Here’s an example of how the “inactivity before activity” method works.
My whole life I’ve found it very hard to get myself together after waking up in the morning. It doesn’t matter if I sleep 10 hours or 4. It doesn’t matter if I get up at 7 am, 9 or noon. I wake up feeling chewed over and spit out. For an hour or two, I drag myself around feeling like an invalid, and then I’m fine.
It’s not even an age thing. I was exactly like this at 14. But it’s definitely not getting better with age, that’s for sure.
So I came up with a plan. If I get up 40 minutes earlier than usual, go for a run, breathe deep on the veranda while having coffee, and then take a shower, I’d short-circuit the waking up issue, and avoid the problem.
It sounds good but utterly fantastical from my perspective. I feel really shitty in the mornings. If you haven’t experienced it, you wouldn’t get it. My knees shake, I drop things, my head feels like it’s been filled with damp cotton wool. “Get up earlier and run” sounds akin to “sprout wings and fly.”
But I did it. Today is the second day I’m getting up early, running, going on the veranda, the whole thing. It happens easily, as if I’ve always done it. And it works. At 7 am, I feel almost as good as I do at 7 pm. (People like me are at our peak between 7 and 11 pm).
The way I did it was that after making the decision, I didn’t try to get directly into putting it into practice. I would have failed if I had. Instead, I did a lot of silent contemplation. Staring at the crowns of trees really works for me. Looking at the clouds. Observing how the wind moves the flags. I wasn’t thinking about my plan. Or anything specific. I let my mind and body catch up with my rational decision-making process. They did, I felt ready, and the plan worked out easily.
I also didn’t believe the method would work before I tried it. It sounded kooky. But it costs nothing, and I was kind of desperate. I’m stunned at how well it worked.