Listen to the audio or read below for the transcript. This episode is 11 minutes long.
Happy Tuesday, lovely! I’m Andreea, your host here on The Introvert That Could Podcast. Every episode is a mix of tips on productivity, time management, and how to move forward when you’re stuck, with a sprinkle of motivation and a side of relevant personal stories. I want you to have all the tools and support you need to face the challenges of being an introvert and take action, because without action, there are no results. Let’s dive in!
Welcome to episode 9!
I initially wanted to name this episode “The illusion of comfort” and you’ll see why in a moment. But then I asked myself, what do you really need? What’s a question that I’m asked over and over? And one of the most common problems is that even if you plan a task, something like going for a run or a workout, do some writing, or meditate, the moment comes and you don’t want to do it. You would rather watch TV or Netflix, order pizza instead of eating what you planned, go out with a friend instead of working on your project, anything that can offer some comfort would be very much preferred.
And that’s because you associate that particular activity with discomfort. And the escape activity with comfort. You don’t have to be a genius to guess which one you would go for. Like, hey, how would you like to spend this evening? In pain and discomfort, or the sweet relief of the last season of Game of Thrones? I know, I know it already ended, I really have no idea what’s popular at the moment, I don’t have Netflix.
But, let me break the bubble for you. If you planned that activity, it means you want to change something in your life. Which means you are already uncomfortable! Cause this is how humans decide to change. We usually wait until we hit rock bottom to accept that the current situation is not working out.
You are already uncomfortable. And you’re using something like Netflix to give you temporary relief, which in the coaching world we call a buffering activity. You’re not fixing anything, you just put a temporary stop, but when you come back to real life, it hurts again and sometimes it hurts worse than before. Especially if you had planned something, and then chose not to do it, you add guilt and shame to the existing cocktail of negative feelings.
I like to think of the example of dating when we were young, in high school or college. If your boyfriend or girlfriend left you, your friends would try to cheer you up by taking you out for drinks or clubbing or whatever was trendy for you back then. That’s buffering. What you really needed was to stay home, process your emotion, let it happen so it would eventually heal. But instead, the automatic response was: this is bad, let’s push it away. Unfortunately it didn’t work, because once your friends went home and you went home to be on your own, it hurt again. We say that time heals everything, and it will, but you have to let it.
Buffering activities only extend the time you’re in pain, they don’t fix the problem.
Think about grief. When someone dies, you want to cry. You want to feel that pain because though it’s uncomfortable, it’s a form of love. And as long as you give yourself that time, you will go back to normal life sooner, rather than later.
Now let’s go back to our initial problem, but I’ll rephrase it.
- You have a problem in your life that makes you uncomfortable. You are, as we speak, in pain of some sorts.
- You found a solution and planned an activity to fix that. That activity, if repeated, will solve your problem, in let’s say, 3 months.
- However, when it was time to perform the activity, you weren’t in the mood. So you decided to spend 3 hours watching Netflix. That changed the possible completion date to 3 months and 3 hours, instead of 3 months.
- After the 3 hours of Netflix passed, the problem was still there and you made no progress to fix it. Now you also feel like you failed again, because you tried this before and it didn’t work either.
Sounds accurate? Yeah, I’ve been there.
So what to do? Now let’s look into some ways that you can get through this.
1. Pay attention to what you’re telling yourself
What you feel is the result of what you think. If you don’t feel like doing something, it’s because of how you’re thinking about it. What is that?
Might be something like:
“What’s the point, I tried this before and it didn’t work”
“This will never work anyway”
“This isn’t for me”
“I’m not a…” insert anything here, like writer, blogger, business owner, runner, gym goer, anything that points to a personality trait of someone who you want to be, but think you’re not.
What is it, in that mind of yours, that you believe to be true and that’s stopping you?
