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 smoothies and salads are 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 do want is a stack of pancakes or a giant waffle topped with strawberries and whipped cream. A side of bacon and a runny egg would be great, too.
Before breakfast, the last thing I want to do is work out. 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 actually do it. Maybe that’s laziness or a lack of motivation, but I think it’s more about natural resistance. With the exception of adrenaline junkies who like to jump off cliffs and run ultramarathons, most of us want to take the path of least resistance. We want all of the benefits and none of the work.
Why Do Things I Don’t Want to Do?
I truly believe we should choose how we spend our time and engage in activities that bring joy to our lives. So why do I do 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 actually get started.
I do the things I don’t want to do so…
- I can be healthy
- I can feel energized and creative
- I can keep my MS silent
- I can be open to trying things that scare me
It also helps that I’m curious, and that so far, I’ve found most of these new things 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 into bed, make waffles or order pizza, and have a Hugh Grant movie marathon. But I know where that leads and instead make the choice to go another way.
This goes for work, too. Yes, I do work I love. My boss is great, and I work with amazing people... but sometimes I don’t want to do things, like accounting or administrative stuff. 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 want, skip the gym, watch movies, and drink too much wine, but I never feel great when I do. And what I want more than anything is to feel great so I can embrace the best parts of my life.
Too Busy to Choose?
When your life is on autopilot, 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.”
More Alike Than You Think
I wasn’t born a kale lover, and I’m not one who's naturally excited about 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 the health and business coaches I’ve worked with 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.
Courtney Carver is the founder of Be More With Less, a lifestyle blog about simplifying your life, so you can focus on the things that matter to you. This post has been reposted with permission. The original post can be found here.