We use the phrase “I’m just not feeling it” for everything these days. I’m just not feeling yoga this morning, Christmas this year, chicken tonight — you get the idea.
I know what else you’re not feeling…
- You don’t want to start a weight loss program right smack in the middle of winter.
- You’re not feeling diet food at all.
- You struggle to be productive after 3 pm, and
- You’re not up for sex after a stressful day.
Of course, by you, I’m talking about the average person. In all of these situations, you (the average person) are making decisions based on how you feel.
Winter is when nature and non-human mammals hibernate so no part of you wants to START exercising then. Which means that new year’s gym membership was a waste of your money. Sorry about that!
As for traditional “diets”… you know the problem with them right? There’s no joy in them and no joy in eating tasteless foods. What you really want are more sensible ideas to eat nutritiously… and to do it gradually until you can catch up with the Avocado crowd.
By 3 pm, most people’s willpower has clocked out (on weekdays anyway). And having sex when you feel stressed? Forget about it! Well, that could work out for you actually, but if you’re not feeling it, you’re not doing it.
That’s the nature of emotions
I know all this because I have emotions too and study human behavior for my work. With free will, it’s hard to get us, humans, to do anything we don’t have to when we don’t want to. So you’re behaving normally in all these situations.
Emotions drive our actions on almost everything.
That’s why taking care of your emotions is the best resolution you can make. And it’s why you may want to shift gears right now and back off any resolution you’re just not feeling and take care of your emotional life instead. In a few weeks or a couple of months, you’ll come back to your resolutions better prepared for most of them. Actually, there are a few more helpful steps that we teach like making a plan (including planning for failure), but being in a better place emotionally is the most crucial part of sticking to any new habit or goal.
The emotional connection
Our emotions drive our decisions. When we feel good, we’re motivated and not so much when we’re not.
If you have things you want to accomplish, getting a minimum amount of feel-good vibrations should be worked into your life. Just like you plan when you go to sleep, when you eat and make sure you hang out with friends, you should block time for your emotional and mental well-being. More than any productivity hack or success tip, emotional stability will help you stay on track and reach more goals.
Doing the work
To keep your spirits up, today I’m sharing 20 habits I recommend often. Use this list to start thinking about how you might design an emotional self-care plan that’s just right for you. Plan how you will do the work.
I suggest you start with the no-brainers like dressing well and getting adequate sleep. Next, look at habits that might require a little more planning like networking and spend an afternoon coming up with ways to make those happen. Finally, work on the harder stuff like getting organized.
My 20 habits to keep your emotions up
- Dress well.
- Sit up straight and maintain good posture. To learn why you should, see Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk if you’re one of the few people who hasn’t seen it yet. Between YouTube and the Ted site alone, it’s been viewed more than 65 million times (to date).
- Get adequate sleep. Oh boy, the science on why this important is staggering.
- Do stuff that makes you feel alive like kick-boxing, rock-climbing and chatting up strangers.
- Get sunshine for at least 30 minutes every day. Also scientifically proven to improve mood and well-being.
- Eat for your brain. Foods like eggs and avocados aid concentration, and yes, leave you in a better mood.
- Drink adequate water and check out these tips to make the habit if you need some help.
- Move about more during the day.
- Spend time with people you like.
- Listen to music without distractions, i.e. put down your phone for 30 minutes and get into the lyrics.
- Work on your networking skills by putting yourself out there to meet new people.
- Nix the clutter.
- Lose the critic in your head.
- Put an end to gossip and judging others. These are really judgments about yourself masquerading as pet peeves and jealousy.
- Have sex (at least 2x a week is recommended).
- Care for something be it a plant, an animal, a cause, or a person in your life.
- Read more and make learning a regular thing.
- Talk out your problems. If you can’t discuss issues with the person causing you grief, grab someone to talk it over with or go to a site like Quora and ask for advice.
- Cook, play an instrument or find some type of hobby you can enjoy at least once a week.
- Believe in your damn self.
If you take care of your mental and emotional health, there is virtually nothing you cannot accomplish, this or any year!