How To Keep Going When You Don’t Feel Like It

This has literally been the hardest post I’ve ever written.

Not that it stems from something deeply personal or anything like that, but it’s has literally just been very hard to write.

I sit down at my computer and get ready to write it and I just keep finding other things to do. My hands don’t want to type and my mind isn’t putting up much of a fight.

A quick search of google gives me reasons supposedly why I’m having trouble writing [none of them apply]:

  • Lack of passion [still passionate and on track for my goals]
  • Lack of traffic [just wrote the most trafficked article ever on the site]
  • Lack of money [I don’t have any money problems]
  • Lack of things to say [I have a whole notebook filled with ideas to write about]

I’ve just been resisting writing for one reason:

It’s hard.

In writing, in sports, in life.

Sometimes its just plain hard.

You get tired, you get worn out, and you don’t feel like finishing what you set out to do.

If you try to do something impossible, it will happen to you. Guaranteed. When you get there, here’s what you can do:

Lean Into Your Network.

Take a step back, look at those guys you’ve surrounded yourself with and get inspired. I’ve been kicked in the face four times in the last 24 hours by stuff I’ve heard/read/seen by guys I respect a ton. I’ve been sort of coasting, tired out, wanting a break, but then yesterday…

Brett posted this on twitter

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” ” – Muhammad Ali

I’m great at applying that to physical challenges, but with things like writing, for me it’s hard. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes I hate it, and sometimes you could say “I suffer” but I keep doing it because honestly I want to do and it’s something that’s worth doing because there’s a larger picture.

Then Sean wrote about that larger picture when he talked about how he wants to have a “glory life,” not just a few glory days to look back on. Why just have a few awesome days to look back on? Why not have them all be awesome? Why not have an awesome life? That’s what I want.

I thought back to a conversation I had with David Crandall [one of my favorite bloggers, for his transparency if nothing else] when he was talking about how he “hit a dip.” I realized when I went back and re-read that post that it happens to everyone. Everyone gets tired. Everyone gets worn down. When you go off-road and try something new, you hit ruts, it’s expected. It’s part of the deal. Dig into your network. They’ll help you out. Big time.

Remember Your Purpose

Reading those articles was a starter, but the kicker was when I listened to Mark Lawrence’s interview on Blogcast FM. I haven’t actually ever met Mark in person, but when he was talking to Sri, it was like he was telling me directly why I’m even bothering doing any of this. Mark and I haven’t even talked besides exchanging tweets, but during his interview he said four distinct things that I have literally thought and/or have written down in the last four months since I’ve started this blog but forgot:

  • “My blog is a tool to enhance my life.”
  • “Sometimes when you’re busy preparing for the future, you forget about today.”
  • “What’s safe is boring and a lot of times, it’s not even safe.”
  • “Every excuse that exists…is just an excuse.”

It’s as if Mark was just saying “Hey Joel, this is why. Remember? Now start doing it!”

Lay Out Your Plan of Attack

I’ve been lacking a specific plan of attack for the blog. I’ve been writing mostly as things go and I like that, it’s part of my journey, but I also want to be more strategic. I need to be more strategic. In order to get after my goals and do the things I want, I need to have a plan. I’m going to be laying things out much more clearly for my impossible list, but also for the blog in general.

Get After It

Hustle, Hustle, Hustle. Plans don’t do much good without action. I’ve got a notebook full of ideas just sitting around being ideas. It’s time for them to be something more than that. Now’s the time to make it happen.

50 posts down. Lots more to come…

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  1. says

    It hits us all brother!! … The motivation comes and goes… It’s just the ebb and flow of life. For me, I just let it come when it comes most naturally. If not, it really doesn’t come out the way I want anyways.

    But for some things in life, you just gotta keep at it no matter how much it sucks. Get after it and keep moving forward!

    Love the post bro…


    • says

      Thanks man!
      I think realizing that it’s a natural thing has been one of the keys for me. It happens to everyone and sometimes there are just days [or even weeks] that you’re just “off.” You just gotta keep at it, push through and get back on track.

  2. says

    I agree, its one of the hardest things to do, actually getting up to do something. I’m just really bad about not making excuses, and I always seem to find a reason not to do something.
    I guess there is no magic pill, you just have to get used to growing a pair and executing whatever you planned.
    After reading this, I’m going to start a to-do list, just so I can keep track of what I need to do next.

