What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing

“I don’t feel like practicing.” 

I feel you, my friend. 

It happens to all of us sometimes. 

Maybe even oftentimes. 

Here’s one of the things I do to remain consistent with my skill development efforts: 

Honor your current energy levels when you practice.

You’ll get more benefit that way, anyway.

You’ll have a different perspective. 

New things will occur to you based on your mood. 

Certain things will appeal to you in one moment that wouldn’t appeal to you in another moment. 

Don’t force the direction of the session if your current mind-body mode doesn’t support it. 

You still show up. 

You put in the time and strive to make the most of that time. 

But you don’t fuss about what mood you are in. 

You don’t throw in the towel just because the session isn’t going the way you planned. 

You don’t quit doing the hard work just because it requires more effort than usual. 

But don’t force yourself to do things that are ineffective based on your current mental state and energy levels. 

Instead, pivot your focus and priorities to be a match for your current state. 

This is hard to do at first. 

It’s much easier to give into the idea that it wouldn’t be worth it to practice at all given your current disposition. 

But you gotta reject that lie. 

You gotta have some faith that something good will come of the session that would have otherwise eluded you. 

Alter your actions based on your current attitude. 

And make the most of it; working with reality as it is and not as you wish it would be. 

If i’m down, I tend to be much better at practicing certain types of things than when I’m up. 

If I’m up, I want to push myself further than I’ve gone before. I’ll speed things up, or tackle challenges that seem beyond my reach. 

If I’m down, I want to slow down, pay more attention to the physical mechanics of my playing (in the case of guitar practice), and take the time to address loose ends or unlearn bad habits. 

Honor your energy levels and current mindset, but don’t skip the session. 

Consistency regardless of your energy levels and mood can yield marvelous fruits, because you get the variety of perspective that leads to true versatility. 

If you only ever practice when you are feeling motivated and hopped up on energy, you’ll miss out on the minor details that make a master. 

So ask yourself:

“What kind of practice would be the most productive right now… given how much gas I have in the tank right now and the mood I’m in?”

Use your mood… don’t let it use you.

Put it to the test. Watch what happens.

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