He felt like he was losing his edge. Little by little he began to cave to the various excuses his mind made for him. It was a common occurrence called lack of discipline. To be frank, it was a quality of his that plagued him throughout his life, especially his youth. However, where his own willpower failed, some sort of structure or system lay in place to enforce upon him their discipline.
He was at a point in his life where he didn't have such structure anymore. Most of his days he spent doing the minimum amount required of him with no one to answer to for it but the small voice in the back of his mind to berate him for his laziness.
The human conscience took up the philosophy that one should speak softly and carry a big stick. However, this metaphorical big stick was not as effective as a literal one as the target of its strikes did not often feel the effects of their inattention until much later on down the road.
And so he continued creating excuses and ignoring his conscience, all the while knowing that this was the road to mediocrity, and unless he took a turnoff he would find himself having arrived there all too soon. All the same, however, he brushed off that same little voice, knowing that the strike of it's stick would not come now.