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How to Enjoy What You Are Doing No Matter What

How to Enjoy What You Are Doing No Matter What

Ideally, we can choose to always do what we love without ever needing to think about the things we don’t like. That, unfortunately, is not the case in real world. There are times when we need to do something we don’t like.

Just think of the time when you were in school or college. While there were some modules you liked, there were usually also some modules you didn’t like. But you needed to work your way through all of them, not just the ones you liked.

Here is what Joel Spolsky wrote in Advice for Computer Science College Students regarding what he – as recruiter – looks for in resumes:

I’m going to look for consistently high grades, not just high grades in computer science. Why should I, as an employer looking for software developers, care about what grade you got in European History? After all, history is boring. Oh, so, you’re saying I should hire you because you don’t work very hard when the work is boring? Well, there’s boring stuff in programming, too. Every job has its boring moments. And I don’t want to hire people that only want to do the fun stuff.

As you can see, the ability to do well on things you don’t like is essential for success. It makes you perform consistently well no matter what. Such consistent performance will make you stand out among your peers.

Of course, we still need to motivate ourselves. We are more likely to perform well if we enjoy the process. While this might not be easy, here are some tips to help you enjoy what you are doing no matter what:

1. Look at the long-term benefit

Often, we need to do something we don’t like as a part of something larger which will give us big benefit in the future. For example, we take the modules we don’t like in college because it will eventually earn us a degree that gives us the opportunity to get a good job. It is unlikely that we need to do something we don’t like if there is no long-term benefit involved. By looking at the long-term benefit you will eventually acquire, the activity won’t look as bad as it is.

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2. Find what you can learn from it

I believe there is always something we can learn from every experience. If we can’t find one, that’s maybe just because we are too focused on the negative side rather than the positive. For example, European History which Joel talked about may help us learn from thousands of years of experiences so that we do not need to repeat the same mistakes people did. Besides, it can give us more potential common ground to connect with new people (especially with those who like history). If you really can’t find any, at least the experience teaches you to be persistent in any situation. That’s a valuable lesson in itself.

3. Think of doing it for someone you love

Love is a strong source of motivation. If you do something for someone you love, it’s very likely that you can stand even the most boring activity and even enjoy the process. So keep in mind that you do not do this for yourself, but for someone you love.

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4. Enjoy the interaction with the people

Your source of fun and enjoyment is not just the activity, but also the interaction with the people there. While the activity itself might not be very exciting, there might be a lot of rich experiences you can get from the interaction with the people. That’s also one reason to enjoy what you are doing.

5. Think and say something positive

If you keep thinking or saying that you don’t like an activity, there is no way you can enjoy it. Always think and say something positive. The points above helps you find positive things you can think and say about. You may think of the long-term benefit you will get, or the nice interaction you have with the people. Focus on these positive things; don’t ever think or say something negative..

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6. Gather with passionate people

While you may not always have the luxury to choose who you work with, whenever possible you should choose to gather with positive people. Choose the people who you know are passionate about the activity. Their passion would be contagious. They will give you the energy to stay positive and even enjoy what you are doing.

Donald Latumahina is an avid learner who blogs regularly about personal growth and effectiveness. Read his articles on 15 Tips to Stay Positive in Negative Situations, and 10 Ways to Increase Your Arbitrage Power.

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Donald Latumahina

Donald Latumahina is the founder of Life Optimizer, a self-improvement blog to help people reach their full potential.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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