Jan Kraus
27 June 2016Personal journal4 min read

Keeping the fire burning

Sometimes it’s easy to loose the focus. I get it all the time. One week is great, then next one feels like a two steps back. Sometimes good, sometimes hard. What is important, is to keep pushing forward.

I mentioned this before. I often don’t work hard enough for what I want to achieve. Trying once, stepping back into old habits. I feel like its really hard to stay on the track. Yet, I can easily see the patterns. I’m losing focus, because of “other things” that go into my way. The usual, standard excuses: “I feel too sleepy to get up early”, “I am tired to work out”, “I don’t feel passionate enough to work on that project”…

We all get this excuses. It’s hard to fight them back when we feel apathetic, stressed or tired. But this state is often a downward spiral. It is important to realize that quickly and act!

Light the fire

There are couple things you can do, that can put you back on the track. These work for me and may as well work for you.

Going for a run is somehow easy, yet most powerful sparkle. Maybe the initial step may be little hard. That dread feeling when you need to leave your comfy room, overcome the feeling when your brain is trying to stop you. But the moment you leave your doubts behind closed door is the moment you’re back on track. Feeling the vibe, the rush of energy when your heart starts beating faster. Of course, after 5 minutes you’re sweating, short of breath, already getting tired. Let it be. Ease for a minute or two, let the feeling settle and enjoy the moment. This is your journey. Use the time to sort out problems, to think about the plan for getting back on track.

Sometimes you'll find amazing views in the ordinary places
Sometimes you'll find amazing views in the ordinary places

Recently, I’ve started listening podcasts while running. I’m a big fan of The Rich Roll Podcast. He is interviewing awesome people on his show and this brings a ton of inspirations, encouragement, and positive energy. After an hour of listening, even though tired physically I feel charged mentally, buzzing with motivation and energy to do more! But beware. This fades quickly, so be prepared to keep that thing going.

Keep it burning

How to handle that “back to normal” feeling on the next day, is actually much harder challenge. I haven’t found any silver bullet solution yet. I am not even sure if it exists. Who knows. But I’ve gathered, the basics, which I know are working. You don’t have to do them all, but the more the better. These are actually kind of opposites of that “downward spiral” I’ve mentioned in the beginning of the article. Just keep the focus on them and you’ll find yourself on the way up!

  • Clean & healthy eating. Eat fresh, simple foods. I prefer plant-based diet, which I believe is the best and healthiest for humans. I agree, that it’s not easy to do it every day, so I also have better and worse days. But this is what I strive for!
  • Exercise. If possible, do it every day. Exercising bumps up your metabolism, your heart rate. It brings the feeling of accomplishment, success, and power.
  • Don’t drink alcohol. It may be fun for couple hours, but it’s a killer for productivity for the rest of the day and maybe even on the next day. I try to limit myself to occasional beer during the weekend.
  • Limit coffee. Seriously. Despite many jokes that programmers are machines converting coffee into code. Usually, I make one larger mug in the morning that lasts me to the noon. In the afternoon, sometimes I hit 2nd coffee, but I feel like this is already a bit too much.
  • Sleep well. It is not easy to make good sleep in our busy schedules, but it is important. First two “habits” I’ve mentioned before are affecting your sleep positively, the other two in a negative way. So basically, your sleep is a function of many factors. Try to make them play on your side. Having good sleep means that you’ll have more energy, more drive for all the things you do during a day.
  • Work on your side project. Having passion is what drives us forward. Spending hours on your side, hobby project can be rewarding and motivating. Working on things we care brings joy and happiness, so don’t ignore that.
  • Read. Can’t stress this enough. Reading should become an important part of your life. It opens your mind to new ideas, train your focus, expand the ability to think, analyze and make decisions. It’s still hard for me to find the time every day, but at least set aside one day in the week to read. Even preferably - read something offline.

Don’t give up when you fail

It’s not easy for me to actively maintain all those parts in my life. I often loose focus, giving up one, two, three or sometimes even all of those points.

But the important thing is - just that - don’t give up. You’ll loose 100 times. You’ll fail, you’ll forget, you won’t make it.

Such views are my rewards
Such views are my rewards

Don’t give up. Try again, and again. One more time, make an effort. And eventually, you’ll succeed.

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