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Divided


malign

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Yet again, I'm glad I'm not a house, because according to Lincoln, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." And yet, I can still get up and reach the bathroom ...

I have all these goals, and they're all reachable. Get up at a regular time. Get some exercise in the morning. Do something productive (and work-related) when I'm at work. Try to do at least a little bit from my To-do list each day.

But every day, I find a way not to do any of that. I give myself permission to sleep late in the morning. For that matter, I repeatedly keep myself awake the night before. If I do have time to do anything for myself in the morning, I deliberately squander it by lying down again or in some other way. At work, I convince myself it's all stupid and spend all my time online. I haven't even written my To-do list ...

What seems clear to me is that I have at least two parts, both equally "valid" in some sense, just because they're both part of me. It's sooo tempting to believe that the first part, that has all the tangible goals and doesn't mind putting me on an austerity regimen to get them, is the "good" part, and whatever is holding me back is the "bad" part.

But there has to be a reason for that second part, and it has to be a reason that seems valid to me, otherwise it would never be expressed. Clearly, the second part has a hard time articulating its needs (or I have a hard time hearing what he's saying), or he wouldn't need to resort to the tricks he uses. So I guess what I need to do is to find out what he wants.

What's missing from all the grandiose plans? What am I defending myself against, by putting so many obstacles in my own way? Most importantly, how do I get the two to play nicely together, if that's even possible?

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Hi malign, how are you? I related to your experience after I read your post. There is a way to regroup yourself, but it requires practice. Basically you have to give yourself two quick messages: Now and next action. Now means taking a moment to look at your surroundings and focus on your senses. This brings you back to the immediate present. Then, asking what your next action is gives you something to do immediately.

When you get better at this, you can begin to maintain a rhythm for any task you commit yourself to. People call this state the "zone". David Allen provided an analogy with rowers:

Rowers have a word for this frictionless state: swing…Recall the pure joy of riding on a backyard swing: an easy cycle of motion, the momentum coming from the swing itself. The swing carries us; we do not force it. We pump our legs to drive our arc higher, but gravity does most of the work. We are not so much swinging as being swung. The boat swings you. The shell wants to move fast: Speed sings in its lines and nature. Our job is simply to work with the shell, to stop holding it back with our thrashing struggles to go faster. Trying too hard sabotages boat speed. Trying becomes striving and striving undoes itself. Social climbers strive to be aristocrats but their efforts prove them no such thing. Aristocrats do not strive, they have already arrived. Swing is a state of arrival

This state of arrival is like focusing on your present moment and your body. When you direct your attention to doing a particular task, that is the rowing action. There is a rhythm that you can feel out for yourself and you will quicken the pace if you give your body a chance to adapt. By taking everything one step at a time while refraining from wasting energy in frustration or "thrashing", you can get more done.

Substitute rowing with running or walking if you like.

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I'm right there with ya. Thing is with me, I get all this drive to do things when they aren't nearby or when it isn't possible. Then when the time comes, the motivation flees. I think it's connected to something else.

There were/are times when I get so intimidated; like there's something I need to do; even WANT to do. Let's say, arrive at an appointment somewhere. I'll get myself all psyched up the day before; even the day of. Then, I find myself sitting in the parking lot wondering why my pants are wet or, I just drive right by and go for fast food, encouraging myself by saying, "I'll do it tomorrow!" :o

Same thing happens with the, "To-do" list. When at work, I make all kinds of plans to work on my music when I get home. When I get home, I, "allow" myself to get sucked into something meaningless like sacking out on the couch in front of the idiot box or, getting online or immersing myself in some game.

Someone once used the term, "Approach Avoidance." It's as if there's something subconsciously keeping you from following through on things. A lot of times, it's fear of failure but it can also be fear of success, as strange as that may sound. And honestly, I haven't found the way to break it yet either because, I still have about 20 half-completed songs lying around. :P

A friend of mine has this expression that, "Sometimes, action has to precede motivation." Maybe make yourself accountable to someone; give them your to-do list and have them check up on you. That might be enough to give you the proverbial boot in the arse and get things moving. Once a pattern is started, it may be easier to keep it going.

I'm just sayin. ;) Let me know if it works; I'm going to McDonald's. Hehehe!!!

~ John

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John, that's great advice. When you can enlist the help of a good buddy to check-in on your progress there is a little incentive to do so you have something good to report.

I am sorry if my post was esoteric. The use of that quote did not make much sense when I first read it. I hope I made the point. I think it is great when people can get excited behind a project and start taking the steps to complete it. But, in my experience actively psyching myself up is exhausting. When I can sit down and do an action towards a goal, that sense of progress seems a little easier for me to enjoy.

About your sleep, have you tried sleeping without setting an alarm? The time you wake up normally will give you an idea of where your start point is. You can then set the alarm a few minutes closer to the time you want to wake up each day until you reach your goal. I tried to wake up cold turkey consistently at 6:00AM even though I usually woke up at 9:00AM. I needed months before my body actually adjusted.

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