Jimmy and Suzie are running to the pub. They’re exhausted. Life came at them hard this week. Friends and family came at them with all kinds of problems. Then colleagues were challenging Suzie and it took all her energy to deal with them. Then, exhausted, she lost her wallet. That’s all the mental energy they have left in the tank.
Suzie suggests, “I could sure go for some pints after that week from hell.”
“Me too!” says Jimmy. So they spend the weekend blowing off steam with drinks. Pretty common, right?
Then Monday hits
Then they don’t sleep very well Sunday night because their bodies are still digesting the alcohol in their system. Suzie’s mind is spinning about the wallet, is someone stealing her identity? She’s thinking about the people challenging her at work. Are they trying to get her in trouble? Is her performance lagging? Then there’s all these friends and family with all these problems – she just can’t deal with it all!
Then she starts Monday already exhausted. Work is a struggle. She doesn’t have the energy. The week seems to bring more endless problems that she is always barely coping with.
What happened to Jim?
And Jim is barely able to support her because he is in the same boat.
Jim! Jim, you bastard! This is your cue!
The best thing Jimmy could do for Suzie is get on the right track in his own life. He needs to take the wheel.
Jimmy reads a few self-improvement books. Books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and The Miracle Morning. He starts avoiding bad food and drink. He’s getting exercise. He starts waking up early to work on the things he either truly cares about or to get a head start on the nitty gritty.
Most importantly, he sets up a routine so it’s not a struggle to muster the energy or to find the time to do these things. They’re just things he does every single day and before long his brain doesn’t feel like its spending any extra energy because they have become habits.
When Suzie sees the change she feels … relief. Finally an excuse to stop punishing herself. Finally a reason to change some of her own thoughts and behaviors. Finally the momentum she needed to go in a greater direction.
We all gravitate to impulses around us
How often are you flitting toward the habits of others? Can we do better in having our own drive that inspires others to join us?
When we think of our ‘train of thought’ we like to think of it as a single, continuous narrative.
But that’s not really true, is it? If you think back on your past year, you can think of all kinds of whims and flights of fancy and times you were carried away by streams of thought that have since expired. It’s like you went along one route through the maze only come back, more or less, full circle. And we kind of file that funny route we went down in the back of our mind, but choose not to remember it. It’s not part of the ‘canon’ of who we are.
Those were all impulses you acted on. They can be good or bad or neither. But since you want the best for your girlfriend, so you want the most immediate impulses to be healthy, constructive ones. You want to create the momentum of going towards greatness. Jim builds a little inertia. And Suzie joins in and that momentum gets really rolling.
It’s very easy for that energy to roll off course, though. So it’s important to have a plan and check it regularly.
If you want the best for your girlfriend, be the best for your girlfriend
It comes down to self-discipline. Fortunately, self-discipline is very sexy. Once you commit to self-discipline, you will figure out a program that works best for you.
But here’s some pointers:
- Read self-improvement books. Some people roll their eyes at these books because ‘there’s no way one book is going to make you rich and famous and successful, otherwise it would work for everybody.’ But that’s not what they’re for. Self-improvement books are simply to help already motivated people stay in a certain mind-frame, as well as pick up some techniques and perspectives along the way.
- Have goals and plans. In working toward these plans you build your momentum.
- Make To-Do lists every day. Make To Do lists. Short term ones, medium term ones, and long term ones.
- Be grateful. “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero
- Every day is another chance to get it perfect