Some people staunchly insist on waiting until they “feel” like doing something to do it.
This seems to happen for a number of reasons.
For some people, they strongly believe in the correctness of their “gut instinct.” They feel that if they are disinclined to do something— if their “gut” isn’t telling them that a thing is the thing to do just then— then they should “trust their gut” and not do the thing.
For others, it seems to be linked to the fact that it’s simply hard to do things we don’t feel like doing. It’s hard to get motivated; it’s hard to see the upside; it’s hard to see the point.
Whatever the reason we’re disinclined to do things we don’t feel like doing at the moment, we need to come to terms with the fact that it’s ONLY by getting ourselves to do things we don’t feel like doing that we can grow and achieve.
Put another way: it’s never, ever going to be the case that we’re always in the mood to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
If we don’t develop strategies to get ourselves to do things even when we don’t feel like it, we will stall.
Our goals will stall.
Our growth will stall.
By resisting doing the things that need to get done because “we don’t feel like it,” we put everything we’ve worked for up to that point in severe jeopardy.
There are two keys to dealing with the “I don’t feel like it” virus:
One, we have to deeply accept that sometimes we’re going to have to do things that we don’t feel like doing. We have to give up, with extreme prejudice, the fantasy that life will ever be as easy as never having to do anything we don’t feel like doing.
And two, we need to develop strategies to get us through things we don’t feel like doing.
Developing such strategies is often easier and more straightforward than it might seem.
When we don’t feel like doing something, what is that really about?
What it most often boils down to, we are focusing on whatever task is in front of us in such a way that is making the task seem aversive.
In other words, the specific way we’re approaching and thinking about the task is making us disinclined to do it. No more, no less.
Maybe we’re focusing on how long it’ll take.
Maybe we’re focusing on how difficult it’ll be.
Maybe we’re focusing on how having to do the task in the first place is making us feel controlled or manipulated.
Maybe we’re mad at ourselves for having agreed to do the thing, and thus we’re dragging our feet in passive protest.
Whatever your collection of thoughts and attitudes toward the task may be, it’s important to take stock of them. Seriously ask yourself: what am I focusing on here?
Once you’re clear on what your focus is regarding the task, you can start to tinker with your perspective a bit in order to get you through the task.
Maybe instead of focusing on how off-putting doing all of the thing at once might be, you can focus on doing the task ten minutes at a time (if that’s an option).
Maybe instead of focusing on how manipulated and controlled you feel in having to do the task at all, you can focus on how good it might feel to take your power back once the task is through.
Maybe instead of focusing on how physically painful some aspects of the task might be, you can focus on how nice it’ll feel to get those painful elements behind you.
Maybe instead of focusing on what a drag any element of the task is, you can focus on specific distraction techniques that might help you get through the task minute by minute.
Understand: none of these tools or skills is likely to take away completely your aversion to doing the task. This is why coming up with strategies to get you through the task is a secondary matter to fundamentally accepting in the first place that you simply have to do some things you don’t feel like doing if you’re going to achieve your goals and live your values.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your “gut” is telling you you should never have to endure discomfort.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to declare your independence and celebrate your autonomy by simply avoiding tasks for the sake of proving you can’t be told what to do.
Accept that sometimes we need to grit our teeth and get through some things.
Then get smart about how to do it.
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