The Toolbox Fallacy vs Being Unmotivated

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. 

Zig Ziglar

What does the toolbox fallacy mean? Well, you’ve probably fallen into this fallacy without realizing it had a name. The toolbox fallacy is when you disguise your procrastination with the excuse of having a lack of “tools” to get you started. A good example is, “I’ll start working out when I buy a Fitbit,” but you never buy that Fitbit and never workout. You use the excuse of not having that item to deceive yourself into believing you need the Fitbit “tool” in order to start your fitness journey. In reality, you can workout without the Fitbit.

The idea of “I need X in order to do Y,” is something I catch myself doing. This is easier for me to realize as I equate it to want vs need. When I hit a want vs need moment, I know to stop and think about whether or not I’m impulsively buying something or if I actually need it. Using this thought process for the toolbox fallacy has helped me realize how easy it is to make excuses for minimal things when I can easily complete. Another example of the toolbox fallacy is thinking once you have X, Y will come with ease. Just because you purchased acrylic paints and canvases doesn’t mean you’ll be an expert painter. The work still needs to be done once you get X. I have friends who deceived themselves due to thinking if they bought X, they’d become instant masters in Y. They either gave up or became uninterested as soon as the product arrived.

The toolbox fallacy and being unmotivated are, for me, two different feelings. “I need X in order to do Y” shifts to, “I’ll do it later.” When I’m unmotivated, I can’t gather the physical or mental energy to focus on one task. This results in not having the clarity to get started, knowing what I want to do, and the goal outcome. When I don’t have a clear vision, I become semi-frustrated and unmotivated. 10 percent of the time I complete a goal, whether it’s writing, painting, drawing, etc., I was able to visualize what I wanted to achieve and was physically and mentally ready to do it. It’s rare to have my mental and physical self align perfectly to feel beyond motivated. I usually have one or the other and enough partial focus to achieve my goal. This results in me becoming motivated as I go.

This post was sitting in my drafts for months with only the title and first sentence. Why? I wasn’t motivated to write it. Today, I had enough mental energy and focus to create this post. I had no idea what I was going to write, but the goal was to start typing and see where it went. The idea of starting is the easiest yet hardest thing for many to do. Quite sure everyone has their reasons. If you’re reading this and fell into the toolbox fallacy or simply unmotivated, I encourage you to just start. Grab that pen and paper and do a brain dump, Google search what you need to get motivated or inspired, play that song that gets you pumped, find your groove, and ride that energy wave.

Exercising By Default…?

Many people are talking about how they’ve gained weight during the quarantine, but I’ve dropped 10 lbs. I’m exercising by default… sorta. I feel as though if things were normal, I wouldn’t be working out as much. I’d probably have distractions or other excuses.

Since I’m freelancing and outside is closed, I don’t have much else to do but workout to avoid sitting all day. My New Year’s goal was to get in better shape, but before quarantine, my friends wanted to hang with me more than usual. Not complaining, but where were they when I was being a fatty? LOL. I’m not the type to hang with friends and eat a salad while they enjoy beer and fried food.

I’m not new to exercise, but during this time, I’ve noticed some things that have happened… mostly mentally.

My cravings change.
I start to crave the unhealthiest foods imaginable. Instead of reaching for an unhealthy treat, I workout. By the time I’m done, I find myself craving a smoothie or another alternative to what I was originally contemplating consuming. Usually I’d grab the cookie or order delivery and regret it later. Recently, I had a Dominos tab open with an order in my cart, but I had a cardio workout paused in my video player. I honestly sat for 30 minutes debating if I wanted to be bad or healthy. I chose to be healthy.

I divert my mind.
The most beautiful thing about working out is that my mind gets distracted. How many times have you found yourself stressing out about something and it goes away during your workout? People with stress and anxiety lean on exercise to give themselves a mental break from their worries of the day. I’ve had quite a few things to stress about and fitness has prevented one or two meltdowns.

