How to Do Something Even When You Don’t Feel Like Doing It

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“The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.“
E.M Gray

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”
Jim Rohn

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.”
Theodore Roosevelt

Often you have to do something you don’t feel that much like doing. Such is life. Maybe it’s telephone call where you risk rejection in some way. Maybe it is finishing a report or essay for work/school. Maybe it’s just about getting those dishes done or going to the gym.

So what do you do? Do you get up off the chair and get going? Or do you procrastinate and decide to do it “another day”?

I do a bit of both. But I have found a few ways to improve my consistency – one of the most important things for any kind of success – pretty dramatically and make things easier.

Step 1: Accept it.

When you feel resistance within towards doing something the natural instinct may be to try to push that feeling away. To brush it off. I have found that doing the opposite and just accepting that it is there can do wonders.

Tell yourself: “This is how I feel right now and I accept it”.

This sounds counterintuitive and perhaps like you’re giving up. However by accepting how you feel instead of resisting it you reduce the emotional energy that you are feeding into this problem. It then tends to just kinda lose speed like a car that runs out of fuel. And oftentimes it becomes so weak after while that it just moves out of your inner focus and disappears.

This step may be all you need to reduce the negative feelings enough to be able to start taking action. If not, move on to the next step.

Step 2: List the positives.

After you have accepted how you feel list the positives of getting this thing done. Do it on paper, on your computer or just in your head.

When you don’t feel like doing something it’s very easy to get stuck and just focus on the negative aspects such as it being hard work or the risk of pain or failure.

So you need to change what you are focusing on to motivate yourself to take action. Making a list of positives like benefits and possible opportunities can be very effective for turning your focus around.

If you have problems getting started ask yourself questions that will empower you. Questions like:

  • What is awesome about this situation?
  • What is the hidden opportunity in this situation?

You can pretty much always find positives about anything. There are lessons to be learned about yourself and your world and opportunities to be found if you look at things the right way.

Step 3: Just do it.

You should now have reduced much of the resistance within and feel more motivated to start taking action and getting your thing done.

It is at this point tempting to start thinking again. To reconsider and ponder. But I have found that if you do that then it easy to fall back into the same place where you began. You start to question doing this. Your focus starts to turn back to the negative aspects again.

So when I am at this point I usually just stop thinking and get my butt out of the chair. I get moving and I just do it.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Henrik, I love you steps.. two steps I have learnt to get started on a task are:

    Delegate 15 mins to a task… the hardest part is getting started however if you delegate 15mins you may find that you’ll go over 15 mins.
    When you have a task practice “single minded concentration” that is focus on the task at hand and only this task until it is completed

    Thanks again

  • Henrick, I am a new subscriber. I wanted to let you know the reason I picked this blog is that you seem to speak human.

  • Henrick, great points. I love the part of accepting your resistance, and then reviewing the positives. The other key is to make sure that the goal you are setting for yourself is one you truly want to accomplish, not just one you think you ‘should’ do, because of someone else’s expectations.