And then, what can you think to make you wanna do it? Try to find something that will make you feel either excited, inspired, or motivated. Here are some thoughts that work for me, for either business or weight loss:
“This will take me one step closer to my goal”
“This is what business owners do”
“I’m the kind of person who follows through”
“If I can do this, I can do anything”
“I want to be an example and inspiration for others, and this is what it takes”
“Temporary discomfort means I have my own back, it’s self-love and that’s powerful”
“I’m trading temporary comfort for true, forever freedom”
“Every time I eat healthy, I get better at eating healthy”
“What I do, I get better at”
“This is hard, but I can do hard things”
“I’d rather be stronger, than this be easier”
“Success is inevitable if I keep going”
“Successful people eat healthy and treat their body with respect”
“Who do I choose to be in this moment?”
“Why not me?
“No one will show up for me if I don’t do it myself”
Ok, I hope some of these gave you some ideas, but the point is when you get there you have to cast a vote: for the future or for the present.
2. Have a few resources that can motivate you when you can’t do it yourself – podcasts, videos, quotes, a vision board.
For me, listening to a podcast works really well. I have a few that I’m subscribed to that can do that for me for sure.
I remember one time I had scheduled a writing session at the local library, 3 hours to sit at a desk and write content, with no internet, and no distractions. But I was tired and all I wanted was a nap. I didn’t even want to leave the house.
I talked myself into getting dressed and said: at least I’ll walk there. If I’m still not in the mood when I get there, I’ll go get a coffee and walk back. But on my way there, I played a podcast and by the time I got to the library I was pumped, ready to go! It is important for me though to be able to take action then and there so the excitement doesn’t have time to fade away.
A group or an accountability buddy can work well too, just ask for help when you need it.
3. Make it easy!
I learned a few tips from the book we’re reading in January in the book club, which is Atomic habits, so I’ll share some that I think are important. But if you want to read the book, I’ll link it at the top and bottom of this transcript.
You have to make it easy for yourself to do that activity.
And there are a few ways to do that:
- Start small. You would think that meditating, writing, stretching, running for 2 minutes is useless, it produces nothing. And it’s true, sort of. The point is not to stay here all the time, but to start here. Because this is how you build the habit of showing up for yourself, this is the important bit. Show up consistently, and then improve from there. Still, think about it, if you write for 2 minutes every day, you’ll have maybe 100 pages in a year? 100 pages when you could have nothing instead? How is that bad? That is progress, baby! Progress! What I like about the 2 minute rule is that it makes the “I don’t have time” excuse ridiculous. You can’t use it. You just can’t.
- Optimize your environment so that it’s easy to perform the activity. Cleaning the desk the night before so you can work in the morning, prepping your gym bag, pre-chopping vegetables, you name it. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to record the podcast, and I say to myself: “Let’s get the microphone set up and we’ll see”. Once the microphone is set up, I might as well just hit record. If I had the space to keep it plugged in all the time, I would, it would make it easier, but at the moment that’s not an option unfortunately.
4. And last tip from me, wake up early!
If you’re too tired in the evening to do something for yourself, do it in the morning when you have all the energy possible. Being a morning person is not something you’re born with, it’s something you develop, and it’s very worth it.
The morning gives the tone of the day, so you have the opportunity to set an intention to be the person that you want to be, for at least a couple hours before the rest of the world wakes up and starts requesting things from you. Cause think about it, if you’re too tired in the evening and you don’t want to become a morning person, you’ll have then to accept that your dream will not become reality. What’s your choice? I’ll link to a book that might be useful for you if you’re struggling with this.
And speaking of books, February book club is approaching, we’ll be reading Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself by Dr Joe Dispenza, so get on the email list if you want to know when it’s open!
I’ll end with that, I hope this was useful, go to the show notes to get all the links, and I’ll talk to you next week! Bye
This was it for this episode, but if you want to continue the conversation, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or find me on Facebook and Instagram. But the best thing you can do is sign up for the Life Lesson Letter, the weekly email I send out every Thursday with new content and insider-only freebies and details. Sign up now and you’ll get instant access to all available goodies, including the latest PDF “From overwhelm to taking action: 6 steps to find more time in your day, declutter your to-do list and get things done“. Just go to coachmeamazing.com/lifelessonletter
Thanks so much for being here and I’ll catch you on the next one! Have an amazing day