Music motivates me.
Have you ever worked out to music and found yourself going to the beat? I could feel exhausted, but once my favorite jam comes on and the beat drops, I suddenly feel rejuvenated. Sometimes I’ll put my workout clothes on and pace around with a hot beat to get me going. Try to pick upbeat music during your intense workouts and slow beats during cooldowns, yoga, and/or pilates.

Who doesn’t want to burn calories?
I use a heart rate monitor and can view calories burned during a workout. If I’m at 450 calories, I’m often motivated to keep going to burn 500. As basic as that sounds, sometimes it motivates me to extend my workout… as long as I have the energy.

Confidence improves as my body changes.
According to the scale, I’ve dropped weight. I still have some fat to get rid of to see fully defined muscles, but I know I’m stronger. My arms are more defined. At one point, I would get tired doing 10 pushups on my knees. Now I can do 15 on my toes.

It boosts endorphins.
Endorphins are nothing, but neurotransmitters of your brain that make you feel good. When you workout, the production of endorphins is enhanced. Your mood automatically boosts or improves when these neurotransmitters are increased. Instead of taking a nap, I workout. If I feel sluggish, I’ll do squats or run in place to get the blood flowing and trigger endorphins.

I have a buddy who’s also working out.
It’s always great to have a friend who’s going through a fitness journey. She’s thinner than me and does different workouts, but that doesn’t matter. I only point it out because people have a habit of comparing themselves to people on different journeys. What’s important is we motivate each other and share great workouts we discover on YouTube. We haven’t seen each other face-to-face since February, but we’re both motivated to be in better shape the next time we see each other. It’s like we’re getting ready for a reveal.

 

The Perfect Day

I wake up at 6am and drink 2 cups of coffee.

I workout for 45 minutes then take a shower.

I prepare a light breakfast and eat while reading a book.

Do a DuoLingo lesson in Spanish for 30 minutes.

Listen to a podcast before I start my workday.

Video scripts get written and delivered to clients.

Play in Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro and create stuff I’m proud of.

Eat some more food while watching YouTube or Twitch.

Play video games with a glass of wine.

Read a book for an hour. 

Feeling amazing. That’s the perfect day.

Then go to bed.

This usually happens once or twice a week.

What usually happens…

Most days I wake up around 7am.

Turn on my computer and go to YouTube or Twitch and make a cup of coffee.

Each time I see an email notification, I brace myself for the generic job rejection email, but at least they didn’t ghost me.

I debate on whether or not I want to eat breakfast, skip it, or snack.

Open Google Drive to start writing video scripts, but I get distracted by who knows what.

No podcast. Just watching video game cutscenes to get me motivated to write. Yes, this works for me for some reason. 

Get the scripts done. Workout. Shower.

Scroll through Linkedin and Indeed looking for fulltime jobs during a pandemic when millions are now laid off.

Stress out that my unemployment is running low.

Try to figure out what I should have done and what I need to do with my life.

Debate if I want dinner. Odds are I skip it or snack.

Maybe watch a movie or play video games to calm my mind.

Hop into bed oddly feeling no regret about the day.

I still sleep well.

Every day doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to accomplish X, Y, and Z. Try your hardest to do what you can, but don’t beat yourself up if things remain on your list. The perfect day varies and that’s alright.

 

 

Random Word Challenge: Discouraged

Day four of my random word challenge!

Today’s word is “discouraged.”

If you’ve gone through life never being discouraged by anything, I applaud you. Do you have any advice? 😀

Honestly, I have to remind myself to not be discouraged each time I think of something creative. When it comes to creativity for clients or my job, it’s easy. When things get personal, I’m my own worst critic.

There’s always someone better than you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach yourself and up your game.

It’s easy to find people who are doing better than you, but how you view them makes a difference. I enjoy baking, painting, writing, and design. Whenever I see someone doing better than me in those areas, I can get discouraged, but what good will that do?  If anything, that’ll make me want to quit. Instead, I look at that person and know I’ll be like them someday as long as I keep improving my craft. Use them as motivation instead of being discouraged.

