In this Ask Me Anything episode I answer listener questions and talk about when and how to be kind to your self (and when not), how to trade between the need-to’s and the want-to’s of adult life, what makes bad habits form quickly, and how inertia is a habit
Good morning everybody and her to my fellow earthlings. Welcome to an ask me anything episode of the considered life, the podcast about claiming back life ownership and leading an intentional reflected and sustainable life. It’s a beautiful winter white, early Friday morning here in Switzerland. This is Marc, I’m your host on your considered life journey. And now without any further ado nor any advertising, let’s jump into it. I hope you enjoy.
In my last episodes, I have triggered probably some controversy among my listeners. And here’s how, in one episode I said, well, If you have decided in the morning to go to the gym and the afternoon and it’s in the afternoon and you don’t want to go, just get your act together and go, you have to trust your early morning ego that has been focused and intentional about decision-making.
Rather than trusting your afternoon, tired, whatever ego who doesn’t want to go. And two just wants to slouch on the couch, right? So that’s one thing. Trust your morning, ego, do whatever you have put into your agenda, regardless of how you feel. When it’s you in the last episode, I said, well, you don’t have to.
Think that you can be at a hundred percent peak performance all the time, deliver a hundred percent output all the time. And you have to be kind to yourself because like over-training or over stretching, whatever you plan and what you do does not help because it’s not sustainable. And one of the big things in the considered life is the idea of sustainability. Now, what does sustainability mean in this context? It has nothing to do with environmental waste production. And so on in this context, it’s about being in a mode where you can sustain your rhythm. Basically endlessly. I have. Seeing people who are performing at 120% and they are working like 60 hours a week and they do this for three months or six months or 12 months or even two years.
And then comes a point in time when they’re just burned out. And just like with addiction, burnout is a slow progressing process. Right. And if you go there. You don’t even know that you’re going there because it’s so slow. You may have a point in time where you feel that something is wrong, but ultimately when you understand what’s going on, it’s already too late.
Now what I’m trying to say is on one end, make smart decisions when your brain can make smart decisions. And that is when you’re well rested. When you are not in a stressed out state. So typically for many of us that’s in the morning and when we are going to start overriding decisions that we’ve made in the morning and the afternoon, because we are tired and we have set other priorities, then bad things are going to happen because we are not going to achieve our objectives by continuously giving in and changing our plans.
Now, this is the side or the angle of view where. I say, just follow through, just decide what you’re going to do when you are able to take rational decisions and then just follow through. On the other hand, I’m saying, be kind to yourself, don’t overdo it. And ultimately it boils down to being well reflected on how you plan.
I have seen incredible agendas of people. I have seen agendas with like 10 hours back to back calls. I have seen agendas where people start working at 6:00 AM and they finish at 9:00 PM without any break that is just not going to work. Right. So when it comes to planning, we come back to the principle.
Number one that I set forth in the peak performance book. Know yourself know at which level at which rhythm you can perform. No. When you are up to doing deep work versus shallow work. No. When it’s a good time for you to have critical conversations versus you just need to respond some like very easy emails or whatever, right.
Know yourself and. Be kind to yourself happens, not at the follow-through stage, but be kind to yourself, happens at the overall planning stage. You should know how much work you can scared you’re reasonably within one day. And then just do that. If you are a person who can’t work deep for nine hours in a row, That’s totally fine.
So just don’t even try, it’s going to stress you out. It’s going to set a wrong level of expectation towards yourself, and then it’s going to lead you to longterm, into frustration and to anger about yourself and ultimately very likely into a burnout. And the same goes, for example, for, I want to go to the gym, to yoga classes, to whatever you name it.
And then typically I have seen people who were not doing any sports and then the decision was made in a coaching session. Oh yeah. I will go, I will start going to the gym because it’s good for my brain. It helps me better manage my body composition and so on and so on. So in the next coaching session, people were like totally devastated because they couldn’t go to the gym like seven days, two hours per day because their body we’re just not following.
