There’s an old famous quote that goes something along the lines of “anxiety is living in the future.”
I generally believe this to be true. I believe that the root cause of most anxiety is thinking about the future and stressing ourselves out about it.
Thinking about the “unknown” and “what might happen”. Visualizing or anticipating stressful situations that have not happened yet.
BUT I also believe that there’s another underlying cause of anxiety and general unease about life. One that is sneakier than the forward thinking and goal oriented mind.
What is this cause?
Not doing the things we know that we should be doing.
I believe that many of us are stressed and anxious because there are habits we know we should be doing, but aren’t taking the time to do for ourselves.
The simple things we overlook in the course of a day. The habits that are easy to forget to do, but we know would have a positive impact on our lives.
This could be simple things like eating a healthier diet, exercising more frequently, or getting a good night of sleep.
It can also be the larger things – a job we don’t like, family members we put up with that we shouldn’t be, not setting boundaries that we know we need for ourselves.
It can also be bad habits we’re unwilling to let go of. Smoking cigarettes or eating unhealthy foods, drinking every night or smoking too much weed.
Despite the fact that we know we should kick the habit, we just can’t seem to find the inner discipline to do so.
THESE are the habits that are destroying your life. The things you know you need to do, but just aren’t doing.
I believe that most of us already know exactly what we want to change about our lives….but we just don’t do what needs to be done.
Then, because you know you should be doing it, and aren’t, you give yourself a feeling of unease and anxiousness that you know your life could be better but you aren’t taking the steps to do it.
Whenever I’m in a funk, it’s usually because there is some habit I’m not doing or some bad habit that I know I need to give up.
For example, whenever I haven’t written an article in a week, I start to get anxious. Why? Because I know that I want to be a writer and in order to make that a reality I need to WRITE.
Or sometimes I fall into the bad habit of smoking weed every day. I justify it by saying that it helps with creativity, or that it relaxes me, but then the next day the feeling of cloudiness makes me realize it just wasn’t worth it.
For a long time I’ve had horrible posture as well – If I sit at my desk slouched over all day I feel like shit at the end of the day because I know that I’m causing myself long term harm for my short term comfort.
In all of these situations I believe that the general anxiety and unease is caused by the fact that I’m disappointed with myself. I know the person I want to be, and I’m not being that person. I see the habits I’m clinging to and know I need to let go.
So what’s the solution?
It’s a pretty fucking simple one.
Stop being a bitch and do it.
Ok, that might be a bit intense for you – but I do believe it’s what is necessary.
As I talked about in a previous article, I still encourage you to love your flaws. To sit with the awareness of those flaws, thank you for how they may have helped in the past, be grateful for them…but the pain of those flaws should show you how badly you need to change. How you no longer want to inflict this pain upon yourself.
If you truly LOVE YOURSELF, do these things. Self love means taking medicine as we need to even if that medicine tastes like shit.
If you know what needs to be done, go fucking do it. No excuses.
You don’t need a coach, or some books, or a course, or a “tribe” (although these can help). You need to man the fuck up and get it done.
Life is really simple, we just complicate it. It’s as simple as a series of habits that might be uncomfortable or difficult, but will provide you immense benefits in the future.
It’s as simple as sacrificing instant gratification for delayed and long term gratification. It might suck in the present moment, but feel that suck, feel that pain, dive into it – because you know a better you lies on the other side.
Do what would make you feel good about yourself.
Do what gives you PRIDE.
Do the shit you know you need to do so that you can go to bed with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Do the things you know you should be doing but aren’t.
Also published on Medium.