The question that I hate the most isn’t “when are you going to marry?” or “when are you going to have children?” The question that I hate the most is “Do I have the energy to do it now?” If I don’t get a clear answer to that question, I ask myself a follow-up question. “Would I do it, if someone put a gun to my head?”
As you can imagine, I ask both questions to myself whenever I feel like procrastinating a task. Both questions cut through all of my excuses and other mental noise. If the answer is yes, I have no excuse not to do the task at hand.
In most cases, the answer to both of these questions is yes. For some reasons, our brains come up with a lot of excuses not to do a task at hand. Most of the time, those excuses are fictional. They are not based on facts.
A Personal Experience
Here’s an experience I had when I was surprised about my performance. At a certain moment, I believed 25 repetitions was my maximum for laying leg raises. On a certain day, I decided to go as far as I can and see how many repetitions I could do. As usual, I felt discomfort around the 25th repetition, but I kept pushing through that. I kept pushing at 30, 40, 50, and so on, despite all the discomfort in my body. After the 95th repetition, my legs started to shake. When I completed the 100th repetition, I knew I have reached my absolute limit for that set. It wasn’t a psychological discomfort anymore. My legs were shaking and I could literally not move them anymore. I wouldn’t be able to move them anymore even if someone put a gun to my head.
When you don’t feel like doing a task that you know you should do, ask yourself the following question.
“Do I have the energy to do it now?”
If you can’t get a clear question, ask yourself the following question.
“Would I do it, if someone put a gun to my head?”
If your answer to one of these questions is a yes, you owe it to yourself to go ahead and do that thing that you dread.
“How would your life look like if you kept doing all the tasks that you dread and don’t give in to your excuses?”
If you have done the exercise about how to build a world class self-discipline in a single year, you can apply the questions in this post to your self-discipline exercises, whenever you don’t feel like following up on your daily goals. Moreover, you can apply the questions to the positive habits as well as negative habits.
Here are two examples.
- Do I have the energy to go to the gym now?
- Do I have the energy to log out of YouTube and lock my tablet now?
What do you think? Do you have any similar techniques to get out of your auto-pilot mode and to get into a more conscious state?
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.