Just like you I have a lot of stuff I want to get done. Things I want to achieve, skills I want to learn, and goals I want to do.
But you know, the allure of Facebook, neat apps, Netflix, and funny dog meme’s sometimes gets the best of me. They steal my attention and my time.
Then I feel bad because I got distracted and now I’m even more frustrated because I’m not sure how and why I let myself get distracted in the first place. I mean, damn! Don’t I have enough willpower to resist Facebook for the 63rd time today or another funny dog meme?
Fuck! I guess not.
But it’s not just Facebook, cool apps, Netflix, and dog meme’s that can be distracting. We can be distracted by a lot of things. Relationship problems can be distracting, financial woes, health issues, that frickin comment your friend made about your shirt the other day. I mean, what the heck did she mean by that anyway?
G-Damnit! If I just had more motivation and willpower!
Editor note: Not to get all religious on you but I find it funny that I just used the words shit and fuck but abbreviated god damnit
But I’ve realized something. The funny thing about motivation is that most of us never get motivated until the pain of not doing something is greater than the pain of actually doing that something.
To solve this problem conventional wisdom has us believe that working harder, longer, and faster is the answer to everything. But often that just wears us out and makes us frustrated.
We’re trying to do so much. Trying to tackle so many things at one time that we’re feeling more stressed, more anxious, and more frustrated with ourselves and the way our lives are playing out.
I don’t want you to do more. I want you to do less and today’s email is about finding the one damn thing that will get you moving in the right direction towards achieving a desired outcome.
DOING THE ONE DAMN THING
There are tons of strategies that you can use to help you do the one damn thing. Take weight loss for example. If you want to start eating better and training more consistently you can create an environment that influences this. Doing a kitchen makeover and work place makeover are great examples.
You can also shrink the change that you’re trying to make into such a small task that it becomes nearly impossible for you not to do it. Instead of running a 5k after being on the couch for the last 6 months you could walk for 5 minutes. Instead of trying to get to the gym 5 days this week for 60 minutes you could try a 10-minute AMRAP at home.
Sometimes these strategies work and sometimes they don’t. When they don’t work it’s usually because doing whatever it is that we want to do kinda sorta maybe sucks sometimes.
- Swinging a kettlebell 50 times sorta sucks. Watching New Girl doesn’t.
- Saving money for a trip to Paris next year isn’t much fun. But buying this really cute outfit right now is.
- Spending 20 minutes struggling to learn a new language is frustrating as fuck. Looking at pictures on the IG… not so much.
But sometimes it’s not the suckiness that keeps us from doing the one damn thing. Sometimes we’re just plain scared. Scared of success, scared of failure, scared of having to keep it up – scared of looking like a fool with our pants on the ground.
If you’ve been reading the site for a while you’ll know that I use to have a terrible fear of approaching beautiful women. To be honest, I still do but not to the deer in headlights level it use to be. #workinprogress
Me (in my head): Whoa, that’s a pretty looking lady over there. I should go talk to her.
Me (in my head): But my buddies are here with me. What if I go over there and I crash and burn. They’ll make fun of me for the rest of the day.
Me (in my head) as I take two steps toward her: Forget them. I can do this. Who cares if they tease me for the day. I’ve been through worse.
Me (in my head) as I turn around and take two steps back: But what if she actually is interested. Then I have to come up with a date idea. What will we talk about? What if we don’t have anything in common and it’s an awkward event? What if it’s not awkward and it goes well and then I have to think of a second date?
Me (in my head) as I turn around again and take two steps toward her: I’m creative. I can come up with something fun for us to do together and if we have nothing in common it’s cool. It will just be a couple of hours and then we can go our separate ways – never to see each other again.
Me (in my head) as I turn around again and take two steps away from her: A girl like that probably already has a boyfriend and she’s waaaaaay too cute for me. Plus, look at the way she’s dressed. She looks so stylish and I’m the complete opposite. This is a terrible idea.
Me (in my head) as I turn around yet again and take two steps toward her: I’m being ridiculous. I’ve got some fresh gear in my closet to wear and…. Hey, where’d she go? Well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
And sometimes it’s a third thing that keeps us from doing something we say we really want to do. That third thing is the ego.
The ego can be a real son of a bitch.
I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine. I’ve never broken up with a girlfriend. Nope, never done it. They’ve all broken up with me.
I can’t break up with people. I’m a “nice guy” and nice guys wouldn’t hurt someone in that way.
In fact, if you asked my closest friends and family to describe me they’d probably say 2 things:
- The nicest guy you’ll ever meet
- A ridiculously hard worker
Other people and myself have defined me as a “nice-guy.” So I do my best to live up to that expectation.
I’ve received countless emails from people defining themselves as lazy, unmotivated, someone who hates working out, a person that loves food too much to eat healthier.
When you or other people label you in ways for so long you subconsciously strive to live up to those definitions. It’s a way to confirm to that identity and protect your ego. If everyone sees you as those things or you see yourself as those things and all of a sudden you display traits that do not represent those definitions – who are you?
On my 10-day silent retreat I learned a buddhist principle of not attaching to a particular definition of myself but instead to let the ego go. Instead of categorizing myself in very specific ways I use broad terms like son, coach, and writer.
This helps to keep me from living up to ridiculous standards and protecting my ego. What are some ways you or other people have defined you? How can you change and broaden those definitions?
PUSHING PAST THE SUCKINESS, FEAR, AND EGO
There’s really only one thing that you can do.
What do you want to do? Lose weight, get stronger, travel more, get a new job, improve your social skills?
- Pick one thing that you feel will help you make improvements in that area
- Do the one damn thing for a set amount of time and then move on.
But you don’t have the motivation you say?
Action isn’t just the effect of motivation but also the cause of it: Most people only commit to action if they feel a certain level of motivation. And they only feel motivation when they feel an emotional inspiration. – Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@CK
Doing the one damn thing will create all the motivation you need. Grab yourself a calendar. Pick the one damn thing that you want to do and each day you do the one damn thing put a big red line through that day.
Try and practice the one damn thing for the next 2 to 4 weeks and see what happens.
Question of the day: What is the one damn thing you’re going to be doing? Reply back to this email and let me know. I read and reply to every single email that I can.
PS: If you need help finding the one damn thing when it comes to your health and fitness check out Limitless Body Coaching. Enrollment opens soon to a limited number of people.
Photo credit: Secret