There are two basic ways you can face your demons.
One is: “I sure hope I don’t run into any resistance as I’m trying to get the important thing done.”
The other, much better way is, you hunt the bastards down deliberately and specifically, and you enjoy it.
The solution to your weakness isn’t to devise clever strategies of negotiating with it or tricking it, but to walk up to it and punch it in its ugly face.
I have found this to be a rock-solid reframe.
Instead of hiding, dancing or negotiating with a tremendous monster, or worst of all, ashamedly pretending it’s not there, you make a game – a sacred mission, a damn jihad – of going after it.
And you do it in parts – as you read the next sentence, know that I am not on any illicit drugs, but: when you zoom in on the monster, it’s just a bunch of small vermin that you can pick off one by one.
The small gremlins can be pretty easily slain when you make a sport of it. And the Colossus of Suck that’s their aggregation grows weaker, and you grow stronger every time you do this.
Not only that, when you make it fun and/or existentially meaningful, you get little dopamine kicks every time, and build a reward loop around doing the right thing. You rewire your brain with repetition and reward. You’ll like and enjoy the process.
So you turn the tables and make the hunter the hunted. Turn the monster haunting you into the thing you hunt for sport.
Train yourself into a predator-prey dynamic.
In practice, this consists of actively looking for small stuff you can do to score small victories all the time.
When you see a sock on the floor, or notice the temptation to be lazy, you should react the way a sniper would react to the leader of ISIS walking into his scope.
When you think about your weaknesses, you should feel not fear, doubt or shame, but aggression and cold, calculating anger towards them.
When you feel your change resistance troll sapping at your resolve, you should lash out against it in self-defence.
Not moving around it, not negotiating, not listening to its arguments – looking the fucker in the eye and defiantly doing the opposite of what its telling you to do
So instead of treating the difficulty and mental resistance as a frustrating obstacle, you pick fights with it deliberately as a first-order good.
“Challenge yourself” is a cliché, but this is how you do it in practice. You turn moving against inertia into a sport, like one of those crazy yogi types who stand on one foot for fifty years. Overcoming the resistance is the quest.
This is an especially useful way to look at it for people who are prone to avoidance – the solution isn’t to muck with tangential, oblique, parametric nibbling at the problem.
The solution is a direct frontal offensive on the essence of it. The particular things that need doing – spreadsheets, socks, situps – are merely incidental to the main goal, which to go after the neck of the avoidance itself
The tasks that need doing are just holding the target for you at that stage. The target is the shitty habit itself. Welcome the opportunities to break it. It grows weaker every time you stab at it.
Suddenly, you’ll be thankful for the things on your to-do lists, because every one is psychologically like punching your worst enemy in the face. Which is indeed what you’ll be doing.
The monster is your worst enemy, it is what’s keeping you down and robbing you of the life you may have.
Also, as obligatory, buy me a beer.