We all alternate between periods of happiness and periods of depression—periods of energy and periods of lethargy, periods of reaping and periods of sowing. Thus is the cyclical nature of life.
The question is: do you respond appropriately? Do you take advantage of the energy when it comes and use it productively to crush life? If you don’t, and you instead opt to enjoy the emotional highs without really applying yourself to anything, you set yourself up for a big fall. When the energy leaves you and you haven’t grown in any way, your off cycle that would’ve been used for rest and recovery now feels more like a depression.
And when you enter such a cycle of depression, it oftens seems like a never-ending period. You don’t have the recent positive reference experience to confidently bounce back and get after it. So you sit there and sulk in your own misery, unsure of how to proceed.
This happens to all of us. Eventually something happens and you take action, exiting the depressionary cycle in the process. Here are some tips if you feel like you’ve been stuck in an off cycle for too long—some tips to get you going again. These things always help me.
1. Narrow your focus to one actionable thing
When we are inactive, our minds tend to wander. We think about one thing we need to do, then another that we should do, and then a third that we’d like to do. The result is when you’re lying on your back, looking at the ceiling, and feeling paralyzed—like you literally can’t take action on anything.
Rather than allowing thoughts to bombard your brain from 1,000 different angles, choose one actionable thing to focus on. For example, one target area for your business (e.g. inbound marketing, content creation, networking, roadmap planning) or one aspect of your game (e.g. approaching, first dates, physical escalation).
And then DO IT. Analysis paralysis is very real. It’s possibly the number one cause of inaction. Stop THINKING about all your options and DO just one of them.
2. Don’t forget the fundamentals
Everyday, although your focus will be on one particular item (as determined above), you still must take care of the basic tasks that will ensure you feel rested and energetic. For me this means exercising, reading, and meditating every day.
Pick three things that make sense for you, and then make sure you check them off your list every single day.
3. Replace the bad with the good
Next, list the things that you do that you know aren’t helping you: your bad habits, if you will. This might mean playing video games, masturbating, drinking, smoking, or picking your fingernails. Pick things you tend to do that TAKE more than they GIVE, things that tend to have a component of instant gratification but no long-term benefits. Whenever you catch yourself doing one of these things, stop and instead do one of the things you determined in step 2 above.
This 3 step process in awfully simple, but it works for me. Not instantly, but far more quickly than if I just sit around and play the victim.