image source: 4StringsGood
You know you need to finish some errands yet you don’t feel like it, so you decide you’ll just do them tomorrow. You know you should go to the gym in order to stay in line with your fitness goals, yet you don’t feel like it, so you decide to skip your workout and watch TV instead. You have some free time and you know you should work on that new business idea you had the other day, yet you are tired and don’t feel like it, so you go to bed early instead. You are out at a social event and you see a very attractive member of the opposite sex that you wish to meet, yet you feel scared to walk over and say hi, so you just talk yourself out of doing it by assuming it would be awkward and socially unacceptable. You are at a fast food restaurant and you know you should order a healthy salad, yet you are sick of eating healthy food, so you rationalize that you deserve a cheat meal and order a cheeseburger instead. You are sick of your current job and know you should start applying elsewhere, yet you don’t feel like going through the interviewing process, it will be too much work, so you decide to put it off until next month and you rationalize that would be better timing anyways.
I don’t feel like it. It’s scary, I don’t want to do it. I’m too tired, I’ll just do it tomorrow. I deserve a break, I’ve been working too hard, besides I can always take care of this later. We all experience the “I don’t feel like it” syndrome for one reason or the other. Sometimes the reason is very legitimate, you could of had a long day, a few hours of sleep the night before, and are really exhausted and therefore feel like relaxing or going to bed early instead of taking care of those errands you had on your to-do list. Other times you simply are in a lazy state of mind, and don’t feel like doing anything, and therefore decide you deserve a break and you watch tv or uselessly surf the web for an hour or two.
I don’t feel like it. I have a confession to make, I don’t really feel like writing this post. It’s the weekend, I’ve had a pretty hectic/busy week, and I would rather just relax today. I need to clarify, I really like blogging and writing, and whenever I start writing I enter into a flow zone where I get absorbed into it, and the words just flow out, it’s a great feeling However there are times where I simply feel lazy, tired or too out of it to start writing. During such times I can usually come up with great reasons/rationalizations for why I shouldn’t write. Here is one, “writing is my hobby, it should not feel like a job, I should just put it off until I really feel like it”. There is some truth to this reasoning, so lets say I putt off writing, and don’t feel like it the next day, and the day after that etc. Would I just shut down this blog, and move on to the next thing?
I think you are getting my point here, on certain occasions if we are over-worked, exhausted, doing way too much etc. we legitimately need to take a break, however more often than not we get lazy and just don’t feel like doing whatever it is we know we have to do. We make commitments to take on this or that new habit, and we know the work involved, yet when it’s time to do it we simply don’t feel like it.
So what’s the solution. Naturally one would ask well how can I get myself to feel like exercising, writing, or doing my errands. There are several answers, one can look for motivational sources, readings etc. One can get a workout buddy, an accountability buddy etc. One can make a public commitment, for example I can commit to writing a new post everyday on this blog for the next 30 days. However none of these solutions are complete. While they are all great ideas, and would make you feel more pressure to get things done, there is still something missing. Lets say you do get a workout buddy, you might feel motivated to work out with your buddy for the first 2 weeks. However on the 3rd week your buddy is out of town on a business trip. Additionally you get a mild cold, and while physically you can do a light workout, you don’t feel like it, besides being sick is a legitimate reason to skip working out and your buddy would understand when he gets back. So you skip working out for the next couple of days. On the 3rd day you feel fine, however you don’t feel like working out and you rationalize I should rest one more day just to make sure the cold is fully gone and out of my body. You use this same reasoning to skip working out for the rest of the week. All of a sudden you realize you just skipped a whole week without going to the gym.
Of course one can get multiple workout partners to avoid this situation, however life will always throw circumstances at you, and there will be times where you just feel lazy and will come up with great reasons to relax and put off tasks. So what’s the solution, if you can’t really get red of “I don’t feel like it” syndrome, how can you live with it, how can you manage it? What about very successful entrepreneurs that work 10-14 hour days for months or even years to get a business of the ground? How do they do it? What about Olympic athletes that train for several hours a day for months to get in top shape, how do they do it?
Very successful people, who live amazing lives, and leave a legacy tend to usually do the right thing whether or not they feel like it. This in a way is like a muscle that they grow and strengthen. You can start developing this great habit today by following these steps:
- When you know you should do something and don’t feel like it, accept this and realize that everyone goes through it. Don’t be hard on yourself.
- From today decide that you will just do the right thing, and do whatever it is you have to do whether or not you fee like it.
- Realize that there will still be times where you will get lazy, or not do the right thing. That’s okay, you are building a new habit, this is expected. Don’t be a perfectionist, you simply can’t always do the right thing 100% of the time. Accept this. Your goal should be to do right more often as time goes on. Think of this as a muscle you are developing in the gym. If you currently do the right actions 5% of the time, and can increase that to 10% in the next year, then you would double your results, progress, and success.
- When you have a long tedious task in front of you, don’t stress about it. Just start doing it and stay in the present moment. Don’t think about the 2, 3 or 4 more hours you have to keep doing this for, instead think about what you are doing at this moment. Say you have to wash 50 dishes, when you grab that first dish, just focus on your hand, the circular motions it’s taking to wash that dish, the feeling of the water and the smell of the soap. Don’t think about the other 49 dishes, stay in the moment instead of worrying about the future. This is a great method I learned from Alan Watts. Another way to slow down and enjoy the moment is by monitoring your breathing.
- Make whatever you are doing fun. This is another method that I learned from Alan Watts. Try singing, or humming as you are washing the dishes. Make up a new rhyme about the soapy dopey dishes
- Realize that doing the right thing no matter how you feel becomes easier the more you do it. Lets say you don’t feel like going to the gym and you do it anyway. The next day you don’t feel like it, it will be easier for you to ignore the emotion and go.