Last Updated on April 8, 2021

10 Tips on How to Do Something You Don’t Want to Do

10 Tips on How to Do Something You Don’t Want to Do

We all have to do things in life we don’t want to do. For me, it’s laundry, cooking, and exercising, and for others, it’s something else. Some of these things we need to do on a daily basis, while others are more long-term goals. However, it’s important for all of us that we learn how to do something you don’t want to do.

In a world where every person seems to be a procrastinator, how do you find the willpower to do those dreaded activities in your life? Do you often find yourself saying “I can’t get myself to do anything”? If so, it is likely an issue with your motivation or willpower.

Here are 10 tips to help you do what you don’t want to:

1. Face Your Fear

Doing things you don’t want to do isn’t always based in fear (think cooking or laundry), but many of them are. What if you have to give a big presentation[1], but you feel like you’d rather put a bullet in your brain than speak in front of a group?

Many of the things you need to do can lead to personal growth. Facing your fears head-on will make you a better person. And remember, the more you do something, the easier it gets, but you have to stop putting it off and just complete the task.


2. Think of the Long-Term Effects

Let’s say you know you need to eat healthier and exercise. In this case, procrastinating is only hurting you. The longer you wait, the more your body will deteriorate, but you just don’t know what to do when you don’t want to do anything.

It’s easy to get stuck in your comfort zone, but your comfort zone often has negative consequences for your future. Therefore, the trick is to think long-term.

When you want to learn how to do something you don’t want to do, think about how your actions (or inaction) today will be affecting your tomorrow or 10-20 years from now.

If this isn’t enough to motivate you, try checking out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: Activate Your Motivation.

3. Consider Others

Maybe your spouse has been asking you to clean up your huge pile of junk in the kitchen for a long time, and the reason the junk pile is there is because you hate dealing with the details of paper, mail, and all the other random stuff that has collected in that spot.


Putting off cleaning is probably creating resentment in your relationship in this case. Not only is your inaction affecting him/her, but also the overall quality of your relationship. It’s best to suck it up and do the unpleasant task for someone you love, especially when it isn’t causing you any emotional or bodily harm.

4. Break It Into Smaller Steps

Sometimes the tasks you need to accomplish seem so daunting and overwhelming you don’t know where to begin. When this happens, you end up doing nothing and accomplishing nothing.

Before I started my Ph.D. program, the thought of writing a dissertation that was several hundred pages long seemed like an impossibility. However, once I reframed it and thought of it as several shorter “papers” put together, then it didn’t seem so bad. Breaking it down into smaller tasks helps immensely when you’re trying to figure out how to do something you don’t want to do.

5. Don’t Do It All at Once

If you need to clean that junk pile, don’t feel like it all has to be done in one sitting. Any effort toward your end goal is progress. Even if you’re pursuing a degree or doing your taxes, any small effort counts.

Give yourself permission to take the time to get the job done right. At the same time, this doesn’t mean you have unlimited time; you have to stick with it and refuse to give up. Also, don’t allow yourself to leave it until the last minute as this will force you into doing it all at once.


6. Prioritize Steps

Once you have the small steps mapped out, rank them on what is most important. What is the most immediate need and the least? Maybe you’ve been putting off paying your bills, and if that’s the case, make sure you first pay the ones due soon.

As obvious as it sounds, many people don’t prioritize like that. Even if it’s cleaning your house you are procrastinating about, start with the room you think is the dirtiest.

7. Put the Steps on a Calendar

Whether it’s a physical or digital calendar, take the time to put your tasks down on particular days so that when you get up that morning and look at what you have to do that day, you will see your tasks. When this happens, you will be more likely to accomplish them because it’s on your daily to-do list.

You’ll find that you feel more motivated when you’re able to check something off of your calendar, which may help to keep you on track as you’re learning how to do something you don’t want to do.

8. Remember the End Result

Some goals don’t show results quickly, and those are the most difficult ones to start. If you need to lose 50 pounds, you’re probably not going to see the scale move a whole lot for the first week or two.


It’s easy to become discouraged when you are not seeing the results of your efforts, but stick with it. Remember how great it will feel once you accomplish your goal.

Visualization can help with this process. Bring to mind what you end goal will really look and feel like.

9. Appreciate What You Have to Do

If you’re grumbling about cleaning your house, doing your laundry, paying your bills, or cooking, remember how lucky you are to have a house, clothes, food, and money to pay for it all. Not every activity you do is fun, but you can always find some appreciation in whatever you need to do.

10. Reward Yourself

Grab a hot fudge sundae or treat yourself to a long, hot bath and some wine when you’re done with your task. It’s great to spoil yourself, and when you decide to reward yourself after you have accomplished what you don’t want to do, it will serve as more of an incentive to get it done!

The Bottom Line

Our days will not always be filled with our favorite activities. Occasionally, you have to learn how to do something you don’t want to do. This really comes down to motivation and using the correct perspective for a given task.

Take some time to remember why you need to do a given activity and how you will feel once it’s done. You’ll be surprised how your mind begins to automatically shift when faced with a challenge.

More on Finding Motivation

Featured photo credit: via


[1] Psychology Today: Why Are We Scared of Public Speaking?

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on April 9, 2021

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is learning how to stay motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task at hand serves a greater goal.

It’s impossible to expect your motivation levels to remain at 100% all the time, but there are things you can do to maximize your stores of motivation and push forward. Here are 5 simple yet effective tips for staying motivated.

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first, but if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it, it’s time to find your good reasons.

For each goal you set, there needs to be a reason behind it. If you don’t nail down your “why” when you begin, your motivation will soon falter, leaving you miles from achieving your goal. This isn’t the way to learn how to become motivated.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:


  • Rewards: This may come in the form of money (a salary or a raise, for example) or some kind of award.
  • Personal Gain: You will learn something new or improve yourself in a certain way.
  • Accomplishment: Achieving a feeling of accomplishment and recognition for achieving a goal can be a huge motivating factor.
  • A Step Closer to Bigger Goals: Even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to increasing motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, and others will love it[1].

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and enjoyable when we begin to lose motivation.

Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some, yet others love being in that environment. For those that hate going to the gym, finding a team sport in their community may serve them best.

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and others?
  • How can I make this task the best part of my day?

Expecting a task to be enjoyable is one way to learn how to stay motivated. Most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, so looking for ways to have fun while working is a great habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach and Don’t Give up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach if you want to learn how to get motivation.


You may be doing everything correctly and efficiently, but such an approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach that will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common—if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one that will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

If you can’t find the right approach, you may need to go back to motivation basics to find your motivation style. Check out Lifehack’s Free Assessment: What’s Your Motivation Style?

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most big or long-term goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities, but to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it. Tracking is merely taking note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at the bigger picture and realize where exactly you are and how much more you have left to do.


For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until everything is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such an approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive progress made. This is how to keep yourself motivated in the long-term.

5. Reward Yourself

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on a particular task? Hate the whole idea of working?

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables that will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way. This creates external motivators to help you feel motivated in the long run.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do. For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself to dessert.


For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to see a movie, taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

The more you reward yourself for making progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques, and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right away. Mix different approaches, and match them to your task for the best results.

Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to help you feel better, and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Learning how to stay motivated is as simple as finding what works for you. If you need a reward, schedule one. If you just need to find your “why”, take time for introspection. Do what you need to do and start tackling those goals.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via


[1] The Positivity Blog: How to Get the Boring Tasks Done

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