Don’t shy away at the first sign of pressure: get wiley about it.
If it’s hard, you’re doing it wrong. That’s my new motto.
When I’m banging my head against the wall trying to get something done, it’s often because I’m insisting on how it’s supposed to happen.
When something feels difficult, what will pull instead of push you to do it?
Some people seem to be addicted to going to the gym. They have this uncanny, inherent gym motivation. I’m not so lucky. When I was younger, my vanity pulled me to work out, combined with when a workout was fun. You should have seen me pole dancing!
These days, not even fun is enough. At this point, it would take a hell of a lot of fun, like free drinks afterwards and a massage, to get me to the gym.
So I don’t go. No matter how hard I push to make it a routine, it ain’t happening right now.
But my reason to go to the gym is to exercise, right? Going to the gym isn’t the only how there is to do that. These days I exercise by walking. What pulls me to do that is my husband. He comes home, gets me out of the house, and literally walks me around the neighborhood and Prospect Park. I may not get in 10,000 steps a day, but it’s movement. It qualifies as exercise as well as our time to reconnect. It’s fun and I look forward to it (mostly). I always feel more grounded in my body and alive afterwards. It pulls me.
Sometimes a thing is hard because you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.
See how pretty this newsletter is? That’s because I didn’t format it. That would take me literally all day.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you’re banging your head against the wall for over an hour on something somebody else could get done in 15 minutes, you shouldn’t be doing it.
Yes, money can be an issue, which is why for a long while I bartered before I started earning the big coaching bucks. I would coach in exchange for home organzing, for example. (Note: coaching for me is like breathing. Its fun and easy, so it was good for bartering. Bartering won’t work as an ongoing arrangement unless it’s easy for both parties. If you dread fulfilling your end of the bargain, don’t barter. You can end up resentful, or worse, not fulfilling your end of the deal which could damage a relationship. (To avoid either scenario, it’s best to lay the exchange out in a simple letter of agreement, even if it’s between friends.)
The timing of what you try to do can be a factor in why it’s a struggle. Don’t allocate your most creative and energetic hours to errands and administrivia. Errands, chores and administrivia, while necessary, have a funny way of becoming avoidance tactics when it comes to doing the work that matters. When it comes to sitting down and writing that book, try framing chores as rewards, not excuses. Example: ‘Once I hit 1,000 words, I get to fold the laundry and listen to a podcast.’
Speaking of rewards, gamification is a brilliant way to make hard things easier, especially for people with ADHD-type brains. Try going for a streak of something, like writing everyday for three days in a row. You can make up consequences and rewards depending on whether you hit your streak or not. I’d love to read comments below on any gamifying strategies you use that work for you!
In short, if you keep hitting road blocks, see if you can go around them. Don’t just keep trying to ‘power through’. That may work, sometimes. But in my experience it’s a burnout and makes things take longer to achieve.
Worst of all, ‘powering through’ isn’t any fun. It’s a joy-killer, and the last thing we need to lose in any more of our lives is joy. (However, if you’re someone who finds joy in powering through, I’d love to hear what pulls you to do all that pushing.)
I guess I could just as well say that if it isn’t any fun, you’re doing it wrong. That’s a good motto, too.