What if You Don’t Feel Like Doing Something

I’m struggling to write this blog post.

There I’ve said it.

I wanted to write something on energy but didn’t feel like I had the energy to write it.

I’m at odds with myself. I want to honor my commitment to writing a blog post every week, but damn, if I’m not having a hard time getting started and there’s a little voice inside saying, “You don’t have to do it this week; no one will care.”

And maybe that’s true. Maybe there isn’t a single person who would miss a weekly blog post from me.

But I care. I know that I will have broken my commitment once, and from there, it’s a slippery slope to readily accepting excuses that my mental gremlins can create.

“It’s too hot; I’m too tired; no one cares; you don’t have anything to say.”

Oh, man, the mental gremlins are strong.

But those are just thoughts; they aren’t who I am.

So, I’ll write anyway.

And perhaps this won’t be the best blog post I ever write. Can I be okay with that?

Yes, of course.

What I’m going through is something I think everyone goes through. When our motivation to do something, even something we know is beneficial for us, wanes, and we want to stop.

But here’s the trick I learned…don’t stop. Just allow yourself to show up a little imperfectly for a while. Keep walking until your motivation gets going again.

This means, for me, that if I write this blog post and admit I’m struggling right now. If I allow myself to show up imperfectly, the momentum keeps going. And maybe next week, my blog post will knock your socks off!!

For me, keeping momentum going is far easier than allowing it to stop entirely and re-engaging later.

I’m applying this to writing this blog post, but I could just as easily apply to exercise. On those days I don’t feel like doing it, I’ll spend 10 minutes stretching or go out for a nice slow walk, just to make sure I’m moving my body. No sweat required.

I’ve applied the same principle to eating well…I’m definitely not perfect there. I could down a family-size bag of Lay’s potato chips in 24 hours. But I also make sure to get some good nutritious food in, too…just to keep the momentum going.

And now I’m about 400 words in, and I realize that just starting was the hardest part.

This reminds me of a time when I was taking painting classes in Chicago. It was winter when skies get dark at 4 pm, and it was freezing cold outside. I had left my warm house bundled from head to toe, and it felt like it had taken all of my energy to get there and get unbundled.  

I arrived at the studio grumpy. I sat in front of the canvas for about 10 minutes. I put no paint on the brush or made any kind of attempt to start.

The instructor came by to check in on me. She asked how I was feeling, and I said….”Oh, honestly, I don’t feel like painting tonight.”

And then she said words I will never forget. “Oh, I’ve had that feeling before, and my old painting teacher would always say, ‘Just paint until you do feel like doing it.’”

And so, I did. And wouldn’t you know – about 15 minutes later I was present to the moment and happy to be there.

Just the way I feel right now, as I wrap up this blog post. I wrote until it felt good to be here on the page.

Don’t feel like doing something? Just start and keep going until you do.