What to Do When You Just Don’t Feel Like Doing It

I didn’t feel like writing an article today.  That’s right.  I got up, sat down at this very desk, looked at this very screen, and didn’t feel like typing a single thing onto this keyboard. It happens.  It happens to all of us.

There are times in our lives where we just don’t feel like doing shit.  It happens for a myriad of reasons.  Maybe we’re tired.  Maybe we’re bored.  Maybe we just can’t stand the same old routine and it feels like every single thing in our lives is like a real life version of the movie Groundhog Day.

It’s completely natural.  However, does that mean you shouldn’t do said thing when you know it’s good for you?  Let’s get into it.

There are exceptions that need to be addressed

Only you can make these determinations but there are certainly legitimate times when you should NOT be doing anything.  The extent to which they are bullshit excuses or legitimate reasons is something you’re going to have to look into the mirror with, and live with after you make a decision.  But the following situations (to me) require real pauses.

  1. You are too tired and need rest – you might think taking a nap is a waste of time, but spending an hour taking a nap when it might boost your energy considerably thus making you work faster, more efficiently, and with a clearer head is the right thing to do.  Bottom line, get your rest.
  2. You are too sick – being sick is being sick.  Don’t ever work or exercise (or pretty much do anything) if you’re too sick.  It’s one thing if you have a small cold, it’s another if you have a fever and seriously need to lie down.
  3. Your mental health is at stake – if you aren’t right in the head, don’t push yourself, period.  If whatever you are doing is causing undue stress you really need to first assess why this is happening, stop the activity, get help, and then see if you can resume the activity with a better mental frame of mind.
  4. Emergencies – this goes without question

I happen to think that these four basically cover it.  Clearly within these main themes are subtle levels and instances that you must address individually, but now that these are out of the way, let’s talk a little tougher.

No excuses, get it done

You may have heard me use this phrase before. It’s simple, to the point, and cuts to the core of why you should be doing anything you do.  It’s because outside of the four examples above, you have no reason NOT to do anything.

I don’t care what race you are.  I don’t care about your gender.  I don’t care what disadvantage you have or don’t have.  Outside of any kind of extreme or literal circumstance, there are few if any excuses for you to avoid doing anything that you deep down know you need to do.

But HOW?

While this is all well and good and I can talk your ear off about saying you don’t have any excuses for not doing anything, it still begs the question of HOW.  How in the world do you actually go from a place of completely not wanting to do anything to pushing through and actually doing it?  Guess what?  There is NO magic answer.  God I wish I had one but there just isn’t.

In all my years, experience, and times where I’ve had to push through and do things that I simply didn’t want to do, only three things really, truly got me through it.  And here they are:

1. Forming a habit

When you push through to do things you don’t really want to do, do you all of a sudden shift to wanting to do them?  The answer is no.  And that’s a key thing to remember.  You need to remember that it’s OK to not like something but that if it’s good for you, it’s necessary.

And the only way to achieve that necessary reaction to an impulse not to do something is through repetition.  It’s the only thing that’s gonna make it easier.  I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is.

Let me give you an example:  Going to the gym.  Ever take a month off or so from the gym and it’s just super ridiculously hard to motivate yourself to get back in there?  Yeah, we’ve all been there.  It totally sucks.   But what happens when you’ve hit the gym a good 3 or 4 times in a row for a few weeks running?  It gets easier and easier to go back.

Apply that concept to nearly anything you’re trying to do and it will make it easier, I promise.  So when I said I didn’t feel like writing an article today, I meant it.  Hell I don’t feel like writing the text you’re reading at this very moment.  However, I write every single day.  I’m so used to it at this point that when I don’t even want to, I push through it way easier than if I hadn’t been writing every single day.

2. A motivational “prop”

When you need to bring out the big guns and haven’t formed a habit yet, you’ve got to dig deep.  You’ve got to do whatever it is you need to do to get yourself into a state where you can shift from thinking “I just can’t do this” to “fuck it, I’m doing this.”  What you bring out is entirely up to you.  For me?

I might play a certain song (anything from the Rocky IV soundtrack works for me).  I might look at a picture of my kids.  I might visualize a family trip I want to be on.  Seriously, it doesn’t matter, but each of us have our motivational props that give us a little bit of an extra edge.  Use them at will when you need to.

3. The negativity and fear approach

This one sounds weird but it works.  Use the “if I don’t do this then X” approach.  If I don’t do this work today I will not earn a paycheck, therefore I will go broke and not be able to pay my bills, and eventually I will have to sell my house.  If I don’t do this workout today my body will suffer and eventually I’ll be so out of shape that I’ll need to go on medication because I might get a serious disease.

Yes, GO THERE. Seriously, go to those extremes until you don’t have to.  Because if you don’t have a legitimate excuse not to do something then all bets are off and you gotta do whatever it is you gotta to do it. Alright folks, cut the shit and do what you need to do.

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