6 Techniques to Get You Up and Moving
How many times have you found yourself sitting around and thinking about all the things you need to do? Maybe you made a life plan. Now you’re going to get up and go for a jog. Now you’re going to get up and fill out those job applications. Now you’re going to get up and wash that moldy dish sitting in the sink. But first, you need to just finish this level, comment on this facebook status update or take a quick nap.
I have been in this situation too many times. There is so much I want to do that I shut down and browse the internet instead. But at some point, I know I’ve got to get up and do something or else nothing will get done. Life will pass me by and before I know it my kids will have grown up and gone off to college. I’ll be sitting in some nursing home listening to the nurse talk about what a mess they found my home in when they finally got me there.
No one wants this. We all have our ambitions and our passions, but why is it so hard to get up and get started on them? Maybe we’re chronic procrastinators. Maybe we’re bored. Maybe we’re depressed. Maybe things just aren’t quite right at the moment. We all have our excuses, but nothing will ever get done if we keep making them. Usually, all we need is the right push, that first step to get started on changing our lives.
What can we do about it?
There are several methods for battling procrastination and boredom. Initially, it might take a lot of effort to get up and get moving but after a while you will find that it becomes a habit. Here are a few techniques you can use to get that initial burst of energy.
1. Berserk Mode – Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness wrote a fantastic article about getting over fears by going into “Berserk Mode” – a 20 second burst of energy you use to get over that initial fear you might have before doing something. I found this to be incredibly effective not only for overcoming fear but for overcoming laziness. Instead of thinking about all the things I have to do, I just go into Berserk Mode and start. Usually, by the time I’ve begun, I’m not going to stop whatever it is I’m doing. Use this method when starting anything that you might hesitate on.
2. Tibetan Tonglen – Tonglen is the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual practice of sending and receiving. The idea is that you take in the suffering of others and you send out the happiness to all others. However, Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun has taken the practice a bit further in her book Start Where You Are She advises that you take an aspect of yourself, some sort of “negative” emotion or action that you find it hard to let go of and you breathe it in. Then you breathe out peace and calm and happiness. I find that this practice works with procrastination. Whenever I notice that I’m procrastinating, I take a few moments to breathe in the laziness and the anxiety and I breathe out the calm and controlled. Usually, just noticing what I’m doing gives me enough motivation to get up and get moving.
3. Make the next step a simple one – Instead of thinking about how you have to get up and exercise or wash those dishes or whatever it is you need to do, think about just doing one very small step. If you think about how you have to exercise, you’ll never get up and get moving. But if you think about how you need to put on your shoes and that’s it, you might find it a little easier to get up and get going. Sometimes, just standing up can do the trick.
4. Fake it – Let’s say you’re in the middle of a video game but you know you need to get up and do something. The best thing to do is to pretend that the thing you have to do is better than what you’re already doing. Tell yourself “Oh! This is the most awesome thing that I have to do! What am I doing wasting time with this?” Actually smile. Maybe bounce in your seat a little bit. Psych yourself out. Become the person you want to be right then and there. Soon enough, you will be excited enough to move.
5. Become a Yes Man – Sometimes we get so far into the habit of saying “no” that we don’t even realize we’re doing it anymore. Before we know it, we get complacent with where we are. Later, we realize that we’ve spent so much of our lives sitting around doing nothing and we don’t know where we went wrong. Though I’m not a fan of overbooking yourself to the point of stressing, I think that some of us have a problem with saying “no” too much. After reading Yes Man by Danny Wallace, I realized how often I say no to things. Then I sit around and wonder why I have nothing to do. When I started saying “yes” I found myself (even if I was reluctant at first) enjoying myself and learning new things. Try saying “yes” to the next thing you’re asked and see where it leads.
6. Play pretend – Remember when you were a kid and you would pretend to be your favorite super hero or cartoon character? When did we stop doing that? We should totally start doing that again. Do you think Wonder Woman or Captain America would sit around on the couch and think about how they really should go out there and fight some crime, but maybe after they finish House of Cards? Probably not. So pretend you are your favorite hero and get out there and do something heroic! Even if it’s just pretend. Why not have a little fun?
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” – Chinese proverb
Do you have any tried and tested ways that have helped you get up and get moving? If so, share some in the comments.
Photo source: Skeleton on my couch! by Karthik C