  3. says

    To be honest with you, I’m at that point right now. Still, I’m wise enough to know that this is part of the challenge of achieving something. When I feel like giving up, I ignore the resistance of my mind and do what I have to do. My mind may control my thoughts but I have the command of my body.

    No matter what, just do it. :-)

    • says

      “My mind may control my thoughts but I have the command of my body.”

      Exactly Walter. I love that mindset. Keep going & do what you have to do. Let me know if I can help!

      p.s. You might be interested in an earlier post I wrote – “Screw it & Do it

  4. says

    Hey Joel! I love this! There are many distractions along the path of our life journey. How we manage those distractions says a lot about our passion for what we want to be doing. I like the 3 keys you laid out here when our focus weakens. Remember your purpose. Look for inspiration in those we look up to. Make plans and execute on them.

    You’ve helped remind me of my purpose.

  5. says

    Hmm…how is it that you and I have such similar tones for our posts on the same day? :)

    Apparently this is one of those milestones in blogging where there is a periodic dip. Like you, there’s nothing that I can point to specifically and say “that sucks”…but it IS hard.

    Keep up the work, my friend. You’ve got an excellent amount of mileage already and you’re doing amazing! I love what you do and how you seek to inspire people to do the impossible. Perhaps like me, you need a victory soon. Try setting a goal for yourself online (you do great with the offline stuff for sure) and then meet it. Might make the fight less tedious.

    Keep running, friend.

  6. says

    Hustle, hustle, hustle. Still some of the best advice I’ve ever received. I’m so glad to have had even a small impact on you with my recent post.

    I have moments all the time where I get burnt out, question what I’m doing, and wonder if I’m on the right path. But always, usually very quickly, something happens that validates it and makes me realize that its all worth it.

    Congrats on 50 posts, and lets set up that skype call soon!

    • says

      Your last post? One of my all-time Location180 favorites. Seriously.
      You & Dan have been huge inspirations to me in concerning “hustle.” I’m constantly amazed at how much more I have left in me. Even when I think I’m spent, I’m able to tap into that “hustle”, find another gear and keep going.

      Re:skype – I’ll shoot you an email.

  7. says

    Don’t stop rocking out Joel! 50 posts! Congrats on the milestone and charge ahead! We def need to have a skype session live from Dallas with David tomorrow. I’m happy that you found the blogcastFM interview to have a distinct impact. It’s been awesome reading your blog man and I’m glad to have helped a bit through that burn out stage. Keep that hustle strong and have fun knocking things off that impossible list. Rock out Joel!

  8. says

    Ah, this post certainly hits close to home as of late.

    After months and months of using my blog as an outlet to write about traveling, now that I’m home it’s suddenly a chore to write. And it has nothing to do with being home or having run out of things to say (let’s be real, I never run out of things to say). I’m still passionate about travel and creating the life I want to live, it’s just now that I’m in a lull from living it and need to work my way back up, it’s that much HARDER to keep writing.

    Anyways, long story short, your post reminded me how much you just need to push through it and work toward the goal and the new outcome. If you love it, you make it happen. Nice work, Joel.

    • says

      I hit the same wall when I came back from traveling. I used to have a travel blog but as soon as I came home, it died. I let my familiarity with my home kill my sense of adventure. Don’t let that happen. Keep writing & keep exploring. I guarantee you can find tons of new & interesting things wherever you are. You just got to look for them :)

  9. TonyC says

    I know this feeling all too well. In my case, it’s partly laziness, partly fear, and partly physics (A body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest.)
    It’s always nice to see someone state things clearly in black-and-white on hoiw to counter this!

  10. says

    Ahh the unavoidable dip… You’re handling it the right way for sure buddy! I’ve been looking back through all the posts I’ve written on my site the past few weeks and one thing that has caught my attention is the various posting schedules I’ve had. Ranging from every day to whenever I feel like posting (my current strategy).

    Just roll with the punches, which you clearly do, and you’ll be fine. You’ve got a ton of people to keep you focused constantly aware of WHY you do what you do.

    Keep rockin’!

    • says

      I’m not tied to a “posting schedule” but I definitely want to start disciplining myself to post on certain days so you guys can know when/where to expect me. That change is on it’s way :)

  11. Dawn Heckman says


    “why supposedly why”
    “I’m don’t”
    “I keep doing it because honestly want to do”

    And feel free to criticize my blog, but please make sure you know what you’re talking about next time :)

    Haha, I hope all is well!

  12. says

    I hit a similar point too over the last few days. I’ve been kinda coasting along, not really giving anything my all, unsure of what I want to do and feeling more than a little negative about how far I’ve come.

