Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thinking Is Overrated

We start out with the best intentions—to get healthy, be more productive, work smarter—but after the first time or two of working toward our goals, we poop out. You’ve been there, right? You have to get off the couch and go for a run, or you have to get out of your cozy bed to start the day, or it’s time to clean your house…but you don’t want to. So, what’s the answer?

Don’t think. Just do.

Don’t think about all the other things you could be doing instead of running, like napping, vegging, eating, or just not running. Don’t think about how warm and snuggly you are beneath your blankets and how cold you know it is outside of them. Don’t start thinking of ways you can make your house look like it’s clean without actually cleaning it.

Don’t think. Just do.

If you think about the options, of course you’ll want to do them instead because they’re a) easier, b) more fun, c) less work, or d) all of the above. This could keep you inactive forever. Once you’re in motion though, you put yourself in a completely different space, and all you can think about is how great the sun feels on your face, how wonderful that first cup of coffee is, and how much less self-conscious you are entertaining guests in a clean house. So, if the real issue is starting…

Don’t think (about starting). Just do.

It would be great if the benefits of exercise and fresh air, a leisurely morning to prepare for the day ahead, and a clean house were enough to motivate you to do what you know you should. I’ll admit that, after I’ve done these deeds, I do feel accomplished and productive. But that’s after the fact, and to get to the “after” you have to go through the “now.”  

Part of the problem for me is that these kinds of activities are things I know I “should” be doing. Maybe it’s the rebel in me, but too often I feel the desire to push back when it comes to the “should”s in my life. That feeling comes from a purely mental state though. My body doesn’t get sucked into the “should” my mind has attached to these tasks. It just does them. So, let it. Don’t cogitate, procrastinate, prioritize, or justify.

Don’t think. Just do.

I’m living proof that this strategy works. So far, it’s helped me accomplish my New Year’s goals of writing every day and exercising. I haven’t tried it yet to help me clean my house because, to be perfectly honest, the only time I really clean is when I have people coming over. But maybe that’s an issue that needs an attitude adjustment of a different kind.

What helpful tips can you share to help us accomplish our goals, feel more motivated, or just get out of bed?


  1. Aha! Another post! You really are "doing" instead of just "thinking," I see. Good for you! I think I'll follow your advice tomorrow and clean the upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms first thing in the morning-- before I think my way out of it. Hope it works!

  2. I hope it worked for you today, Leslie! I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow--with working out. I know it's good for me, but I find it so difficult to create this habit for myself.

  3. I agree 100%! This is exactly how I lost so much weight before my wedding. JUST DO!

    1. Good for you, Andi! Now I need to see if I can use this motivation method to help me eat healthier. Wish me luck...