Now. The point is that’s not clever planning. If you have not done sports for like 10 years, and now you start with it. Be kind to yourself know that you can’t do this kind of ultra marathon training from today to tomorrow just giving like a thousand percent have some intelligence, really. And then the other thing is that, you know, if you decide that you will be on a diet, you will just eat healthy food and whatever.
And then you have one day you walk by this pizazz shop and then you just have a pizza. So, you know, like there, there are Facebook groups around, um, intermittent fasting and healthy eating, low carb, high, fat, and everything. Right? So if you look through those groups, there are many of those posts where people say, Oh my God, I ate a pizza today.
I fell off the wagon. Help me, somebody helped me get back on. Or I wanted to eat low carb, but I had spaghetti or whatever, kind of pasta you preferred meal in there, or pancakes with whatever syrup. And then the first thing is that other people have to help them. Getting back on track because they are lacking self accountability, per se, nothing against, you know, like peer accountability, accountability.
Budding is a very, very important concept, but just like shouting out to the world on Facebook. I have a problem. Everybody helped me. That is not really responsible. I think, you know, take a responsibility buddy, and then clarify that with him. The other thing is. Like, and, and that’s part of the being kind with yourself.
If you take a decision and you don’t stick to it, there’s nothing inherently bad about it. If you take a hundred decisions and you don’t stick to 99 of them, that’s a different factor. It’s a matter of scale. And I think that being kind to yourself, It needs to be like, first of all, reasonable and recognizing that we are all human beings and we are not machines.
So we need some leeway and some flexibility in that particular field. However, if we take a decision to do XYZ today, And tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and for the entire week. And it comes to the end of the week and we have not executed a single day on our plan. We have deviated from our agenda over and over and over again.
Then something is definitely wrong and this has nothing to do with being kind with ourselves, but rather with being totally unintentional about how we are approaching, playing an execution. And what I mean by that is look, if you are planning the entire week ahead, Which is a good thing to do, I think.
And then you rang through the week and you do whatever you want spontaneously anyway, why for having sexual to plan anything that doesn’t make any sense. And it’s not a matter of being able to say, Oh, I have planned my entire week. I’m such a serious person. And I follow through, and then you don’t it’s first of all, a complete waste of time, isn’t it.
And it would be like, Oh, I plan my budget and my projected spend for the entire year. And then afterwards I don’t give shit because I buy anything I want anyway, total waste of time and space. But the other thing, and more importantly is you are creating a bad habit and the bad habit is to not do what you wanted to do.
Believe it or not. That’s a process that is ingraining itself in your brain. The more often you are planning something without executing on your plan, the more likely it becomes that you are going to do the same thing over and over again. And that’s simply because our brain is very. Eager to form habits in order to save energy.
If you don’t have to think about anything anymore before doing it, and you can automate that, that makes our brain very, very happy. And if we have taken this habits to plan things, to lay out our day and then to not follow through because of whatever excuse passed through your mind, then that’s going to create the habit of non follow through.
On the other side, luckily this also works the other way round. The more often we are creating a plan and then sticking to the plan, however, we feel the more likely it is that we are doing that in the next time again. Right. So making a plan, sticking to it is becoming a habit as well and making a plan and sticking to it.
Despite the fact that we are not feeling like it becomes a habit as well. If we do it sufficiently often Entrepot additively, without any exception, that’s just forming the new habits, the habits of execution and the habit. Uh, following through. And again, the being kind proud is not the proud where you say, Oh, I don’t follow through on what I have decided.
The kind part is to structure your day, according to your abilities in all directions made B how much work you do, how much, couple of times you have how much gym time you have and how much me time you need. And that is something that I see often missing in people’s agendas when we are going to do the first time assessment.
It’s like saying, okay, how much, how much time do you have per week? And then go like, yeah, well an hour or so. And then they’re like, okay, is that what you want? Do you think that is sufficient for you to allow to recover, to recharge your batteries? And also that is part of the kindness you need to develop towards yourself.
