Why You Should Make Yourself Do the Things You Don’t Want to Do

The things that matter are often disagreeable to do. The easy things can be done by anyone, and that’s why they often don’t matter too much. That’s why sipping lemonade on your front porch doesn’t pay as well as handling nuclear waste. There’s a lot of value in getting yourself to do the things you don’t want to do.

Consider these ideas:

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1. Frequently, the things you need to do are things you don’t want to do. You might need to pay your taxes, clean the basement, visit your mother-in-law, go to the gym, or find a new job. Few of us want to do those things. Unfortunately, they must be done if you want to have a great life.

2. It builds character and discipline. Everyone could use a little more character and discipline. Unfortunately, misery is part of the cost. Develop yourself by tackling those high-return tasks. You’ll become more capable as a result.

3. Other people don’t want to do them. Your greatest successes will include doing things that others aren’t willing to do. Larry Bird would shoot baskets in the snow while everyone else was watching cartoons. Be excited when faced with a task you don’t want to do. It might be your ticket to the big time.

4. Your competitors might be doing the things you don’t want to do. There are a few people who will take on those disagreeable tasks. Some of them may be your competitors. It’s important to work smart and hard if you want to be successful. That means you have to do what needs to be done.

5. It’s a great time to practice mindfulness. Those hard-to-do tasks are hard because you think about how awful it’s going to be. If you’re mindful, those thoughts stay out of your mind. Every task is just a matter of putting in the time if you keep your focus on the task. Just breathe and do it.

6. Your self-esteem will get a boost. You might not be happy while you’re doing something, but you’ll feel great afterwards. It feels good to check a tough task off your to-do list. You feel good about yourself and walk a little taller.

There are many things you can do to help you complete those challenging tasks. You don’t need a strategy to sit on the couch and take a nap, but getting yourself to change your clothes and drive to the gym when it’s raining outside can be a little more challenging.

Practice these strategies:

1. Get started. Without giving the task too much thought, take the first step before you have a chance to stop yourself. Just walk down in the basement and move that first box or put on your workout shoes and grab your keys.

2. Start small. Tell yourself you only have to spend 10 minutes on the task. You’ll frequently find that’s enough to build some momentum.

3. Think long-term. Don’t think about how awful it is to paint the deck. Think about how great you’ll feel when you sit out there with your friends and grill hamburgers.

You bring yourself greater success when you do the things that the average person is unwilling to do. Think about the most successful people you know.

They all spend more time doing disagreeable things than the least successful people you know.

You’ll get more from yourself, and from your life, if you can make yourself do those things you don’t want to do.


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