Remember that movie Inside Out? It’s a fun Pixar film where Riley’s emotions are personified and direct her life from the headquarters of her brain. While Joy is usually in charge, the other emotions get their turn at Riley’s control board, too. She’s offered broccoli as a toddler, and Disgust steps up to the controls as she knocks it off the table. As a pre-teen, she has a bad day at school, and Anger grabs control as she lashes out at her parents.
While expressing feelings can be healthy, relying on our feelings for action can lead us away from broccoli and straight to the freezer for another helping of ice cream.
Think about the last time you wanted to incorporate something new into your life. Let’s use the example of working out, since it’s a familiar experience for a LOT of people this time of year.
Since college, I’ve been a casual exerciser meaning I’d dabble in occasional exercise when the mood struck, or if a beach vacation was coming. Then March 2020 struck, and I knew I needed to up my game so I could be healthy & strong for whatever that crazy year brought my way.
I had tried at-home morning exercise before, did it a few days a week, but often was too tired or just didn’t feel like it, and would hit snooze for a few extra zzz’s. I would tell myself I’d catch a Zumba class or go for a run after work instead.
In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have actually felt like working out at 5:20 in the morning. Consistency comes when we stop asking ourselves how we feel in the moment, but instead think back to the commitment we made, and honor it.
For the first time in my LIFE, I committed to working out EVERY workday BEFORE work. It wasn’t a resolution or goal or target. I had an important why, and a commitment to a very important person – me!
And if I choose not to make my workout date, it better be a reason beyond feelings like illness, an early flight, or vacation. Why? Because I am person who does what they say they will, an honest person, a person who keeps their commitments.
Fast forward to 2022 – I find myself rising from the sheets and slipping on my sneakers without giving my feelings a voice in that moment.
But what about taking action for a better work week?
Feelings are at work here, too. What actions are we NOT taking consistently because we don’t feel like it?
- Identifying a top priority for the day?
- Planning the week ahead on a Friday?
- Blocking time for lunch, deep work, and end of day wrap up?
- Batch processing e-mail instead of the constant inbox hovering?
- Or starting work on that goal we just set for 2022?
While we may have excuses that sound justifiable like not enough time, or that won’t work in my job – a lot of it comes down to not feeling like it. Just like daily exercise, consistency with work actions needs a clear why, commitment, and practice (NOT perfection).
There are nearly 100 of us practicing excellence together with the 60-day Micro Action Challenge.
And whether you join in, or just want to go after that one thing that was mentioned in your performance review, don’t ask your feelings.
Make a commitment, build a plan, and work at it consistently.