Taking breaks from happiness

I sometimes catch myself trying to justify not doing something I know to be good for me under the premise that I deserve a break. I don't think I'm alone in this.

This is a strange feeling, the craving to take breaks from something that brings us happiness. We know the productive habit we're feeling an urge to break from will ultimately make us happier the moment we make progress towards its completion. We never regret having already exercised or having already cleaned our room.

The professional has learned better. He respects Resistance. He knows if he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he'll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow. - Steven Pressfield

Why do we feel compelled to take breaks before they're necessary?

This urge comes from a part of us that is terrified at the thought of abandoning comfort for any reason: our inner non-doer.

Our inner non-doer refuses to trade comfort for any amount of future reward. The non-doer is lazy yet persuasive, whispering to us about how proud of our progress it is, and that we've done so well that we deserve to take a break from all this work.

What the non-doer doesn't understand is that any unit of comfort derived from avoiding what's good for us today is essentially a unit of unrealized happiness being taken from our future. It doesn't understand that our "work"—in the broadest sense of the word—earns us happiness.

We set ourselves up to reap rewards more meaningful than comfort when we face the temporary discomfort that comes with getting started. The proud grin we give ourselves in the mirror after consecutive months of exercise is worth infinitely more than the guilty comfort afforded by taking a day off.

Taking breaks before they're necessary is a sneaky trick your inner non-doer plays to steal from your future happiness.


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