You’re supposed to go for a run, and it’s raining.

You’re cleaning up your diet, and there are donuts in the break room.

You’re planning to practice your instrument, but you can’t seem to get started.

Excellence is largely about consistency—we all know this. But how do we face the inevitable hard days? What do we do when we just don’t feel up to doing that thing we’re supposed to do?

One solution is to try some thought replacement.

Instead of thinking “Uggh, [activity x] sounds impossible right now,” think “This is a hard day, and hard days are the real test. Hard days separate the women from the girls and the men from the boys.”

It’s true, of course. Olympic skiers don’t miss training sessions unless they’re in the hospital. Virtuoso musicians don’t skip practice days. Nobel Prize-winners don’t take the morning off because they slept poorly.

On hard days, visualize yourself joining these people. See yourself walking away from the general population and joining the elite.

The easy days don’t count for much. The hard days do.