A Note From Hell

Fit woman pushing a sled that's hard getting started

I was up early this morning, feeling motivated to get started on some overdue work, and finally do my taxes. 

It always feels like a chore and I’d rather be doing anything else today while I’m working from home. Especially when the weather is set to turn on an absolute stunner for us here in Sydney. But it is a chore you can’t ignore. It’s one of those things that need to get done so you can go about living like an adult in the world today. 

I don’t have any productivity hacks or apps to help you get through what you’re stuck with.

Except for this quick note. 

Training, eating well and generally taking good care of yourself, can feel like doing your taxes sometimes. 

Honestly, some days it’ll be hard and will feel like a real drag. 

I know it. I’ve been doing this since I was 16 or so, and as much as I love the process of training and becoming, and all the great things that come along with that…

Some days I just cannot find the drive to be enthusiastic about it at all.

It is what it is. 

But while sorting your returns is a once a year gig, making healthy choices and building helpful habits are a daily constant. And having to make that many ‘right’ choices each day can be a little, well…

Taxing.  

We could talk about discovering your emotionally driven ‘why’ for doing something and falling back on that to pull you through these deep moments of resistance. Which isn’t a terrible approach by any stretch. 

But honestly, sometimes too you have to just close your eyes, hold your nose and dive into the deep. If too often you feel like you’re up against a mountain trying to draw on your ‘why’ to get started, you may want to rethink your approach. If you’re constantly trying to convince yourself against your own will, then there’s a big chance that you’ve picked the wrong entrance.

You’ve decided on a far too overwhelming start for where you are right now. A case of the right road, wrong vehicle. 

Related: Going Nowhere Fast

Chip it down to the barest, most essential, simplest thing that you can do to get started right now. What can you do so that it doesn’t feel like such a burden? What is the smallest incremental step forward that you can take? 

It might be as simple as starting your day with a glass of water or a short walk. It doesn’t matter, precisely. Make it so easy to win that you have no choice but to win.

That’s how I plan on tackling my taxes this morning. After I’ve written to you, dear reader. And, procrastinated a little while enjoying my coffee, of course. I’ll start by simply organising my notes, papers and receipts. Something almost too easy.

I’ll begin putting things into some semblance of order and aim to leave it at that. Committing to the easiest measure of progress usually causes me to extend beyond it. It seems like a lot less of an uphill trudge this way, and I know full well that once I’ve organised my paperwork, I’m going to give myself a new easy target and eventually want to keep right on going to get as much done as I possibly can. 

As I’ve noted before and you’ve probably experienced yourself, momentum is a powerful vehicle for progress. 

So there’s my big tip for today. Ask your self the following, and take note:

”Does a task, behaviour, or program seem too often like it’s just too much to get started?”

If so, you might be picking the wrong thing. Have a reason ‘why’ for doing something that you can rely on when times get tough, sure. But pick daily habits and activities that are easy to implement consistently. Things you can sprinkle into your days seamlessly, and that eventually just become something that you do.

Easy is a perspective that will shift from day to day. 

Anything you have to force isn’t going to fit long at all. 

Danny James

Danny James is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Personal Trainer in Sydney, Australia. He has over ten years of experience working with the fastest track and field youth athletes in the country. He lives in Glebe with his beautiful wife Fabiana. Sign up for Danny's free newsletter and receive tips, insights and exclusive email-only content.

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