We all know the expression “fake it till you make it”. It’s not one of my favorites but I fully agree with the message. My interpretation of it is that even if you don’t feel like it, you do it anyway.
In his new book, The Practice, Seth Godin talks about the importance of doing our work whether we feel like it or not. As someone who has written a blog post every day for over a decade as well as numerous books, he knows what he is talking about.
If we only do our work when we feel like it, how long will we have a job? Will we ever meet any of our goals? Of course not. Ask anyone who is or has been a runner if they only ran when they felt like it. Or ask Elon Musk if he only worked when he felt like it. Feeling like it is extremely over-rated. It’s in the process of working that we start to feel like it.
This also applies to our mental health.
We have to show up for ourselves even when we don’t feel like it. This comes down to one concept. We have to have discipline. We need discipline not only to achieve things like running a 10K or getting an education. We also need it when it comes to taking care of our bodies and our minds.
We can’t eat two bags of potato chips a day and expect to be thin and healthy. We also can’t binge watch television, pick up our phone constantly and engage in viewing other people’s perfect images of themselves on Instagram if we expect to feel good about ourselves and our lives.
Each of us has a responsibility to have discipline when it comes to what we allow into our psyche. As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out” and the garbage out in this instance is how crappy you feel after seeing and hearing all of the targeted junk that is reinforcing whatever negative mindset you have at this moment.
Artificial intelligence is out there. It knows how you feel based on what you look at online and guides you to more of the same when you’re on the internet. If you aren’t familiar with this, watch the movie “The Social Dilemma” to see how we are being groomed into following the same patterns over and over again.
If you want to be happy. If you want to enjoy your life. If you want to be a good partner or good parent or good employee, you have to have discipline when it comes to your thoughts. And your thoughts are molded by what you allow into your mind space.
So take charge today. Make one small change that shows yourself that you can have discipline even if you don’t feel like it. Deny yourself one moment of indulging in an old thinking pattern. Or clean up that bathroom that you know you should have cleaned up two weeks ago. Or eat that orange instead of that cookie. Small steps. Small acts when you don’t feel like it. It all adds up to a happier you.