Jan 30, 2019:  ~ 4 min read

Sticking to your responsibilities builds confidence

The last two weeks I managed to build myself a pretty stable sleeping cycle, from ~10pm to ~6:30am. All without using an alarm.

But last night I went to bed to ~11:45pm and woke up at ~8:20am. Still with no alarm, which means the body is rested enough.

But today was so hard. I felt exhausted. I was in no mood to do anything. I didn’t feel like writing today. I had no idea what to write (although I have quite a few ideas stashed) and I didn’t feel like working. This is the reason I’m posting so late …

But I finally sat down. I finally started writing. I still didn’t feel like it. I knew it’s not going to be one of my best posts, but I still went for it.

Out of all the ideas I have lying around, I actually ended up writing about my struggle today, because it was an important step forward.

Every time you don’t feel like doing something that you should, every time you feel exhausted, or don’t feel ”well enough”, but you still do it … it’s a win.

How so?

The brain has lots of tools at its disposal. When it doesn’t feel like doing something, when your energy is low and when your willpower is almost depleted, your brain will use all those tools to make you not do what you have in front of you.


Because it’s easier not to. It’s easier to waste time. It’s more energy efficient for your brain if you lay in the bed, take a nap, or watch a movie. And, from a survival perspective, it’s also safer, because if your brain can conserve energy, you’re better prepared in case of emergency, for the brain, at least.

But, on the other hand, this whole ”I’m not in the mood to” is also a habit. Every time you give in and don’t push through, the habit grows stronger and stronger. Of course the reverse is true, as well. Every time you push through, it grows weaker and weaker, which means it will be easier to overcome in the future; it will be rarer and rarer.

The general advice is that if you set yourself a goal and you don’t feel like it, or maybe you don’t feel well enough to do it, you should do the best version that you can at that moment, even if it’s objectively crap.

In Superhuman by Habit, Tynan gives an example where if your goal is to write 500 words per day and you’re in such a bad shape that you simply can’t … write 500 random words. It’s still better than doing nothing and it keeps your routine going.

I was writing about this as well in my Reddit post, where I was saying that most of the time we feel "too tired", we're actually not in the mood. The brain is trying its best to make us not do the task in front of us.

But let’s say it’s true and you truly are exhausted. If you do manage to push through, a feeling will start to emerge: ”If I managed to do x when I was exhausted, it means I really care for x; it means I can do it anytime and _all the time_”. This boosts confidence and further cements the activity.

I know I could’ve done better. I know this isn’t too long. But it’s a living proof that I pushed through, even when the day was long and hard.

So … Do the thing you should be doing, even if it’s not great in and of itself. The fact that you’re managed to do it matters more than you think.

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