“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning, and if it’s your job to eat two frogs. It’s best to eat the biggest one first.” - Mark Twaine
How to Be Productive
Do you want to know the difference? The difference between complete laziness, indecision, submission to our lower nature.
And the person that follows through on what they say. The person who overcomes temptation, stays the course.
It doesn’t rely on massive amounts of willpower.
It doesn’t rely on watching motivational videos or berating yourself into a no pain no gain mentality.
The answer lies in the start.
When faced with a struggle, the first instant is to flinch, to protect ourselves.
Think of a dog who gets a fright, it can run or freeze.
In modern life most of our struggles are now mental.
Force ourselves to the gym, complete work projects, balance more than a full time job with raising a young family. .
With endless distractions it has never been easier to procrastinate important tasks like exercising indefinitely.
Procrastination becomes a habit
“Chains of life are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”- Warren Buffet
Over time, delaying and procrastinating becomes the default action.
Procrastinate going to the gym until it is too painful to see yourself in the mirror. Or it’s so difficult to walk up a couple of flights of stairs.
That’s why the fitness industry is worth billions with the majority going on short term nonsense solutions like cling film wraps, detoxes and fad diets.
Removing old patterns and behaviours may be one of the hardest things in life. It is easier to sell the short term fix than it is to face our weaknesses.
My client Collette had the same problem. Raising a young family Collette knew the importance of exercising.
Before the kids, she found the time. Running on her breaks or training for 5k’s after work.
But then the family arrived and two kids later she found the same excuses.
The mornings were a blur from dragging herself out of bed to preparing lunches and getting the kids ready.
Collette would tell herself that she will train after work only to find herself exhausted from the long day.
She knew she needed to train. But she allowed the other tasks to pile up until it was late enough to talk herself out of exercising.
Collette liked her sleep. So to see her face when I said the only slot available was 6am was priceless
She has always been a night owl, always one to drag herself out of drag to the sound of the alarm at 7:30am
How the hell is she supposed to get up to train at 6am?
But after all the moaning and groaning and an americano or two, Collette would show up to her 6am session.
Some days I wouldn’t get a word from Collette, other days felt like a waste of time.
But no matter how bad Collette was feeling before the session,
She ALWAYS felt so much better afterwards.
She was getting into the habit of eating that big juicy frog every morning.
Eat That Frog
At times it felt like torture to drag herself up at 5am to lift weights.
Most would say no thank you to that.
But Collette was learning a valuable skill. The ability to start a difficult task straight away.
When you start straight away, you ignore the initial resistance to doing productive worthwhile work.
You side step the habit of procrastination.
Collette would start her day forcing herself up before the birds to lift weights.
After something like that the rest of your day will be easy.
Whereas starting the day poorly lets the gnawing anxiety of what you should be doing creep into the back of your mind, sapping energy.
When to Start
It doesn’t matter what time you start. The only thing that matters is that you start straight away.
The work doesn’t need to be perfect. Your only job is come hail, rain or snow, turn up to work.
Starting straight away and completing your task creates a new habit.
Releasing feel good chemicals into your brain. Those chemicals that leave you wanting more of what you just had.
Practicing a task when you aren’t motivated builds discipline. Discipline to turn up no matter how you feel is the difference between reaching your goals and constant stop starting.
So when you wake up tomorrow,
EAT THAT FROG.
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