A bad day is all it takes to derail you. Or is it?
Yesterday was what most people would consider a bad day. My phone broke at the gym (irreparably so), my car turned out to be more broken than I thought, and my joints hurted like they were telling me, „Dude, just stop“. So I listen and stopped; I didn’t complete my bench press sets and went home. Now, if I relied only on motivation, I wouldn’t be in the gym today, completing what I had to do in my program. But I was. It would be easy to say that it was discipline but in psychology we don’t deal in absolutes and a little introspection actually goes a long way.
The Wisdom of Elsa
There is an aspect of discipline that many people overlook. And it is the ability to reset. You’ve probably heard the common IT saying, „Have you tried turning it off and on again?“. While we are a bit more complex than computers, this saying can be applied to us, as well. What does resetting constitute in the context of human beings? It is the ability to „leave the past in the past“ (in the eternal words of Elsa from Frozen) and proceed with your current day to the best your ability. You’ve had a bad day (terrible, really), you go to bed, wake up and proceed with the other. This is a skill and skills are improved by training and repetitions but it is learnable by any mentally healthy person.
Next time when you get out of bed try and treat your past as if it hadn’t happened at all. Start slowly, try to forget days that were not as bad as they come, and expand. You might as well start feeling and functioning better.
In the end…
This is a topic that will come up often in the blog. Willpower is like a muscle, and muscles are trained with progressive overload. The ability to reset is an important part of this imaginary muscle and the more you practice it, the easier it will get. In the end, living in the present is one of the best presents you can gift yourself.