Monday, June 29, 2020

How to Make Yourself Do Something When You Don’t Want To

You know you sometimes say, “I want to go for a run, but today I don’t really feel like it”? Or maybe, “I want to write a book, but I don’t feel like writing right now”?

Well, today, I’m going to give you a tip to help with “not feeling like it.”

Back in the day, when I was training for my first marathon with Team in Training, we always ran our long runs together on a Saturday morning. And they were always on the trails. With lots of shade.

I have fond memories of being the last one back to the cars for our final check-in, long after all the fast runners stretched, rehydrated, and got back in the cars to drive home. Coach Scott was always there for me, waiting until every last runner was safely back to our starting point.

Even when I didn’t feel like continuing, I looked forward to water and a granola bar. I looked forward to stretching and chatting with the final few. At the end of every run, I felt accomplished and strong. Ready to hit the trails again the next Saturday, even though I knew it would be hard and I knew I would be last.

Feeling Motivated is Great, But…

Sometimes we have these big goals, but we don’t feel motivated to work toward them. It’s great to feel motivated, but that’s not always the case. So what do you do about it?

Today, in 2020, I’m not training for a marathon. I merely aim to get 10 miles a week. Sometimes I’m excited, and sometimes I don’t feel as motivated. So what do I do about that? I find something to look forward to, just like I did when I was training for my first marathon.

There’s this little trail near my house, if you even want to call it a trail. It’s actually a little portion of ground with gravel about a foot away from the main road. It might be 100 feet, if you’re lucky. It goes past two mailboxes. It’s uphill and there’s lots of trees overhanging the curve to give shade. It makes me feel like I’m running the trails again. It’s a nostalgic, euphoric feeling. I smile when my feet step onto the gravel of uneven terrain and I enter the shade zone, even if only for a couple of minutes.

So find something to look forward to and you’ll be more motivated to get out there and pound the pavement (or the trails).

How to Write When You Don’t Want To

You know you’re never going to get your novel published if you don’t finish writing it, right? I think it’s awesome to have big goals. I’m a dreamer, so I’m always dreaming big. But you can’t keep your head in the clouds; you have to take action too.

How do you look forward to your writing?

Tip #1: Schedule it on your calendar. Even if it’s only one hour a week. You’ll know when it’s happening and you’ll start to look forward to it.

Tip #2: Think about what you’re going to write about. Think about your characters and the next scene. It will get you excited to write the next sentence, even if you feel stuck.

Find Something to Look Forward To

Motivation ebbs and flows. We aren’t always excited about doing the things we say we want to do. That’s okay.

Sometimes, looking to the end of the activity might work for you.

  • “I can’t wait to get back to the car and sit down, stretch, get some water and a snack.” 
  • “I guess I’ll go for a run today because I know I’ll feel better once it’s done.” 
  • “When I’m finished with my writing today, I get to finish reading Harry Potter.” 
  • “I guess I’ll write today - so I can reach my word count goals.” 

But sometimes beginning with the end in mind isn’t enough. Not in real life anyway.

Sometimes we need to find a way to enjoy the act itself. Why run if you hate every step of it? Why write if you can’t stand it? Do what you love and the joy will follow. But what if you’re having a hard time re-connecting to your initial joy?

Find SOMETHING to look forward to DURING the act.

For running, I look forward to that mini trail. I also look forward to fresh air and sunshine. I also look forward to nature and wildlife. I see buttercups, dandelions, and morning glories. I often find four-leaf clovers. I have seen turtles, snakes, lizards, butterflies, ladybugs, dogs, falcons, owls, bluebirds, frogs, among other critters.

With my writing, I remember what it feels like to write a story. I think about my characters and the next scene, as mentioned above. When I write, I get giddy and shout, “I LOVE writing! THIS is why I love to write!” So I remember THAT feeling and then I look forward to my scheduled writing time more and more.

I hope you can do the same. Choose a special pen or pencil or a fancy journal. Look forward to THAT. Choose a special PLACE to write. Make it your writing haven. Whatever you do, make sure you actually write - and that you enjoy it.

Until next time, keep on keepin’ on…

How do you psych yourself up to start writing or to go for a run? Let me know in the comments! Share your comment here.


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