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How to force yourself to do things you know you should do but that you don’t really want to
How do you force yourself to do all the things on your to-do list when you have no motivation?
A friend asked me, “How do you force yourself to do all the things on your to-do list when you have no motivation? I’ve been there, I’ll be there again, and I am kinda there right now. So this one is for both of us.
Maybe it’s for you too.
First, change your mind about forcing it.
You always have a choice. You can choose to keep the status quo. To remain static and remain in place. That’s a powerful choice.
Start with a Get to instead of a Got to. Say to yourself “I get to do this thing today.” “I get to do that thing today.”
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Next, find your why.
The key is always your why. When the why to becomes bigger than the why not, change will happen. Until it is, you won’t.
Now sometimes the why can be a what happens if I don’t do this. That pain can be strong - if you can add in some urgency or some compounding. If I don’t work out today, I’m going to die of diabetes. That’s a real one for me. But not today. So I can push it off. So I compound that with the I won’t have the energy to play on the weekend. I won’t have the strength to do the fun things I want to do. And I’ll need to buy new clothes and I love the clothes I have now, and some of the new clothes I bought don’t fit so I need to get back after it. And I will die earlier from diabetes and miss out on some prime time with those I love the most.
Thinking of it this way motivates me more.
Lastly, just get started.
What’s the first step I can take towards this goal or task. If I can’t do the whole thing, what’s one small step I can take. This is proved out in research by BJ Fogg and James Clear in the books Tiny Habits and Atomic Habits, respectively. Do something super small and then do that until it becomes a habit and then do more. Or break something up into a bunch of smaller things, add them to your to do list, and then get started, and enjoy the joy or crossing things off.
These aren’t fool proof. Nothing is. These do help me when I feel unmotivated. I hope they help you too.
I am grateful for the reframing ability. I am grateful for the activation energy to get moving. And I am grateful for the ability to break things up into smaller parts and getting them done, one at a time.