Random Word Challenge (2)

The last thing you want to do is look back and realize the same amount of time you spent self-sabotaging yourself, you could have been elevating your skills. It’s easy to fall into a negative space, but monumental when you can turn it around and use it as a driving force to do better.

Random Word Challenge: Chapters

It’s day three of my random word challenge. If you’re a bit confused, I’m using a random word generator to generate words in alphabetical order. Each day is a new letter and whatever word is generated is the word I write about.

Today’s word is “chapters.”

When I first saw this word, I couldn’t help but think of the chapters of life. I’ve met so many amazing people who have come and gone throughout my life. Whether through death or we drifted apart due to growing older. I’ve also met people who put on the facade of being good but they were narcissists, sociopaths, and downright disgusting people. There are some people I wish I’ve never met, but thinking back, they’ve only helped me get through the following chapters of my life.

Each person I’ve encountered in life is different and I’ve learned from them in some way. I’ve learned what real friendship is, what a user looks like, the subtle art of manipulation, how love feels, how love shouldn’t feel, and how my own personal values, morals, and worth plays a roll in all of my relationships.

I’ve known my closest friends for over 10 years. Although we’re still going strong as friends, we’ve had several chapters come to a close. These chapters include transitioning from teenagers to adults, going through our 20’s, helping each other through intimate relationships, arguing and disconnecting because of a disagreement, and reconnecting.

It’s amazing how we go through chapters in life learning little things, but we get the true ah-ha moment once we start reflecting. We may feel as though we ended a chapter, but sometimes we go back to it through memories and realize we’re still learning. After deep reflection, we end the chapter and feel more relief than when we first thought our minds were settled. Amazing how that works.

I’ve done some deep thinking over the past few years. Although I’m continuing with my life, my previous chapters are still there. Some more than others. Those chapters are the ones that are constant reminders to never put myself through something similar. One should never repeat a chapter of their life. Create new ones, but always remember the valuable lessons learned in previous chapters.

Exercise: I Hate it, But it Feels Good

Like many others, my new year’s resolution is to increase my fitness. So far so good, but damn I hate working out. I’ve never liked it but remind myself that I’m not a naturally thin person who can eat whatever I want. If I eat a slice of bread, I’m bloated for at least 48 hours.

As I put my workout clothes on, I pace around my apartment to gather my thoughts or listen to a hype song for motivation. I talk to myself out loud saying, “Get it done!” or “You always feel good after it’s over, so do it.” Every now and then I’ll let out a growl then proceed to laugh at myself because it sounds like a kitten trying to meow for the first time.

The problem is, I have to start the motion. Even if I’m not mentally ready, once I press play to start the warmup and my body begins to move, I gain motivation. Eventually, my mind catches up with my body and I’m dripping with sweat with the urge to workout longer. Despite never wanting to workout, I ALWAYS feel amazing afterward. Bad cravings prior to my workout transform into craving a smoothie. Funny how that works.

I personally enjoy cardio, but my body reacts better to HIIT routines. I’m currently doing Les Mills workouts mixed with P90x for strength training. Choose routines you enjoy so the workout doesn’t seem tedious.

I guess I’m writing this to say hey, it’s hard. Getting in shape isn’t easy, but it’s doable. Hang in there if you’re on a fitness journey. Six months from now, you’ll look back and be glad you didn’t quit.

 

Release Yourself from Expectations

The way we perceive the world is, in part, based upon our expectations. As we get older, we gain life experience and tend to expect certain behaviors, good or bad, from society.

I’ve learned through jobs, friendships, and intimate relationships that I cannot go into them bracing for impact or filled with excitement. I have to go in with zero expectations.

As I was researching essential oils and mental clarity, I discovered the term “shoshin.”

There is a concept in Zen Buddhism known as shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” Shoshin refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject. When you are a true beginner, your mind is empty and open.

