Do, or do not– you know how it goes.
Right now, it’s 9am. I just finished my Crossfit workout for the day. A few months ago, I did not work out at 9 in the morning. Not a chance. But today I was diligently up at 6:45 because my New York trip prevents me from going at my usual 5pm workout time. And I had to go.
Ask the guys in Victoria on my recent trip down there what my priority was, and they’ll tell you that it was to find a local place to work out before I did my Third Tuesday talk that night. How the hell this happened to me, I can’t say. But the impact is massive.
Ask me if I ever press the snooze button anymore, or if I avoid stuff on my task list– I don’t. It’s crazy. Something has clicked.
Yeah, something has happened to me during the past few months that has transformed how I make decisions. As a result, I believe willpower can be built, that introverts can be changed to extroverts, and procrastinators can be turned into GTD maniacs. Here’s the difference between the two.
1. Stop believing your own bullshit.
The bullshit is the internal dialogue that says “I’ll do this tomorrow” or “I’m too busy.” So let’s make it really simple for ourselves, ok? There is only one thing that isn’t a round-about, convoluted way to say “no.”
It’s to unequivocally say “yes.”
Everything else besides straight-up “Yes I will” is bullshit that eventually lead to “no.” You already know this. If you’re not doing something that needs to get done, it’s because you believe your absurd inner dialogue that thinks that your excuses are valid. But they never are.
2. Develop a willpower practice.
Daily meditation, Crossfit, and many other things have worked for me. You need activities that will push you past the point of discomfort, pain, and fear, and will force you to keep going, even when your mind is screaming to stop. Social pressure helps a lot for this; you can’t just get up and stop meditating if there’s like 5 people around you that will see you leave.
At first, this social pressure is what will actually force you to push past your limits, which is what helps you do it yourself. But you need training, and I’m not sure you can do it alone. So start doing things you feel are uncomfortable– in groups.
3. Create preset if-then responses.
You know what your blocks are, so while you aren’t going through them, you need to program yourself– that’s right, you heard me.
You must submit to something greater than yourself– the schedule if you want, or your past self, but whatever method you use: your procrastination has to be recognized as such and you submit yourself to a pre-conditioned auto-response that begins “it doesn’t matter what I think now, because…”
This is the same as “when I feel the urge for a cigarette, I will eat a carrot stick” but applied to your entire life. Most of your procrastination is habitual, so you need to force your brain out of its usual patterns by creating new ones. Then, when you see yourself breaking into your usual thing, force your new pattern on yourself. Eventually, the new pattern will be stronger.
Whomever you are, no matter how amazing you think you may be, the potential you is a lot better than the current you. But you have to get out of your rut first.