We typically know what’s best for us but rarely feel like doing it.
I know working out is good for me, but I just don't feel like going to the gym this morning.
I know I'll feel better later if I eat a healthy meal, but I feel like eating that pizza instead.
I know I said I wanted to read more in 2020, but I don't feel like reading tonight.
If we let our feelings dictate what we do, we will diminish our confidence in showing up as the person we're committed to being (our Identity), which will in turn diminish the impact we aspire to create (our Why).
To have emotional stamina is to be fully aware that you don't feel like doing something but you do it anyway. You do it anyway because you're committed to taking action on what helps you show up at your best. You do it especially when you don't feel like doing it because you know feelings are usually not worth trusting and you're committed to [insert what you're committed to here].
I am aware of the fact that I don't feel like working out, but I'm going to go exercise anyway because I'm committed to being (insert Identity here) so that (insert your Why here).
I know I feel like eating that pizza, but I'm committed to being a (insert Identity here) so that (insert your Why here).
I don’t feel like reading right now, but I’m committed to being a (insert Identity here) so that (insert your Why here).
Let’s take a step back. What’s an Identity? And what is your Why?
In Atomic Habits, James Clear shares that the etymology of the word Identity translates to “repeated beingness." You can call yourself a dedicated runner but if you repeatedly skip runs to watch Netflix, you are not a dedicated runner. As you consider how you want to show up in the world, what does that look like? Who are you repeatedly being? What habits or practices are being done repeatedly that prove that you are indeed that person?
When creating my own Identities, I’ve found it helpful to tie together an adjective with a noun, as I did above with: dedicated runner. For example, my Identity as it pertains to Energy (my workouts, how I eat, how I sleep, the energy I show up to relationships with, etc.) is Radiant Athlete.
When I don’t feel like working out, I ask myself if a Radiant Athlete would skip a workout because they don’t feel like working out. They wouldn’t. Being conscious of my Identity and the way that type of person acts allows me to see when my actions are not in alignment. Then it’s on me to decide: do I want to be the person who repeatedly skips workouts? Or do I want to be a Radiant Athlete who exercises even when I don’t feel like it?
After bringing awareness to this decision and what it means, I'm typically ready to build emotional stamina and take action even if I don't feel like it. If I'm still convinced I invoke my why.
“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how." - Viktor Frankl
What is your why? Why do you do what you do? For whom do you do what you do?
Why do I want to be a Radiant Athlete? Because I want to be a beacon of what’s possible and bring radiant energy to those around me. I challenge myself physically to remind myself what I’m capable of.
Whenever I don't feel like doing something that I know is good for me, I make the connection between that action, who I'm committed to being, and why I'm committed to being that type of person.
Every time I choose to act in accordance with my identity instead of my feelings, I build emotional stamina and take one step closer to becoming the person I'm committed to being in service to my ultimate why.
Who are you committed to being? Why are you committed to being that person? And how are you going to choose identity over feelings today?
1. When is the last time you didn’t feel like doing something even though you knew it would be for your betterment?
2. If you were to repeatedly be the type of person that lets your feelings dictate your actions for what you answered above, what Identity would you create?
3. What Identity would you prefer to embody? Why does being and becoming that person matter?
- Grab a piece of paper and fill in the reflection questions above.
- The next time you don’t feel like doing that thing, decide to act in accordance with your Identity and do it anyway.
- Celebrate yourself and the emotional stamina you are building.
Let's do this.