We all are creatures of feelings. Our feelings direct us and the course of our lives. Remember the time, you didn’t feel like doing something. It was harder to move you to action than getting a kid to leave the pool after the day long fun in water. You felt helpless. If it was the happening of one time, we would all be fine. But we deal with resistance from ourselves everyday. Moment like these leads you to making the choice that you know you shouldn’t make. Sometimes you don’t make the choice, you just sit there, browsing the channel though you know you got to get up & get going. You fail to choose or must i say you still made a choice by not choosing the right action.
Its easier to direct others, but taking self-orders, executing those orders is not easy at all. How can one then gain mastery over self. You tried it and it worked, for few weeks, for some it worked for few days, for most it was few hours and when the will power came crashing down, down you went. Those are the moment when you yell out silently, I deserve that pack of lays, I’ve been starving, i cannot do this no longer. That’s the moment your lower self takes control of your life and needless to say, you regret all that happened after.
There’s many things you can do to start to acquire the tools to skillfully direct yourself. I will share with you 2 most profound hooks I have used in my life to make myself perform, when i didn’t want to, equally knowing I got to. How to break that inertia? Here you have it:
Are you a good negotiator with yourself?
You are wired to avoid doing things that you don’t like, doesn’t matter how beneficial it will be for you. You know you should use your time wisely but its the most widely wasted commodity. You know you got to make decisions that will help your life progress but we fall trap to instant gratification time and again. You are a fun seeking creation.
How then can you go against your very core and still make good choices. In school, college, work, at home the external threat of being yelled at, being questioned, being held accountable kept you on track – you did not want to be humiliated. You cannot continue to use intimidation, fear as a motivator for yourself.
More powerful way of dealing with yourself is turn into a negotiator with yourself. Let’s say you need to go for a run, you know its good for you, you know you will enjoy the after effect of a run but somehow you are lazy – doesn’t sound unusual. Next time this happens, get into a deal making with yourself, become a negotiator. My negotiation will go something like this – “KD, we need to go for a run. Guess what, if you go for a run now, you will get to enjoy your favorite comedy show for 20mins.” My inner self goes, that’s a good bargain. Let’s go for a run. It wont be that bad and 20mins of that show is well worth the run, let’s do it.
And i make sure i reward myself with that show for sure. I dont make deals with myself and not keep it. That’s cheating. Your inner self will never going to fall for the trap if you cheat.
Judicious reward is what we call it. Rewarding yourself for completing the tasks that you didn’t “feel” like doing at first place is an amazing way to become super self discipline. I use this hook all the time to put myself to work – like doing 36 hour fasts, reading, listing to podcasts, going for a walk, writing this blog and so many things.
You are better than that
The problem with us humans is that immediate Pain trumps imaginary gains. Oh yes! don’t eat the pizza, you are on diet. If i dont eat the slice, i will “potentially” in future be healthy. But that’s an imaginary promise. Pizza is right infront of me. The pain of ignoring something that’s right infront of me is much harder to overcome than the imaginary good feeling of good health in future. So we as humans go – heck with that, i’m having a slice, it’s too yummy to ignore it. No negotiation works here. How do i appeal to myself to make the right choice. That’s where you employ the hook #2 – You are better than that.
Talk to your character. Your core, your higher self, your character holds itself in high regards. Have a dialogue with your character – “You are better than that. A slice of pizza cant own you. You are a bigger person”. This immediately switches your thoughts from pain vs gain to who you are. In our own eyes, we are much stronger, intelligent, hard working, moral and more stable individuals. Talk to that core of yours and let it handle the tough decision when your weak self is ready to give up.
There are many other mental notes you can have for yourself to tame you. One who can tame himself, is not the mercy of this merciless world. A well trained, tamed you is the most ferocious creation out there, happy taming!