This is possibly one of the most important concepts to live by!

I constantly tell myself to go into every setting with an empty cup. If I go into a situation with a full cup, I won’t be present. I would have already walked in with a preconceived idea of what’s going to happen, how I’m going to react, and how things will end. My expectations would mentally prepare me to get rejected, not be heard, and to not get excited. Yes, this can be viewed as self-sabotage, but when you have these experiences multiple times, you brace for impact. There have been times when I’ve built positive expectations and thought of all of the wonderful possibilities only to have it get shot down because I was anticipating a better outcome.

With shoshin, you live your life with an openness which causes less anxiety. Whether you’re going on a date, you want a particular job, or something else you have a yen for, toss it into the universe and go with the flow. Conceive positive thoughts, but don’t fill your mind with the good or bad that may or may not happen. If it’s meant for you and you put the work in, it will come.

Keep your mind open, expect nothing, look for the good in each situation, but most importantly, keep your life moving.

Blogtober: Mission Accomplished!

I DID IT!

This is my 31st article for the month of October officially completing Blogtober!

I took on the challenge on October 2 with no idea what to write. My website sat dormant for quite some time and I wanted to get back into the groove of writing. As a result of Blogtober, I purchased a domain and chose a theme. Something I’ve procrastinated doing for years.

I’ve never been this active on my site and I don’t plan on stopping. It feels good to get back into writing mode. I feel beyond accomplished right now. As basic as this goal was, I feel like I’ve done so much more.

Due to not planning my content in advance did add some stress because I didn’t want to fail. Two or three pieces of content were fillers and I feel a little bad about it, but my goal was to stay active. I mentioned in my progress article that I may do something similar again because it’s a great challenge.

I fell a little behind and posted three pieces of content today. Go ahead and judge me. Ha! I didn’t have to work yesterday or today, so why not make things more intense for myself during the final day.

If anyone reading this participated in Blogtober, how did you do? If you didn’t participate this time, give it a try! You don’t have to wait until October 2020 to do it.

Why is Blogging So Intimidating?

I’ve had this blog for quite some time. I’ve blogged for about a month, abandoned the site for a year, blogged again for about a week, then forgot about it again. Why? I honestly have no idea. This site was originally something else, but I exported my food content here. I don’t remember what I was doing with this site, but here we are.

I decided to challenge myself by participating in Blogtober. This would force me to write at least 31 posts during the month. This challenge has resulted in me being the most active blogger I’ve ever been. I think I’m one or two posts behind because life happens, but I’m still writing.

My ideas for blogs have changed so much because I felt I needed to write about one particular topic, but my mind is always thinking about a variety of things at any given moment. Why limit myself to one topic? This particular site is about anything and everything that comes to mind and I’m satisfied with this choice.

I understand why blogging is intimidating. I still feel intimidated. Sometimes I don’t know what to write. I automatically think my content has to be life-changing, have educational value or meaning. In reality, that’s far from the truth. Most people like to read blogs as if they’re reading about a friend. It’s all about a personal touch or connection. Be yourself. Write about your day, thoughts on what’s happening in the world, favorite TV shows, etc. Don’t write about heavy topics if that’s not what you enjoy.

Writing is similar to being an artist. You may have a great idea, but the white space on a canvas makes you instantly forget what the idea was or how to begin. You don’t have to be organized. Just start jotting things down. Don’t worry about the order in which to write. You can figure that out later. There have been several times where I switched the placement of paragraphs after writing because it flowed better.

Blogs don’t have to be lengthy. Start off writing 300 words. Over time, your fingers will glide across your keyboard with little effort.

All you have to do is start! I don’t have an editorial calendar, but if you like to be organized, think about what you want to write about in advance. You don’t have to post every day. Start with twice a week. Don’t make blogging a chore. When you look back at your blog, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come in consistency and writing style.
Don’t be intimidate. Just start writing. With consistency, you’ll develop the habit in no time.