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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Magnet.me via unsplash.com

Reference

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

More by this author

Carol Morgan

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

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Published on September 3, 2021

6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated

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6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated

You know the feeling—that “I still have another whole work day to get through” feeling? It sucks. The worst part is knowing that you have to get up, get to work, and be productive when you feel checked out, unmotivated, and would rather go back to bed. The trickiest part about it is that even though you may know intellectually that you’re not the only person who has ever felt that way, at the moment, it can feel very lonely.

If you feel the Friday funk and want to shake it off, try these six tips to lift your Friday motivation.

1. Eat a Solid Breakfast and Plan to Eat Lunch

The first thing you can do to lift your Friday motivation is to eat a solid breakfast. We have all heard the phrase, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It turns out that it wasn’t just something our parents were telling us to get us to eat before school. Studies have shown that eating breakfast can help with improved memory, recall, mood, and visual-motor functions.[1]

However, researchers have found evidence that the benefits of the micronutrient boost provided by breakfast do wear off after a while. Just like a car with a full tank of gas that runs out after a long journey, the body needs to be refueled. Therefore, planning to eat breakfast and lunch on a day when you are not feeling your best could give you that extra boost you need to get through the day. Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar, which can leave you feeling weak and tired.[2] If you are already struggling with feeling motivated, not eating is only going to make you feel more sluggish and less inspired to get anything done.

2. Prioritize What’s Urgent

I have always been a fan of the cheat sheet. No, I’m not a cheater, but I love knowing what needs to be done. No one wants to waste any precious energy trying to figure out what should be done when you are already feeling unmotivated.

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No matter who you are, there is a high probability that by Friday, on any given week, you have at least one or two items that were supposed to be completed earlier in the week but just didn’t get done. Here is my quick trick for figuring out what’s urgent.

Just ask yourself these three questions:

  • Are there any projects with deadlines that have passed already but are still due?
  • Which of those projects is the most overdue?
  • Of the overdue projects, which will take the least time to make significant progress or complete?

This should help you to easily identify at least one task that you can spend time working on diligently, knowing that you are getting something important done.

3. Tackle the Low-Hanging Fruit

Another way to refresh your Friday motivation is to tackle the low-hanging fruit. There is nothing wrong with doing the easy stuff first. Maybe you are so burned out and the urgent tasks will take too much energy. There is nothing wrong with knocking out the obvious easy things. Emails, filing, data entry, document reconciliation, follow-up calls, editing or revising written work, and research are all low-hanging fruits—these are all straightforward tasks.

Getting these easier tasks done will give you a sense of accomplishment. You can leverage this sense of accomplishment to help you tackle some harder tasks or get all the easy tasks done so the following week, you can dedicate your time to the harder projects.

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4. Give Yourself at Least Two Scheduled Breaks

Give yourself at least two scheduled breaks during the workday. Life is stressful. Feeling like you have to work when you don’t feel up to it is stressful. Let’s not compound it by forcing yourself to sit in front of the computer all day with no breaks. The days of believing that “lunch is for punks and working 80 hours a week is what you should be doing” are fading away—if not already a distant memory for some.

In fact, scientists discovered that, although “taking short breaks throughout the working day may not have as obvious an impact as taking a holiday, research has found significant benefits. Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.”[3]

Before you sit down in front of your desk for the workday, set three alarms—two 20-minute breaks and one lunch break. You aren’t proving anything to anyone by forcing yourself to be miserable in front of your computer. You deserve flexibility and compassion. Let these breaks be a radical act of self-care.

5. Listen to Some Upbeat Tunes

Another way to improve your Friday motivation is to listen to some upbeat tunes. Music is medicine. It is not a mystery that the vibrations of sound can affect our mood. Ancient communities knew this and embraced it through practices like chanting, the use of singing bowls, chimes, bells, and other sound instruments as tools for healing. Practices like Kirtan and Bhakti yoga use chanting to heal and shift energy. The Hindu and Buddhist religions use bells and chimes in many of their spiritual healing rituals. Throughout the modern world, we have adopted the use of signing bowls for energetic healing.

Most people could recall at least one moment in their lives when music or sound has helped shift their mood. Music has been shown to have a direct effect on the listener. Studies show that listening to music while you work can lead to an “increase in both mood and quality of work”.[4]

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If you are feeling super unmotivated, the solution to your problem may be throwing on your favorite album in the background while you try to get a few things done. If you can’t work while listening to music with words and you do not like classical music or traditional jazz, explore genres like Trip hop, house, ambient, Beach House, JamBand. You may also enjoy artists like Bonobo, Thievery Corporation, and Grammatik.

6. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

As a yogi, I’m all about being present in the moment. But sometimes, the present is a little too intense, and being super present is not going to help to improve your mood. In those moments, tapping into the power of positive anticipation can be your secret weapon because “knowing that something good is coming your way pushes you to accomplish those tasks you may not necessarily want to do.”[5]

We all love to be rewarded, especially when we are doing something we don’t want to do. Giving yourself something to look forward to is the way to guarantee that you will be rewarded for the hard work of getting through the day.

The reward doesn’t have to be immense. It can be something small like getting ice cream, going for a walk, spending time with friends, or vegging out with your phone on do not disturb for a few hours. I used to employ this trick a lot when I was in boarding school. The time between semesters in new England would feel so long especially in the winter that my friends and I would let ourselves get excited about little things like drinking lime rickeys at Brigham’s. Believe it or not, it worked.

Try it the next time you get the hit with the Friday funk. Think about something you can look forward to no matter how small, and notice how it shifts your energy.

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Final Thoughts

As the adage says, “this too shall pass.”

Friday is just a day like every other day before it will end. One thing you can count on is that time waits for no one, so despite how difficult it may feel to get through, know that the time is on your side.

No matter what, Friday will wind on. The best thing you can do to improve your Friday motivation is to make sure that your body has the micronutrients it needs to power through the day, identify what’s urgent, tackle low hanging fruit, give yourself time away from the desk, throw on your favorite tunes, and think about the fact that you have the entire weekend to look forward to.

You got this!

More Tips on How to Improve Your Friday Motivation

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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Reference

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