You know when you put things off that you know you should do? The kind of things you don’t do because they feel hard or involve too many decisions or talking to people you really, really don’t want to talk to. You know the things, right?
I always have a list. I scribble my to-dos onto paper until the page is filled with items tucked and squeezed into every conceivable corner in various slants and colors. I even put big stars next to some so I’ll pay attention, which is amusing when I ignore them to do more important things like open wine.
I take my lists seriously, though. I like nothing more than doing something and then getting to cross it off, and I even add extra things I’ve done after the fact just to put a line through them!
Why, then, do I sometimes put them off? . . . For days . . . Even weeks.
Why do we NOT do the things we know we should do?
1) We have buttinsky minds that jump in and talk us out of them!
I don’t know about yours, but my mind is very convincing and has a soft spot for my feelings. It jumps in and thinks it’s doing me a favor by explaining all the reasons those feelings are valid . . . It wants to protect me and make me feel comfortable.
You’ve had a rough day. You’ve done enough. You’re tired. Tomorrow’s fine. There’s not enough time. You can do it next week. There’s no hurry. Let Nike “Just do it”. You “Just don’t.” Blah, blah, blah . . . And guess what? I LISTEN!! WHY?
We want to be comfortable, so we listen, nod our heads in agreement and believe the nonsense our minds are telling us.
2) We think we need to wait until we feel motivated.
I ask you, is anyone EVER motivated to do the hard, unpleasant stuff?
I’m motivated to go the refrigerator and get cheese. I’m motivated to watch HGTV when I should be having a life. I’m motivated every singe time carbs are involved, but I’m not the least bit motivated when it comes to scheduling a colonoscopy, doing deep squats, or having those uncomfortable conversations!
Doers don’t care if they’re not feeling motivated. They know it’s not necessary.
3) We don’t take action when the impulse hits.
People who get things done don’t hesitate and stall! They have a habit of ignoring their feelings and taking action right away.
One of my favorite lines is “Winners do the things losers don’t feel like doing.” It reminds me that those who accomplish the big and little things don’t always feel like doing them either . . .but they move forward!
They don’t wait until all the planets are aligned. They don’t wait until they’re completely prepared. They don’t wait until they feel brave. They take action because they like the payoff.
It’s easy to come up with all kinds of excuses not to do the things we know we should, but we have to take charge of ourselves. When we’re in that moment when we feel the urge to do something, like put the stuffed kielbasa down and go to the gym, we have to hit the gas right away. We can’t stop and ponder, hope for motivation or wait to be prepared. We have to move or the kielbasa wins.
Over-thinking wastes time.
Don’t get me wrong, thinking is good. There are a lot of people who should do more of it, and I can provide names if necessary, but when it comes to getting things done, we have to take our thinky, feely, fearful minds with a grain of salt and take action before they hit the brakes.
Every one of us knows what we need to do. We know when we need to stop procrastinating, get organized, eat better, start exercising, update our resumes or improve our relationships. We know! It’s simple but not easy.
In the long run, it’s much more efficient to stop resisting and wasting energy and just get started on those buggers and get them off the list! Then we can reap the rewards! . . . Like guilt-free leisure time, better health, happier relationships and shorter to-do lists!
The more we take action, the more we trust ourselves to take action. The more positive progress we make, the better we feel. We can create a new comfort level and set point for ourselves.
So what’s been on your list for too long?