    And then I started reading Vagabonding (great book!) for the fourth or fifth time and suddenly my confidence is restored. It’s so important, I think, to have those sources of inspiration in your life for whenever your strength begins to waver.

    Great post, Joel! A nice little pick-me-up for when the demands of an extraordinary life seem a little hard to handle. :)

  13. says

    Today is one of those days where I literally had to drag myself to my computer and force my fingers on the keyboard.

    Being the great procrastinator I am, I chanced upon your blog and I’m so glad for it. You echoed my insecurities.

    What do I do when I can’t bring myself to do something? I sit down and I cry. I cry, wallow in the misery, and distract myself for a certain pre-established amount of time.

    And I don’t let myself out of that chair until I’ve been on that dreadful task for at least 10 minutes.

    xoxo, hope your day and writing productivity is getting much much better! looking forward to coming back to your blog!

  14. says

    hi Joel – great post – straight from the heart. When I feel knackered, I try the following things in this order:

    1- vigorously tidy up my flat for 30 mins (sometimes clutter can sap energy)
    2- have a healthy snack
    3- soak in a hot bath and listen to some favourite music on the stereo while thinking about my goals
    4- take a power nap for 30 mins.

    Then I’m energised to plunge back into battle!

    Dom (in London UK)

    • says

      I’m amazed at how much clutter does drag you down. It’s so much easier to be productive when when there’s just the one thing you must do in front of you.

  15. says

    It’s easy to say it, ain’t it? Hustle, Hustle, Hustle…
    I know exactly how that is, not to have a plan or a goal man. It sucks, it’s so easy when you do.

    Like someone told me one day: I can’t tell you where to go wil, if you don’t know where the fuck you’re going.

    Ever since I’ve learned the importance of having at least something on my list of to do things. Just a tip, keep that moleskin filled up with to-do things and cross them off as you go my friend.

  16. says

    Thanks, Joel- as I’m looking at the task of writing this week’s post (and those following), I think I needed this right about now myself. I remember mentioning to you that I’m not always sure what the reason is behind my own blogging and such. I feel that I am supposed to do it and am confident that that ‘reason’ will reveal itself somewhere down the road. But “a specific plan of attack” is certainly something I’m lacking, as well. That may help me to focus and get more prepared for the writing and work ahead. Thanks again, man . . . always motivating!

  17. says

    Hey Joel great post here. I am just getting over a 3-day “funk” and was pretty down. I snapped out of it this morning with a few of my favorite tricks, but it’s still good to know that everyone experiences this rut at some point. Re a strong network: One of my short term goals is to build a network on and offline of like-minded people so we can motivate each other to not only get through these ruts but to always stay focused on our goals. Keep up the great work…

  18. says

    This couldn’t come at a better time because I’m feeling that way. Highly unmotivated and a bit off track from my working towards my master plan. Though it keeps sitting and nagging at the back of my head. True, I can only think about it for so long and it’s only an idea until I keep persistently putting action. Thanks for your boost of motivation.

  19. says

    I was thinking about laziness for a while… But i landed to your blog by chance.(maybe a link from twitter i can’t remember)

    This post was “the kicker” and i solved a real problem in my mind. So thank you very much :)

    I also wrote a blog post about it. Although the post is in Turkish, i translated and summarized it, if you wonder:

    (Begins with the quote from Muhammad Ali)

    Action is crucial to change the world, to do the art and to be successful. Then what prevents us from action? What prevents us to say the things Muhammad Ali said?

    I think there are three reasons:
    -Pyhsical reasons (explains itself.)
    -Amygdala (The inner part of brain that makes us fear from tigers etc. for survival, but sometimes it makes us afraid of ridiculous things… And prevent from action and success.)
    -Wrong learned laziness(i think, we should get rid of the negative meaning of laziness first.)

    Laziness is a natural thing. A polar bear makes calculations before attacking a seal… A lion,a bear, a crocodile, a sloth is lazy! Laziness has a valid reason in nature: Energy.

    I think the real problem is that our calculation system about laziness is broken. We have done so much work that doesn’t benefits us(There can be different reasons for this.) Then we learn -or program ourselves- to save our energy and we even prevent ourselves from “suffering to be a champion.”

    We need to rethink when to save our energy and when to use it. Maybe we need to think about this all the time.

    Note: If you think you don’t benefit from my advice. Never make it happen! Be lazy about it. I support you.


    Thank you again, you have a great blog and concept!

