If I had to feel motivated to start a workout I would have done 23 workouts last year, not 230. If I had to feel inspired to start writing there’d be hardly any writing. Want to stop 20 minutes in, fine. But give yourself a chance.

On languishing and the art of showing up 🧵👇
Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of people are feeling tired, if not physically than mentally and emotionally. Psychologists call this LANGUISHING, “a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days." Everything is just kind of blah.
Showing up or taking action is simple enough when it comes to working out or writing. But what about when the feeling of blah is hanging over your life more broadly? What about when you’re languishing?

How do you “just get started” on an endeavor as broad as life?
Enter: acceptance and commitment.

Backed by over a thousand scientific studies, acceptance and commitment points toward defining your core values, or the stuff that matters most to you, and then showing up in service of those values day in and day out.

Simple, but not easy.
My coaching clients and I operationalize core values in the following way.

-First, we select them—no more than five, no fewer than three
-Next, we define each value in a way that is personalized
-Then, and this part is the key, we come up with concrete practices for each value
PRESENCE could mean meditation for 15 minutes Monday thru Saturday. LOVE could mean no digital devices on or nearby during dinner with one’s partner. HEALTH could mean 30 minutes of movement every day. INTELLECT could mean reading for at least 40 minutes 4 days a week. And so on.
Core values work is powerful because it gets you somewhere close to the equivalent of “just showing up” to workout or write. You don’t have to FEEL like getting out of bed or doing much of anything. You need only look to your values and then nudge yourself to practice them.
Values work is a process that takes you from your highest ideals down to how you spend the minutes of your day. From lofty nouns (core values) to tangible and concrete verbs (practices and actions).

Zen master Thich Naht Hanh: Your actions are the ground upon which you stand.
If you do something regularly, if it becomes a habit, then it becomes a part of your character. In this way, you can get from a list of core values to shaping your essential being.

The writer Annie Dillard: How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
You can’t think, feel, or will your way into a new way of being. But you can show up and act in accordance with your values. Sometimes you need a period of deep rest first. But inertia is strong, and eventually you’ve got to get going.

More details 👇👇
Glad to see this one is resonating.

For more on acceptance and commitment see the work of @StevenCHayes.

For more on languishing see this by @AdamMGrant: nytimes.com/2021/04/19/wel…

For more on the complexities of fatigue and rest, see below, by yours truly.outsideonline.com/2418310/why-yo…
And if you want more evidence-based content on peak performance, true well-being (not consumer "wellness"), sustainable success, and career advice give me a follow.

I post similar ideas and insights daily and threads like this 2x/week.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Brad Stulberg

Brad Stulberg Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @BStulberg

24 May
Go big or go home you often end up home. Go small and steady over a long period of time, and you often end up with something big.

Sustainable progress isn’t about being consistently great. It’s about being great at being consistent.
“In land of the quick fix it may seem radical, but to learn anything significant, to make any lasting change in yourself, you must be willing to spend most of your time on the plateau, to keep practicing even when it seems you are getting nowhere." —George Leonard
For most, the plateau is a form of purgatory. But to advance beyond the low-hanging fruit in any meaningful discipline—lifting weights, writing, running, meditation, training a dog, parenting, marriage; you name it—you must get comfortable spending time on the plateau.
Read 6 tweets
20 May
How not to become an egotistical jerk—do something hard and real.

Doing something hard and real humbles you. You have to earn your successes. And you can't just deny, rationalize, or talk your failures away.

When the bar drops, it drops. When the table collapses, it collapses.
It becomes quite unlikely that you'll get out of touch or full of yourself when you are working on something that is challenging and concrete, when your successes are earned and your failures cannot be rationalized or defended with corporate mumbo-jumbo or social media hot takes.
My most humble executive coaching client is also an avid woodworker.

When you are building tables in your basement you are going to get humbled over and over again. Tables either stand or they don’t. You can’t use power or money or relevance or fame to make a shoddy table stand.
Read 5 tweets
6 May
What if the way we've been thinking about change and disorder is all wrong? Perhaps there is no going back to the way things were.

Change is not something that passively happens to you, but rather something you are in regular conversation with.

Common pitfalls around change:

-Attempt to avoid it
-Refuse to acknowledge it
-Actively resist it
-Sacrifice agency
-Strive to get back to way things were

These pitfalls result from a historical homeostasis model, which says order -> disorder -> order.

But it's not accurate!
A better way to think about change and disorder is what scientists call allostasis, which literally means "stability through change."

Unlike homeostasis, allostasis describes a pattern of order, disorder, REorder.

It says healthy systems engage, adapt, and move forward.
Read 12 tweets
22 Apr
Teaching. Coaching. Parenting. Loving. Training. Managing. Leading. Creating.

Everything benefits from paying close attention. Paying close attention is the foundation to doing good—and by doing good repeatedly, you start being good—in all aspects of life.

Current ethos works against paying close attention:

-Quick fixes or "hacks" for everything.
-Hot takes on all subject matter, from murder to politics to Royal Family of England.

Happens most on social media but sadly, it's becoming increasingly common in major publications too.
We are, as the cultural critic Neil Postman first wrote in 1985, "amusing ourselves to death."

Makes you wonder: perhaps one reason that so many people are unhappy—and so many organizations, communities, and entire societies the same—is the degradation of paying close attention.
Read 5 tweets
19 Mar
Attachment to external validation. At best, a distraction. At worst, an emotional roller coaster that controls your life.

Everyone is susceptible. Three qualities prevent it:

When these are firmly in place, external stuff matters less.

Big three qualities:

1. Autonomy: some sense of control over how you spend your time and energy.

2. Mastery: tangible progress in meaningful work that can be traced back to oneself.

3. Belonging: a strong sense of connection to other people, places, or traditions.
When these three qualities are not firmly in place, we tend to substitute chasing external validation in a frantic attempt to fulfill us.

(Spoiler alert: it never does.)

Yet we still spend time obsessing about reputation, checking notifications, comparing ourselves to others.
Read 7 tweets
7 Mar
This is about as good and honest of an essay as you'll read on navigating the emotional swings, self-judgement, hope, despair, and ruts of the pandemic.

I am so glad that, of all things, this here twitter feed provided some help for @lindsaycrouse.
"You don’t need to feel good to get going. You need to get going to give yourself a chance to feel good."

This insight—the basis of acceptance and commitment therapy—changed my life.

It is so counter to the cult of positive thinking and wellness. But it's what actually works.
The stuff Lindsay writes about—judging herself for feeling good some days and then judging herself for not feeling good on other days—is a common refrain during COVID-19.

This pandemic has been challenging for so many people in so many ways. EVERYONE is going through something.
Read 7 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!