OCTOBER 2, 2020

An idea about well-being: Easily attained comforts are the enemy of self-improvement. Said another way, the activities that improve our well-being are often harder to choose.

Example: I could go to bed or I could watch another hour of Netflix because the “next episode” bar is already loading. I could cook a healthy meal, or I could order something with less nutrition and expend no effort.

Application (how this idea plays out in my life): Paul Johnson (podcast episode coming soon) introduced the concept of activation energy to me. Activation energy is the energy required to start a new task or habit. Our brains can trick us and make the activation energy required for a certain task seem insurmountable. We must remember this is a façade.

Then, we must shortcut the energy required to start activities that have a meaningful impact on our well-being. I know training in the morning makes my whole day better. So last November, I built a gym in my basement. This cuts out packing what I need to take the gym, putting on a bunch of warm layers (in winter), shoveling my car out of snow and ice (also in winter), changing once I get to gym, and commuting to wherever I need to go after the gym.

Now, I just lay out my workout clothes the night before and go to the basement. No prep, no commute (other than some stairs). Far less activation energy to train. The end result is I workout more consistently and stick to an activity that contributes to my well-being.

Challenge Question: What activities do you want to do but have difficulty actually doing? Does the activation energy feel too high? How can you build shortcuts to make completing the activity easier?


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