Life is filled with so many things that we just flat out don’t want to do.
Maybe it’s because they are unpleasant, maybe you’re just mentally exhausted and stressed, or maybe it’s just that your bed is feeling super comfortable right now!
Unfortunately, to get anything done in life, we must exercise disciplined effort to reach and crush our goals.
And that means dragging ourselves forward so we can do the things we really don’t want to do when we don’t want to do them.
So, how can you bring yourself to do the things you don’t really want to do?
Let’s start with the obvious before we move into more strategic answers.
Tackle the problem head on.
The most obvious and direct solution is just to do it and get it done. It really doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.
Everyone is faced with doing things we really don’t want to do. Many times we just don’t want to do these things, but we put our head down and do them anyway, because we don’t have a choice in the matter.
On the other hand, maybe we do have a choice. Maybe it’s something that we don’t want to do, that doesn’t really need to be done, that we can procrastinate on doing or skip over.
Still, if we want to build something long-term, we’re going to need to just do what needs to be done, whether we like it or not.
We can strive to eliminate procrastination by choosing to view all of the things we need to do as necessary and tackling them as they come up.
Create a schedule and commit to keeping it.
It’s much easier to accomplish goals and work through the low times by having some sort of schedule.
You don’t need to schedule out every minute of every day, though some people do function well with that kind of structure.
A general schedule of somewhat consistent times can introduce structure, improve creativity as your mind switches on, and guide you in the general direction of where you want to go.
What part of your life is presently suffering that requires the need to just do whatever you need to do? That’s a good place to start.
Maybe it’s studying for a couple hours before a set bedtime, exercising for a half hour block in the morning, or planning out preparation time for bulk cooking of healthier meals at the weekend.
A schedule gives you predictability that you can build on and around as you push toward your goals.
Work on the task for 5 minutes.
Large projects can feel overwhelming. They can be so daunting that they can be intimidating, so we procrastinate and put off the project, whether we want to do it or not.
You can combat that feeling by making an agreement with yourself to work on it for just five minutes and see how you feel about it then.
Most of the time, you’ll find that the initial feelings of trepidation and dread melt away as you start digging into your project.
The doubt, fear, and frustration in our own minds are usually the hardest hurdles to clear when we’re faced with unpleasant or tedious tasks.
Agree to work on the task for just five minutes and see if you aren’t okay with continuing on the process.
If you still aren’t feeling it, by all means, set it aside for a little while and then come back to it a little later.
Sometimes the mind just doesn’t want to get on board like we’d hope. The important thing is to not make setting it aside a regular habit.
Break an unpleasant task down into bite-sized pieces.
This tip works if you are faced with a larger task. It can be much easier to get through a large, unpleasant task if we break it down into pieces that we can tackle throughout the day.
Aim for about half hour chunks that you can do between other activities or work.
As an example, a student who is trying to knock out some difficult studies may just split assignments between the different time periods.
The benefit is that this approach will reduce mental fatigue and allow the student to focus more on the task in the blocked off time.
The same principle can be applied to running life’s errands, doing housework, or just about anything.
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Focus on the benefits of actually completing the task.
One way that you can sidestep those feelings of not wanting to do things is to focus on the benefits you will reap from completing the task.
No one likes to do housework, but a clean house helps reduce general anxiety, is pleasant to look at and live in, and staves off the general build up of dirt and dust.
Do you really want to study? Maybe or maybe not. But, you probably do want to maintain good grades and reap the benefits of a quality education.
Job hunting? Not exactly fun, but definitely necessary to maintain one’s standard of living or progress in life.
Even endeavors that we normally find fun or relaxing may not seem as appealing to us as they normally would.
It’s still worth following through on that activity if you want to continue to build on the momentum of what you have already accomplished. An excellent example of this is art.
Some artists chafe under the idea of setting a schedule and producing with regularity. Many want to wait for inspiration to strike, but if the artist does that, then they don’t get as much done. Improvement is all in practice and execution with consistency.
Understand that you don’t need to listen to your thoughts.
Self-doubt is a killer of dreams and momentum. A negative internal narrative can derail well laid plans and introduce doubt where there is no reason to have any.
Or maybe there is a reason to have it. Maybe the unpleasant task is something that will make you uncomfortable.
Many people use their feelings as the primary decider for what they do and do not do. Unfortunately, feelings can oftentimes be wrong, misinformed, or not relevant to the present situation.
Far too many people accept their feelings as truth, when they’re not. They’re just a perception of whatever we’re experiencing.
The problem is that the most important things that we need to have an informed opinion on may not be known at the time.
If you feel you need to reassess a course of action, try to do it when you’re not emotional about the situation. Any emotion will cloud one’s perceptions.
The goal is not to avoid emotions altogether, but to prevent emotions from tainting our decision-making processes surrounding our goals and desires in life.
Most things don’t require immediate decisions, particularly if you’re looking at a large or long-term task.
Take your time when you consider changing course. Until then, stick hard to the plan and keep executing.
It’s okay to take a break.
Life is about balance. The day-to-day grind of the world can wear a person down. If you’ve been pursuing a goal hard for a long time, sometimes you just need to slow down and take a break.
No one can be 100% on point, all day, every day, all the time. It’s an impossible standard that you’ll never live up to and will guarantee that you burn out.
If you’ve been on the grind for a long time, it’s okay to take a break! It’ll keep you from burning out and derailing your progress. Be kind to yourself. You’re not a machine, and that’s okay too.