What’s the me-time that you need every day to do things for yourself, whatever that might be. It could be that you are like actively recovering or recharging with meditation or sports could be that you are reading could be that you are just sitting in front of your PlayStation and playing again, whatever.
Right. That’s the being kind part. So that was many long answers to a pretty short question right now let’s get to another one. And this one is really interesting. And the question is how do you manage to refocus between the things that you have to do because of external constraints and things that you have to do because of intrinsic motivation.
So across the day, how to focus continuously and how to manage my energy so that I can do the things that I want to do versus the things that I need to do because of that, the intrinsic motivation. That’s the stuff I like doing. Right. You could think, but I will tell you a little story of today. And my today’s story is that I feel like crap because I am having the Corona virus.
I have a bloated head and I don’t want to do anything right now. I dragged my ass to my desk and just started to do the admin work I have to do. And that is something that people don’t understand when I call them up and say, Oh, dear folks. I couldn’t pay my invoices because I have the coronavirus people don’t give shit about that.
They just want their money. Right. So that is the extrinsic driving things. So you have to do stuff because you have to do, because you are embedded into this huge big system. With, um, society asking you stuff to do. Right. And on the other hand, honestly, I didn’t even want to record any podcasts today because I was just not up to it, but you know what happened when I started doing the invoices and I just did that because it was in my agenda to do that stuff today.
Because it was just you. Okay. So I put Mac together and I started and I said, okay, I’ll have this huge pile of work to do. Let’s just promise myself. I’m going to go to number 10 of the paperwork that is on the backlog and then have a break. So I started number one, number two, number three, and so on that, and I was 10 and I go like, Oh wow.
I don’t need a break. I can just, you know, like follow through. And I did like two hours of uninterrupted admin work that I hate because it’s so totally not value adding to me. It’s definitely value adding to the people, getting my money, but that’s a different story. And. I just, you know, like having started that, having started with a little promise to myself, do a small fraction that would take probably like 10 or 20 minutes, and then finding that I was in a rhythm and that just pushed through, you know, that helped.
And that we launched me into looking into, Hey, what’s on my AMA list. And I found that. Hm that’s pretty good topics. So let’s just give it a try. I didn’t want to record a full episode and I didn’t want to record like, um, like a half an hour episode or so, but you know, like once I started, it helped me to overcome the initial inertia and then just, you know, like keep going and to know what ultimately inertia is a habit.
Think about that in Arisha is a habit. You not doing stuff that needs to be done is a habit. And the same goes to me, the same goes for everybody. We are having a habit of not following through because not following through in many cases is not life-threatening. So we can allow ourselves to have a pretty damn good, easy knife, even if we don’t do all stuff that we should be doing.
Now, the point is, do you want to do just the things to maintain the status quo or do you want to progress? And I think that’s one of the key differentiators between the people who are allowing themselves inertia and the people who are not don’t get me wrong on that. I don’t. One to say that maintaining the status quo is bad.
You know, I’m not saying that everybody needs to strive to become better, richer, happier, whatever, if you don’t feel like that, if you’re happy. And that is the key thing here. If you are happy the way you are, why would you change? You know, first of all, there is no need to change because you are happy and then you don’t have sufficient drive.
To break the inertia because breaking the inertia requires drive. You can’t just go there, sit down somewhere and then expect that somebody is coming to mind, which some people have as a mindset. When they come to a coach, you know, like coach my ass, I want to move. And I go like, no, why should I, you know, like you have to kick your ass yourself.
I can show you how to kick your ass. But you know, like the one who has to kick is yourself. And coming back to the question about how do I get myself into doing things I need to do? And wasn’t the things I have to do. It’s like, well, there is no panacea. There is no silver bullet that I can give you and say, okay, drink this.
And then you are going to do the things that you don’t want to do with a happy smile. Uh, it’s just that, you know, be aware that, Hey, have to be done. There’s no way around them, even if pushing out that stuff until tomorrow, tomorrow, it’s still there plus tomorrow, also other stuff on top. So the longer you don’t do the things that you have to, yeah.
