too much energy? You’ll feel like climbing the mountain. Tired? See you on the couch.
  • Values – If you value nature and exercise and dislike modern TV, I bet you’ll go for a hike.
  • Prior experiences – I kissed a girl and I liked it. I didn’t enjoy touching the hot oven rack.
  • Immediate environment – If you’re already on a mountain, I mean, come on….

But what do you do when it’s too late to change those things? What happens when you’re feeling lousy, tired, and lazy?

Ignore Your Feelings

With “practice,” the mind becomes very adept at thwarting meaningful activities in favor of instant gratification. Some people today are at the complete mercy of fickle whims and emotions. They’ve embraced an incorrect way of thinking.

It’s not good.

“Since I don’t feel like doing it now, it’s best to do it later.”

It’s easy to obey present feelings. But should we? Does it benefit us more to follow their lead or rebel?

Let me answer this one. Rebel like an over-sheltered teenager.

 

The Chemistry Of Feelings

Good Mood & More Energy List

  • Aerobic Exercise – endorphins release into the brain. It feels really good. 🙂
  • Optimal Sleep – important for balanced hormone levels
  • Sweet Potatoes – blood sugar stabilizer

Bad Mood and Fatigue List

  • Sedentary Lifestyle – health problems and lack of energy…bleh
  • Over/Undersleeping – disturbs hormonal balance
  • Refined Sugars – blood sugar turns into a circus or something

 

…Do you see the problem with appeasing your feelings?

Feelings are more likely to be a contrarian indicator. If you feel like relaxing or sleeping, you’re probably better off running! If you crave sweets, they’ll satisfy you now, only to drop you like Muhammad Ali later. If you’ve had a poor lifestyle in the past and go by what you feel like doing in the present, you’re going to get stuck!

“Feeling slaves” get caught up in negative feedback loops easily.

Loop: They are tired, so they do the things that made them tired. Now they’re tired again, so they…

Bad moods, feeling tired, and the like are warning signs. They mean a change in behavior is warranted.

Mindshift – I Will Do It Anyways

With a mindshift, you can put a stop to this.

The mind is the control center of the body. Regardless of how you’d feel about it (very embarrassed), if your brain commanded your body to start running naked down the street, you would do it.

You can be in complete control even if you don’t feel great about what you’re doing at the time.

Don’t put so much weight behind chemical processes that you can only partially affect. Feelings are often wrong. You can’t blame your unfinished dreams on refined sugar now, can you?

Do you remember ever feeling uninspired, starting anyways, and then feeling inspired? This is how it usually works. Don’t wait for the feeling to take action.

Your feelings are a reflection of your current status, not a compass for your next action. Do the daily activities that you know will give you the life you’ve always wanted.

Body Troubleshooting FAQ

Body will ask: Brain, I don’t feel like doing _____. What should I do?

Brain will answer: You know Nike’s slogan, right? Just. Do. It.

You will create a happier tomorrow by doing the right things today. But not so fast – you’ll also be happier today knowing that you’re engaging the world to your best ability.

One more thing – fear is often a major factor in not feeling up to certain tasks. Fears are often overblown though – I talk about this in my ebook (get it for free here). But the short version is that you can pick fears apart logically to disarm them or even ignore them and proceed.

Don’t allow your feelings to control you – they are not your life guide. Feelings are as deceptive as your least favorite political party and less reliable than your cable company. They make life interesting, sure, but they’ll hurt you if you can’t overrule them.

Start now. Sculpt your life. Then see how you feel about it.

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Robert

Just. Awesome. Man.

Because the brain tends to choose the easiest path by default, it is easy to fall into the trap of doing the ‘easy’ stuff all the time. However, as they say, the easiest path is rarely the best one. As you mentioned with the loop, this is what happens, people end up doing the bad stuff again and again, until they are stuck in a rut. I’m a firm believer that a person’s life is determined by their habits, and if they get into the habit of not doing work, eating badly and not exercising, it can quickly become a vicious cycle.

I have a keen interest in training and nutrition and I know that good training and nutrition is often a good sign of a motivated and healthy person – traits which stem deeper than someone’s health, they are often mentally fit too. As someone who goes to the gym regularly, I also find it’s easy to get out of it when you stop going. It always takes the most energy to start, the rest isn’t that bad. I’ve found that with my writing business too.

Stephen Guise

Robert, you’re absolutely right about habits. Habits build us and break us. I’ve been working to make better habits and have seen some good results. Consistency is important, but difficult.

Nutrition fascinates me and I love exercise. When I go for runs, I have so many ideas during and after. It’s really interesting to clearly see the mental benefit from exercising.

Starting is the most difficult part, because to start, you are taking a risk. It seems less risky to do something meaningless because there is nothing at stake. But in the long run, that lifestyle will lead to misery.

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