• My friend Marcos used to say “o truqu’é não pensar”. He was probably half-joking, but I do believe in that. Stop trying! I try to minimize decisions where the “right” option is unpleasurable, by:

    • Following routines (literally) thoughlessly. Instead of deciding to go for a run, which involves thinking about whether I should (read: want to) go for a run or not, I just go for a run. At no point to I have to consciously decide to do it.
    • Modifying my environment. Again, instead of consciously (and, given I’m confined at home, constantly) having to decide to eat something healthy or eat a snacky treat, I just don’t purchase snacky treats, ever. Willpower is expensive, and I try to avoid relying on it whenever I can (which also means I don’t have it strengthened enough, but that’s another story)
  • I try to accept the “required work”. Most things that will eventually provide pleasure require some sort of previous work. Dates, fitness, friendships, music, all require some initial drudgery until they deliver any sort of payoff, and some ongoing drudgery afterwards, forever. Seeing this work for what it is, and accepting it as a natural part of everything that’s worth “it” (which doesn’t require a performative/masochistic HUSTLE mindset either) makes engaging in this work, thus reaching its rewards, so much easier.
    (Take music discovery: it requires hearing about an artist, seeking their music, and listening to it attentively — which implies not listening to something you already know you enjoy — and forming an opinion on it. Accepting that 80% of the things you will be listening to will not give you any pleasure: resigning yourself to hours of boredom or even auditory displeasure. It costs energy, requires willpower. But it’s a necessary effort to be able to reach the 20% of music that you will keep in your library, or the 2% that will blow your mind, or the 0.2% that will change your life.)
    Either way, it’s either that or living in a dark room forever.

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