Do you know that feeling of being in the zone? And that everything goes well?
You wake up early every day to hit the gym.
You write 500 words a day.
You make daily prospecting calls.
You journal profoundly, and never skip a day.
You don’t eat junk food.
And consequently, everything is going great in your life. Every productive person has been there. When you do the things you know you should do, you feel in control of your life.
Like Woody Allen says, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” And you’re showing up.
But, all of a sudden, something happens that disrupts your momentum. Maybe an unexpected setback that messes with your mind. Or an international trip that screws up your routines. Shit happens.
And now, you can’t do anything right. You wake up tired. You don’t feel like going to the gym. You don’t want to work. And you feel sorry for yourself.
Also sounds familiar? Well, it happened to me recently after I returned from a two week trip to Thailand. Here’s how I got back on track.
1. Don’t Resist
When everything is going right, you’re going with the flow. When everything is not going right, you’re trying to go against it.
We all know that it’s useless to swim upstream. So instead of feeling frustrated and being too hard on yourself, take it easy.
It’s a waste of time and energy if you try to go upstream.
If you’re unproductive for a while, it’s not the end of the world. It happens to the most productive people I know.
So if you’re feeling unproductive; make use of it! Have that ice cream. Sleep in. Don’t work out. Relax a little. Before you know it, you’ll want to get back to your productive routines. Being unproductive for too long sucks.
2. Recreate The Past
I’ve learned that looking back is only good for one reason: To learn.
If you’re off track, it’s the perfect time to look back.
Think of a moment you were in a powerful state of mind. A time when everything went well.
And try to be very specific. For example, I remember that I was recently sitting in our new office, talking with our accountants about finances. I had also just bought a new apartment, I worked out every day, felt very strong, and things were going well. I felt good.
Look at your past, and try to remember something similar. It can be anything. The day your child was born, when you got your degree, a raise, a new car, or asked your spouse to marry you, etc.
Now, sit down, and picture that moment vividly. What were you wearing, what fragrance did you have on, what was your body language? Try to be as specific as you can.
If you do that several times a day, you will notice that you start feeling that way again.
Feeling good is all in our mind. Within an instant, and without a specific reason, you can go from sad to happy, and from timid to powerful.
You have the power to control your mind. So why not use it?
3. Focus On Effort, Not Results
“Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.” Said Michael Jordan about playing professional basketball.
The NBA is one of the longest competitions in the world. Their regular season takes six months and 82 games. That’s excluding the playoffs.
And in basketball, many different factors influence the outcome of a game. Your best player can get two quick fouls in the first few minutes, and not see any playing time until the late second quarter. The refs might miss certain calls. You name it.
NBA teams, regardless of how good they are, will lose multiple games during a season. And it’s easy to allow a loss pull you into a negative spiral. That’s why a lot of teams that lose, keep losing.
Like the legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
I like that mindset. And you win by focusing on your effort, as Michael Jordan said.
But when you’re in a rut, it’s easy to focus on your results. You might gain weight, lose money, and not get the results you want at work, but you must never forget one thing: You will get back.
But that requires us to focus on our effort. That’s the only thing that brings us back. The results will follow automatically.
4. Plan Your Days Meticulously
“What should I do next?” Is what you should never think to yourself.
When you plan your days, you know what you have to do. And it’s very easy:
Look at your goals (if you don’t have goals, make them up)
Think about what daily activities you have to do to achieve them
Schedule those activities on your calendar
Also schedule time for family, friends, relaxation, reading, etc.
If you think people will call you a control freak, don’t worry. I’ve also met the people who claim they have empty calendars. They’re full of shit. Every happy and well-off person allocates time to their top priorities.
Whether they use their mind to do so or their calendar doesn’t matter.
What matters is that we need to perform the activities that bring us closer to our goals. You can have all the plans and goals in the world, but if you don’t know how you’re going to make them happen, you’re lost.
Dwight Eisenhower said it perfectly:
“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
That reminds me, I must go on with my day. I had scheduled the last hour to write this article. Now that I’m done, I have to move on to the next thing.
What’s next for you? Don’t know? How about making a planning?