How To Get Stuff Done
I said I was going to go for a run today. Michael and I got breakfast, and then came home and sprawled out over the couch to let our food settle. It was 32 degrees. I was stuffed, but I said I was going to go for a run today.
A force other than my own carried me up the stairs and into my running pants. I laced up my shoes, popped in my favorite Orbit peppermint gum and opened my running app. In less than 10 minutes, I went from a belly full of biscuits and gravy on the couch, to a belly full of biscuits and gravy jogging down Pontchartrain boulevard. Because I said I was going to go for a run today.
And also because it’s only January 8th — way too early for me to feel comfortable bailing on my twenty seventeen goals.
About 15 minutes and 47 seconds in (I made it this long before I wondered “how much further” … #progress), I started thinking about why I was actually out there. Not “why” like why did I want to run, but “why” like what had actually propelled me out my front door all cold and stuffed. I wondered how, what gears had turned and aligned in my head this time and not the last time when I bailed.
There are 3 elements I have added to my thinking thanks to TED Talks and various readings that have, in just 8 days, transformed my activity, productivity, and totally pushed me out of my comfort zone. For all 8 days of 2017, I have been uncomfortable and anxious and nervous and for me, these are all the pre-cursors to the biggest, best changes.
I want to share these 3 elements with you because they’re stupid simple, but I also encourage you to watch the TED Talk by Mel Robbins, because she’s the foundation for this thought process, and also gets you hella fired up.
Stop waiting till you feel like it. I think that is the last thought I had before I started running this morning. If I would have waited till I felt like running, I wouldn’t have run today. Quit waiting till you feel like doing something. The things worth doing are often hard. They test us. They push us. They upset a balance and pull us into limbo. When are you ever going to feel like doing something like that? Relying on your feelings to propel you into discomfort is oxymoronic.
One excuse. If you can find one excuse not to do something, you’re very likely not to do it. John Steinbeck says, “Given the smallest excuse, one will not work at all.” And unfortunately, I know this to be true from experience. It doesn’t even have to be work. It can be an invitation for dinner: “It’s kind of far” (Not going) or a letter that needs to be mailed: “It’s raining” (not mailing the letter). All you need is one excuse, and they’re real easy to find. Once this was brought to light for me, so much made sense. What have you made excuses for? Because it only takes one.
Pulling the emergency brake. In Mel Robbins’s TED Talk, she has this bit about how if you are making the choice of to do or not to do something, thinking about it for 5 seconds or longer results in you metaphorical pulling your emergency brake. She explains this much better, but essentially, she says that when we think about doing something initially, like riiiiiiight after the idea pops into our heads — before we have time to judge it or weight the pros and cons — we are totally into it. But just 5 seconds later, we talk ourselves out of it. And that is how connections are missed, dreams aren’t followed, and great fires of ideas are watered out before they are even born. Quit pulling the emergency brake and just ride. Just go. Is there more risk in going or thinking about going, but deciding not to? I know the answer for me.