Motivation Monday: Doing Things you Really Really Don’t want to do

It’s not really that difficult to talk about motivation when dealing with something that we know we should be doing.  Something that has a plethora of ‘pros’ on a pros-cons list.  We know that performing the task is good for us, necessary, and it will make us feel better.  Motivational speakers and bloggers the world over talk about how to motivate yourself to do those things that will benefit you, help you get to where you want to be.

But what about those things where there is an abundance of ‘cons?’ How do we motivate ourselves to accomplish tasks that we really don’t want to do? It may not have any positive benefit, but we have to do it.  So how can we overcome our desire to say ‘screw it’ and go back to something that is a better use of our time?

It’s especially difficult because not only do we have to overcome our brain’s usual excuses for being lazy, but we also have to overcome the fact that there’s no good reason to accomplish this useless but required task.

So here are some tools you can use:

Thinking About the Alternative

You may not want to accomplish this task, but the alternative could be much worse.  This may be why you’ve called it a ‘necessary’ task.  It pays to think about how much worse things could be if you didn’t do it.

For example, let’s say you need to shop around for cheaper insurance, because your premium is too high (As a side note, shop around for insurance every 2 years, you’ll get a cheaper rate).  You don’t want to have to go through the tedious process of calling each company, spending time on hold (the average person spend 8 days of their life on hold), giving your information and comparing quotes.  It can be a lot of boring work.

So think about the alternative. If you don’t shop around, you’ll be paying more money and could be digging into your savings, or it could be preventing you from saving more.  You can’t meet your financial goals and will go into unmanageable debt, before becoming homeless and a complete failure.

Over the top, I know.

But motivation can be a hard sell sometimes.  The way I see it, if it gets you going, it’s a successful motivational tool.

Imagine Yourself after Completing the Task

One of the most powerful methods for accomplishing anything is to actively imagine how things will be when you’re done.  Imagine how good it will feel to have a lower insurance rate, and to know that you don’t have to perform that boring and annoying task for a long time.  Imagine the free time you’ll have without having the task burned into the back of your mind, slowly poking you and reminding you that it’s waiting to be done.  

Imagine a time where you accomplish all those little things you don’t want to do and can enjoy doing something you love.  Think of how it will feel, what you will do, where you’ll do it, and imagine how satisfying it will be.

Biting the Bullet

If all else fails and you just really hate that task, you really can’t find the motivation and just want to ignore it, you can try one last thing before you fully give up.

To bite the bullet, just go do it right now for 5 minutes.  that all, just 5.  5 minutes is nothing, and then you can go back to relaxing and ignore it forever.  So spend 5 minutes making one insurance call and then you can go back to wasting time on the internet.  Chances are you’ll feel good from doing that and you’ll do a few more.

When we set a quick task with ourselves that seems easy, it can make us get up and start doing.  All of a sudden the 5 minutes of doing the task turns into you saying ‘okay screw it let’s just get it done.’  It’s a good last resort trick you can use.

Even if you do go back to wasting time, you’ll feel good knowing you started the task and did 5 minutes of it.  And that will set the tone for the future, because in motivation, getting started is usually the most difficult part.

So go and do it, and then you can come back and read more of my blog 5 minutes from now 🙂

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