Every organism seeks to conserve energy.
So if you find yourself judging yourself for procrastinating, simply realize that you’re doing what organisms do… exerting no more energy than you absolutely must.
And then, with that bit of self-compassion, see if it helps to try the following:
Flip the statement “I’ll do it when I feel like it” to “I’ll feel like it when I do it.”
Remember times you resisted going to the gym (or a party, or to work or school) but once you got there and started whatever it was you didn’t feel like doing, you realized it wasn’t so bad. You might have even liked it, and afterward you were glad you went.
Tony Robbins is fond of saying, “Motion creates emotion.”
Inertia is real, and not just in the physical world—we experience emotional inertia as well. When we’re at rest, it’s easier to stay at rest than it is to get up and go. But conversely, once we’re in motion, it’s often easier to stay in motion than to stop.
If it’s helpful, see if what you’re procrastinating—paying the bills, making dinner, writing a paper or a report—has the potential for you to reach a flow state.
I learned from flow-state expert Steven Kotler that one of the requirements of entering the flow state is to overcome resistance to doing so.
It’s just like if you want to take a shower, first you’ve got to turn on the water. If you want to bake a cake, you’ve got to turn on the oven. If you want to enter the flow state, you’re going to have to overcome some resistance, or inertia.
Finally, see if applying Mel Robbins’ 5-Second Rule might be just the thing you need to get up and go.
(If you don’t want to click the link, here’s the gist: for any task or action you’re resisting, decide you’re going to do it, then count backwards from 5, and when you get to 1, go do it. It might sound silly, but many thousands of people swear by it, including me for certain situations.)
So, when you’re ready, get up and go. And if you really don’t feel like it, that’s okay too.
Just remember, no matter what you do (or don’t do), you always produce some result.
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