By Leo Babauta
Too often we let ourselves be ruled by our moods — which leads to procrastination, a lack of exercise, eating poorly, constant online distractions, and more.
Mood is a poor indicator of whether you should do something.
Consider the following examples:
- You want to write a book, and you commit to writing every morning. When it comes time to write, you feel like checking your favorite online sites instead, and don’t really feel like writing. So you put off writing. All procrastination works this way.
- You tell yourself you’re going to work out today … but when it comes time to do it, you’re tired. So you put it off and say you’ll do it tomorrow.
- You plan to meditate, but instead get distracted by your phone. Checking your phone is always something you’re in the mood for, but meditation rarely is.
- You create a healthy meal plan for yourself, but in the afternoon you feel like a snack, so you eat some chips or a pastry. You aren’t usually in the mood for vegetables, but you’re always up for fried, salty, fatty, or sweet things.
Allowing our moods to dictate our actions leads to procrastination, distraction, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating, and bad habits.
What’s a better way? Use smarter things to decide your actions: whether something will lead to accomplishing what you want, whether it’s good for you, whether it will help others. Make these decisions ahead of time, and don’t listen to your mood.
When the time comes for action, instead of saying “I don’t feel like it” (or not saying anything but just following your mood), say one or more of these instead:
- It’s on my plan, I gotta do it.
- Past Me said to do it, and Future Me will thank me, so let’s do it.
- Once I start, I’ll be glad I did. All I have to do is take the first small step.
- I don’t need to decide on this, or think about it. It’s already decided.
- This is a compassionate act for myself. An act of love. Let’s get to the loving.
- I am doing this for others, to set an example for others, to make the world better.
- Yes, “just this once” does hurt. Let’s not fall for our old thinking traps.
- It’s time, let’s get to work like a pro.
The best writers, best athletes, best entrepreneurs … they don’t just do their work or workouts when they feel like it. When it strikes their fancy. They show up every day and get to work. That’s how you’re going to approach your decisions from now on: show up as planned and do it.
You’ll get a ton more done, accomplish amazing things, be super fit, and meditate like a Zen master. What an amazing benefit from one little kick-ass habit change.