Choosing to Take Action
Even When You Don't Feel Like It
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Choosing to take action when we don’t feel like it is a decision most of us face from time to time. There is a big difference however, between doing things that you genuinely dislike doing, and the natural resistance to taking action that can hold you back from achieving the things you really want.
Even with things that we really enjoy doing, and want to do, there are times that we just don’t feel like doing them. When something requires a bit of effort and motivation, and we don’t feel like it, our natural reaction can tend to be to not to take action. One example could be writing an article for your website. Even though you enjoy writing, you know that you will feel great about getting it done, and know that it is a positive action towards your goal of creating a popular website, the tendency can often be to jump back into bed and pull up the covers instead.
Why the Resistance?
Why is it often difficult for us to take action and do the things that we really want to do? Why is it so much easier to waste time on meaningless and unfulfilling activities like watching mindless TV shows or endlessly surfing the Net? One of the biggest reasons that we often avoid doing the very things that can most enhance our lives and bring us joy and satisfaction is habit.
Most of us have a habit of doing what feels easier, and the easier option is usually the one that doesn’t involve pushing ourselves in any way. If something involves a bit of an effort, and stepping out of our comfort zone of drowsy apathy, our immediate response is often to just avoid it. We declare that we don’t feel like it, and find the nearest excuse not to take action.
However, frequently giving in to the impulse to avoid making focused effort is a very disempowering and de-motivating habit. The more you give in to your inclination to zone out and avoid positive action, the more apathetic you end up feeling, and the harder it becomes to break out of this cycle. The good news is that, like any habit, this can be changed.
Changing the Habit of Inaction
One way of breaking a habit is to commit to replacing it with a new, positive habit for a trial period of time. It is generally accepted that it takes a month to change a habit, so make a decision to take action and practice the new habit that you wish to form, every day for a month. This decision need only take a moment, but every day, you will need to reaffirm your commitment, and act on it – even, especially, when you don’t feel like it.
If the habit that you wish to create is doing some exercise every day, accept that most mornings you probably won’t feel like exercising. That’s okay. Do it anyway. In fact, don’t even stop to ask yourself whether you feel like exercising. Put yourself on auto-pilot and just do it. Don’t give yourself a choice - the minute you do, you can guess what that choice will be, can’t you?!
Getting Going Gets Easier
Taking this approach can have a positive impact in two ways. The first is that once the new habit begins to become ingrained, it will take less heavy machinery to get you up and at it each day. You will probably find that at a certain point, you don’t feel the level of resistance to getting moving that you did before. This is great, but be careful not to drop the drill-sergeant approach with yourself. If you start letting the idea that there is an option other than doing what you have committed to doing sneak into your mind, you will likely find yourself back on an uphill battle to keeping going.
Once You Start You're Glad You Did
Another positive thing often occurs once you take action, even on days when you don’t feel like it. After about 10 minutes of doing the activity that you are undertaking, you notice that you are feeling quite good about it. At this point, given the choice of stopping, you would actually rather keep going. As you become absorbed in what you are doing, this feeling builds, and you finish the activity feeling great.
I couldn’t agree more with the Nike slogan: “Just Do It.” Stop waiting to feel motivated to do the thing you want to do, and just do it! You will end up with the double benefit of having done what you set out to do (mission accomplished!), and the great feelings of satisfaction that come from having taken action.
Motivation Follows Action
People often claim that they lack will-power or motivation, and in a sense this can be true. However, the problem is that they are waiting for the will-power and motivation to come out of nowhere before they take action. They want to do something, but they don’t feel motivated about actually doing it. So, they wait around for something to happen that makes them feel like doing it. They are, in effect, waiting for the cart to jump out and start pulling the horse. Waiting for will-power, motivation, or inspiration to arrive out of the blue on a dreary gray morning is a bit like waiting to be struck by a bolt of lightning.
Stop waiting for lightning to strike. Get up, get going, and start creating your own flashes of brilliance through simple and consistent action. Decide what you truly want to do, and take action, even when you don’t feel like it. The motivation and rewards will follow.
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Choosing to Take Action Even When You Don't Feel Like It