To Overcome Barriers, Assist Yourself

I enjoy my drive home from my 6am HIIT class. Getting up at 4:55am is another story, but I’ve found a way to dependably get out of bed: I’ve hired myself as an assistant.

The night before, I prep for the morning. This includes setting up the coffee, filling my gym bag with a towel and a bottle of water, readying my clothing and shoes, and setting up the yoga mat for my myofascial release exercises. I do this practice before class to check in with my joints, any areas that need attention, and my energy levels.

I’ve found three benefits to hiring myself as an assistant. First, the evening prep has become a ritual for winding down for bed and helps me fall asleep. I nod off knowing all is good for tomorrow morning.

Second, with everything prepared, I can focus on my myofascial practice without distraction. In the morning, I grab a cup of coffee, get to my mat, and practice for 25 uninterrupted minutes. It feels great to focus inward, knowing all the externals have been taken care of.

Third, all the prep work helps me get out of bed when I’d rather just fall back asleep. It’s a sunk-cost fallacy argument, but it works for me: If I don’t get to class, why did I bother getting everything ready last night? I want to make my efforts worth it, so I get out of bed and head downstairs.

Write up a job description for your assistant with this question in mind: When you resist doing something you know can help you, where exactly is that resistance? What are the barriers to getting it done? It pays to be specific. The more specific you are, the better your job description will be.

When I did this, I realized why I didn’t want to get up in the morning: there was too much to do before class. When my assistant took over that part of it, my resistance lightened up considerably. I now get to focus on one thing in the morning, which is yoga, having completed the to-do list the night before.

He’s a pretty good assistant, and I’m happier at 4:55am.