What To Do When You Can’t Get Into The Groove

Today was one of those days. Sluggish. Unfocused. Namby pamby.

There wasn’t even a specific reason to point to: I’m 100% healthy, fully carbed, well-rested and pain-free, with plenty of interesting projects in the pipeline.

I tried the usual slew of strategies to get a mental jumpstart – calisthenics, watching a pep talk from Kid President, journaling, even a 10-minute nap – but simply could not get into the groove.

As high performers, we’re used to operating at, or close to, a high level on a consistent basis. So when we feel like we’re slacking, it’s frustrating.

If you know what I’m talking about (and I think it’s a common phenomenon as we come down from the holiday excitement and the burst of “new year” adrenaline fades), here are a few things to keep in mind:

It’s called peak performance for a reason.

We can’t always be gunning at full throttle; energy is cyclical and naturally ebbs and flow. Rather than struggling in resistance, learn to accept the inevitable.

Don’t make it an all-or-nothing proposition.

When you’re ebbing, by definition, there’s little momentum. So attempting to go from 0 to 100 will only be discouraging. Instead, scale back your ambition for the moment and work your way from 0 to 1 and from there to 3, and so on.

Still, there’s no need to write off the entire day.

Ask yourself: what’s ONE thing I can do today to feel productive? Out in the frigid cold after an evening meeting (what was I thinking, no hat!?), I was sorely tempted to head home instead of to the gym. I knew, however, if I got in at least a 30-minute workout, I would not only end the day on a high note – but also set myself up for a better start tomorrow. And that’s exactly what happened.

No more namby pamby.

p.s. Good news: you can now hear individual interviews from The Mental Toughness Summit 2013 at the podcast Mental Toughness for Mavericks. Learn how to develop the mental toughness of a super-achiever, disrupt yourself, be more curious and think like a Navy SEAL.

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