  20. says

    “I’ve got a notebook full of ideas just sitting around being ideas. It’s time for them to be something more than that.”

    You don’t know how true this rings for me (except I’ll bet you do). For me, it’s compounded every time I get a new idea. Time to move these things from the Wish-I-Could-Do List to the Done List.

    Even if they all suck, the championship is in having done them instead of having never tried.

    Thanks, Joel.

  21. David says

    Ever since I began to learn about your passion, and allow myself to be driven by your passion I’ve discover myself walking with direction and operating from a place of CHOICES.

    My everyday life was attack the possible first (shortcut) and add the ((( impossible ))) on my dream list – today I have changed my way of thinking, thanks to you. I’ve created for myself a task list of 7 things to accomplish within my day. Here’s my challenge I can not go unto the next thing on the list until the first task is accomplished. Something that is very difficult for me to master everyday. As you already know everyday is a new day and along with that comes adjustments. My experience has been one that everyday I choose to ignite the passion within because of my new way of seeing thing it enables me to be ((( driving ))) by things that is important to me … I find myself to be more focus, so yes when you stated and I quote “Plans don’t do much good without action,” I was able to relate and understand clearly what you meant. I have a lot of ideas on my dream list but unless I CHOOSE TO TAKE ACTION I WON’T BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THEM …

    I like how your email caught my attention, “It always seems impossible until its done.” – Nelson Mandela … My everyday experience :) Thanks again Joel … Let me know when you are visiting PUERTO RICO … un abrazo :)

    • Hélène Boisseau says

      Hi Joel, I stumbled onto your site yesterday while looking for help with depression. I have had it for 6 years. To fight depression I’ve done 2 triathelons and joined the tennis club , I visited my brother in Kenya with my kids and explored Paris but now I’ve hit a serious rut. I do nothing. I’ve joined your email list and I am working on the why that will keep me going through the tough times. Thank you for this site. It just might be the hand that pulls me out of a uninteresting life.

  22. jim says

    Hey Joel,

    Im not sure how I came to you today, I have been poking around the Johnny B. Truant community and came upon your blog.
    I was a very motivated go getter until about the age of 28 and then lost all drive in being productive. I still worked and took care of life’s needs, but not much of a spark. I’m 41 now and 497 days ago I jumped off that path. Ive done more and meant more to others in these days than I have in the past 20 years. I look forward to reading your Manifesto tonight. I will also check out your other works that I see I can get for my kindle. Ive always taken cold showers to help me with my workouts and I will continue. I will also sell this point to other, because I really like the notion of being uncomfortable to improve yourself.

    I am currently doing great and getting better


  1. […] Blogging gets hard. But when it does, you can bet that it’s not just hard for you. It’s hard for everyone at some point. You hit a dip, you get mad as hell, and you want to throw imaginary chairs against the wall. The only problem is, not everyone hits that point at the same time. The archives give you that ability to go relive those hard parts with those people you look up to. You also realize that amazing blogger you look up to, wasn’t always so big and that everyone hits a low point every now and then. […]

  2. […] Overall, The race wasn’t “hard’ in the typical sense. My slower pace allowed me to run all 13 without getting overtly tired, but my knee hurt a lot more than I expected. Bum knees and extremely fast Kenyans aside, I’m very happy with the race. I ran it for me. Even though I didn’t train for this half marathon like I should have, I still was able to do it, bum knee and all. I wasn’t FAST, and my time isn’t a PR I want to keep for a long time, but I’m happy with it. There were lots of times I wanted to just stop running, give up and go home, but I kept going. […]

  3. […] The thing about motivation is it gets easier over time. Once you make one change, no matter how small it is, it becomes easier to make the next change, and the next change and the next change, and so on…You begin to see improvements and the benefits of change and it motivates you to do more and keep going. […]

  4. […] I probably would have given up quite a few times, but a lot of people helped me pull through. While I could take the time here to look back at the cool things I’ve been able to do in the last year, I figured it would be more appropriate to take this time to thank a few people who’ve helped BIT become what it is as well as help me keep going, even when I didn’t feel like it. […]

  5. […] Blogging gets hard. But when it does, you can bet that it’s not just hard for you. It’s hard for everyone at some point. You hit a dip, you get mad as hell, and you want to throw imaginary chairs against the wall. The only problem is, not everyone hits that point at the same time. The archives give you that ability to go relive those hard parts with those people you look up to. You also realize that amazing blogger you look up to, wasn’t always so big and that everyone hits a low point every now and then. […]

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