I write about and sing the praises of living a healthy lifestyle, simplifying your life, and doing work that matters, but the truth is that even though the smoothie above is delicious, and I hope you try it, I don’t want to eat this way.
When I wake up in the morning, I’m not excited to get the blender out and make a green smoothie. I don’t always want to drink green juice, eat a big plate of spinach, or stay away from junk food. What I want is a stack of pancakes or a giant waffle with strawberries and whipped cream. A side of bacon and a runny egg would be great too.
And before breakfast, the last thing I want to do is workout. I don’t want to sweat, breathe hard, or any of that. I didn’t want to clean out my garage either or spend years paying off my debt. If I think about it, there isn’t much I want to do until I do it. Maybe that’s lazy or unmotivated, but I think it’s more about natural resistance. With exception of adrenaline junkies who like to jump off cliffs and run ultra marathons, most of us want the path of least resistance. We want all of the benefits and none of the work.
So why do I do things I don’t want to do?
I truly believe that we should choose how we spend our time and engage in activities that bring real joy to our lives. So why do I things I don’t want to do? Luckily, with the exception of paying taxes and a few other things, I find the joy once I get started doing things I don’t want to do.
I do the things I don’t want to do so …
- I can be healthy
- I can feel energized and creative
- Because I am curious
- I can keep my MS silent
- I can be open to trying things that scare me
- Because they usually turn out to be enjoyable
I also do them because once I get started, it’s all I want. The first few minutes before the blender starts, or before I get into my workout gear, I want to jump back in bed, make waffles or order pizza and have a Hugh Grant movie marathon, but I know where that goes and make a choice to go another way.
This goes for work too. Yes, I do work I love. My boss is great, and I work with the best people, but sometimes I don’t want to do things. I don’t want to do accounting, or administrative stuff, or deal with certain parts of my work. Even when it comes to writing, there are things I don’t want to do. I don’t want to write the book proposal I’m working on, but I really want to write the book, so I am doing the work.
I slip and slide, eat things I really want, and skip the gym, watch movies, and drink too much wine, but I never feel really great when I do. And what I want more than anything is to feel really great so I can embrace the best parts of my life.
Maybe you think you are too busy to choose?
When your life is on auto-pilot, making healthy choices can seem impossible. I know how it feels. I used to eat and work in my car most of the day in between appointments.
Waking up any earlier to workout or finding time to create a new career felt completely out of reach. So, what do you do when you are too busy to choose? You still choose. As Thomas Edison said, “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”
You make a choice to wake up 5 minutes earlier, work late, skip the waffles or to simply take a break from the busy and decide what you are going to choose to do next.
We are more alike than you think.
So that’s it, if you think I’m inclined to do the things that I do. I”m not.
I wasn’t born a kale lover and I’m not naturally excited to exercise. If you want to know how I grew my blog into a successful business, or how I eat mostly fruits and vegetables, or how I stay active, it’s not about motivation, determination, or skill. It’s because I do things that I don’t want to do. I do things that make me uncomfortable, things that I don’t think I’m capable of doing and things I don’t know how to do.
I wish that some of the books I’ve read, or health and business coaches would talk more about that. We have to do things we don’t want to do to be who we want to be and feel how we want to feel. And once we push through that tiny bit (or really big chunk) of resistance, we usually find we are doing exactly what we want.
If you want to get out of your slump, simplify your life, create a new career, start a new relationship, or try something you’ve never done before, simply do what you don’t want to do. You don’t have to be inspired or motivated and you don’t have to want it right away. Just start.