How to Do Stuff You Don’t Want to Do

There’s a lot of stuff I don’t want to do

Read books
Read the news
Cook healthy meals
Read my Bible
Practice foreign languages

I know these things are good for me, but I don’t particularly enjoy them. After doing them, I sometimes feel better. Sometimes I don’t.

Someday, I’d like them to be normal routines in my life that I actually enjoy and are natural to do. But that takes creating the habit, and creating that habit takes hundreds and thousands of decisions to act.

So one decision at a time – how do we do the things we don’t want to do?

It’s easy to do everything else

It’s easy to put in the work to set myself up for success. I can plan out my day down to the minute. I can get all the things I need ready to go. I can can block out chunks of time. I can set up rewards for myself. I can download apps upon apps to motivate myself and track my progress.

For example, I can plan to run for 20 minutes every morning. I can mark it in my calendar and set a timer. I bought new running shoes and have them ready. I’ve pre-downloaded my favorite songs or podcasts and got the wireless earbuds. I have a running app with my route marked and my Apple watch to track my exercise. I can even have a pre-made smoothie in the fridge ready for right after.

But even with all that, I can still miss a day.

The hardest part is making the decision

Even with everything setup, it’s easy to not follow through. There are a lot of excuses I can make for not doing it.

I’m a few minutes behind. I’m feeling tired. I have a lot of work to do. I can catch up tomorrow. On and on.

It really comes down to having the willpower to make the decision in that moment.

Give yourself more chances to act

Sometimes you don’t act. Sometimes you fail. For me, that’s a lot of times.

The danger is placing so much emphasis on that one incident and letting it begin a spiral of failure. It’s almost like running at that specific time is do or die. And if I don’t do it, I’ve failed for the entire week.

Failure can snowball from one missed incident. But it doesn’t have to… if I act.

I can do it later. I can do it tomorrow. Though it’s often an excuse, it’s also a really powerful redemption tool. If I fail, I can try again.

I can still go for a run later that day. I can still run tomorrow. Failure in the moment doesn’t mean definite failure. We have to give ourselves more opportunities to act, and more opportunities to succeed.

Just do it

Just like any physical muscle in your body, will power is a muscle that has to be exercised to be strengthened. The more you practice making good decisions, the better you’ll get at it and the easier it’ll be.

So how do you do stuff you don’t want to do? Ultimately, it comes down to simply doing it. In that moment of indecision, make the decision to act. If you don’t act, try again. And again. And again.

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