The more things are on your backlog that you don’t want to. And if we want to actually maintain, uh, um, a reasonable equilibrium. Between the ones and the half twos in our lives, then we are best advised to follow through on the half twos. On a daily basis or at least on a regular basis, even. So we don’t feel like it, it is so essential because you’re, you, you can’t just make life stop.
You can’t just, you know, like tell people I know this year, I’m not going to do my admin work. I’m not going to do my tax filings. Um, you know, I, I just push out everything to next year and yeah, they are people who are doing that. And there are one, one day they’re going to be in the dip deep, deep shit, because there are so many things that have piled up in their backyard.
They don’t even know where to start, and that is the other factor to it. You know? Um, I find that people do have a fear to start. People have many different fears, but fear to start is an essential driving force that is actually holding us back in inertia. And that can be any type of fear that you can think of.
For example, if you are paying your invoices, one fear could be, Oh, I don’t want to see my bank account. After all these amounts have been paid because I’m going to be so deep and they read again. Or, you know, if I have to deal with that and that filing and I have to deal with on tax report. Oh, I wouldn’t like the outcome.
So, you know, I don’t want to do it. The point is that even, you know, like if you don’t do it, it doesn’t change reality. It just pushes the consequences out in the future. And those consequences are going to pile up. You know, I mean, you can not write that email back to whoever is, you know, difficult or angry at you or whatever, and you don’t provide this email back today, but then one day you have to write this email.
Anyway, it’s not going away just because you’re not doing it. And the longer you wait, the more difficult the situation can get. And now the awkward thing is that the more difficult the situation gets, the more fear you will have to address it. So it’s not only the complexities and the difficulties stacking up.
It’s also your fear stacking up along with it. And that’s the same fear that held you back on addressing the issue in the first place and with the issue. Also, your fear is growing. So tell me who in good mind would. Go down that road, right? Why wouldn’t we just do what has to be done when it has to be done to prevent any further fuck-ups happening?
Just because we don’t want to come on really well, mentally, there are different factors here that are coming into GAM, for example, you know, like even if you say, Oh, I’m not good at this, but I have to do it anyway. You see there’s again, the fear factor. The fears of start or the fear to do, because you have a fear that you are not meeting your own expectations because ultimately, what does it mean to say, I am not good at this.
So define good in the first place. How good is good? What is the criteria for good and you know, like based on which criteria can you say. Oh, I’m not good at this. It’s the fear to not deliver the quality you think you have to base on what ever criteria pop up in your mind. And most of the time, those criteria are just, you know, driven by your history, your previous experience, your parents, your partner, whatever.
There’s no rationality whatsoever in there. And if you really. Are not good at something, you know, just seek help, just go out there, find a friend who can help you structure the process of problem solving. It’s not that difficult as you know what. I have in a coaching practice, I have never, ever solved any problem for any client.
I have always shown or guided the clients through the process of solving the problems theirself by revealing resources that they have in themselves. And they just didn’t know that to have them. And. Ideas and paths to the solution of the problem that they just didn’t know. They knew it’s just a matter of asking the right questions here.
Right? So back to the point of how do I balance between the half twos and the one twos it’s very easy. Just get started somewhere. Make yourself a little promise, make yourself the promise to do 10 minutes of XYZ stuff that you don’t want to do, and then do it, you know, and then reward yourself when you did by doing another 10 minutes or so, or by having a beer, whatever.
It’s not that difficult. It’s very often our own ego and our own expectations and fears that are holding us back. Right. So just get over it and just put it into your agenda and start doing it. That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed this little a bit long again. Episode of ask me anything. If you have any further questions, just drop me a line on the website.
As usual or on Facebook, you can find me there. The addresses are down in the show notes and the transcript. And with that have a brilliant day and a beautiful week ahead. See you next time.