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I’m tired. Not having properly trained on my road bike for this year, I went out last Sunday with friends and rode 56 miles. It was evident fairly early on that I was lagging behind, although in my defence I was following a friend who’d just completed a two-day, 60/40 mile ride up the Marmotte in the Alps. In fairness, then, he was much better prepared for the day than me.

But that was four days ago, and I’m still tired. So what, I hear you ask?

Being tired is no excuse for being lazy. It is tempting to give a task less than you would if you were feeling hale and hearty, but doing that serves no-one. As I sat at my desk preparing to write this blog I was soooo tempted to put it off until I felt better or, failing that, to just look up an old entry and regurgitate that, instead. But you’d have not learned anything new – well, when I say ‘learned’ and ‘new’, perhaps I’m looking more towards providing a new perspective on old learning.

And I wouldn’t have ‘got better’ in the competency sense. Added to that, perhaps my conscience would have screamed at me.

Being tired is only an excuse – nay, reason – for taking longer to do a job. The reality of personal development is that people do get tired, they do lose their sense of motivation, they are affected by moods and circumstances. Neither of which excuse largesse, but they will certainly affect performance.

But how big an effect those influences have on performance, is up to the performer.

Making the proactive choice to put in the effort required to do the better job is key. Deciding to perform at the required level – even at the highest possible level – is the first step to overcoming the drag created by fatigue. It might not be the only step, I admit. If the task to be done is a physical task, then the effect of fatigue will be more obvious and impactive than if the task to be done requires a mental approach more than a muscular one.

But if you’re thinking “I don’t really want to do this,” then the answer is to decide that you will, and to decide that you will do it to the best of your ability even if it takes a little longer than it usually does.

And if you’re experience is the same as the one I’ve just had in writing this blog after thinking about whether or not I can be bothered to do it at all, you may well find that it didn’t take as much time or effort as your brain initially calculated it would.

Because 10 minutes ago I was too tired. Now, my work here is done. Including a review and an edit and posting onto this website. Ten minutes from ‘Not Today’ until ‘Done’.

Do you have days/jobs like that? Days when you just can’t get started because you are tired? Make the decision that YOU are in charge, not your emotions.

And as a bonus, here’s another tip for when you have started but are flagging. It’s one I used when I was trying to keep up with the King of the Mountains.

SEAL Team trainers have discovered that when a candidate has ‘had enough’, the successful candidates can still find another 40% – forty   percent – energy left, if they just dig deep and find it. On my bike, really feeling the fatigue from about 35 miles in and knowing I had 20+ left to go, I just reminded myself that if I wanted it, the energy was there. I knew I’d feel it later, but my body would recover to a better base level afterwards. (Hopefully, soon!)

Maybe that’s the ultimate reward. The reward for applying the First Resolution.

The harder you try to overcome not feeling your best, the better your best becomes.