April 17


How to do something you don’t want to do?

By Harry Heijligers

April 17, 2018

Growth Mindset

Admit it! Your life is not always rosy. You have probably lot’s of stuff on your to-do list you’d rather not do. And that’s entirely human, and I’m guilty of that too! As my former High School teacher used to say: “You can’t win the Nobel prize every day.” In other words: there is a lot of unsexy, mundane, hard laborious work to be done before you arrive at that final glorious moment of succeeding in your goals. And until then, a lot of hard work has to be done, if you like it or not. So, how to do something you don’t want to do?

That’s the question I want to answer in this article.

So, if you're going to finally pass that stage where you put things off you don’t like to do, then please, read on:


How to do something you don’t want to do?

The trick in life is to withstand the discomfort which comes along with everything you want to do. Let’s face it. Even if you are going on a dream vacation to Hawai’i, there is a lot of discomfort and stress which comes along with it. For example, I always have trouble with my passport at the airport! Once, it was overdue. So, I had to go to customs and arrange for a temporary passport. This took so long that I nearly missed my flight! Did this trouble and stress stop me from traveling? No, of course not! Did I learn from it! No, of course not! Ten years later, I even completely forgot to bring my passport! So, I had to go home to collect my passport and completely missed my flight. So, my family already was in Turkey while I was racing between my home and the airport to at least catch the next flight! I’m just saying: even in the things which are pleasant and joyful, such as going on a holiday, there are dull, nasty and stressful things to accomplish.

But how to do something you don’t want to do?

Well, there are two things you can do to do the things you don’t want to do:

  1. Accept discomfort and get accustomed to it.
  2. Change the way you think about it.

Let’s face it: if you can get used to stressful situations, or to dull laborious work, then it is much easier to endure them. Furthermore, if you reframe such situations in such a way that you value them more, then you get more fulfillment of those things to do, and you will be more engaged in the work. And when you are more engaged in what you do, you automatically enjoy it more which makes it even easier to do what you have to do!

So, how do you accept discomfort and get accustomed to it?

How to do something you don’t want to do
How to do something you don’t want to do

Well, one of the ways is to level up your mental resistance or your mental toughness. You do this by voluntary doing something you don’t like. Preferably every day! For example, I take every morning a cold shower. And although I have been doing this for over three years now, I still hate it! Lucky me! Because now, I have something I can keep doing every day which I hate. On purpose! I’m not suggesting that you should take cold showers too. I mean, you can, of course, but you can also choose something else you don’t like to do naturally. Maybe for you, it is to eat a particular vegetable every day. Or lower the temperature in your house. Pick something you’d rather not do and use it to practice voluntary hardship to train your mental resistance.

The second thing you can do to do something you don’t want to do is to reframe your thinking. For example, I don’t like administrative work because I find it dull and laborious. But you know what? It still is necessary for my overall objectives. So, instead of only looking at the task on a micro-level, I reframe the task as an essential piece of the puzzle to accomplish my goals. It’s like the story of the stonecutters in my book The Anti-Procrastination Mindset: if you see the bigger picture, even the things you don’t want to do at first appear to be engaging and joyful!

Here is a practical tip: it takes a certain amount of willpower to do something you don’t want to do. And willpower is like a battery. It is charged during a good night’s sleep, but it depletes during the day until you recharge it with enough rest and food. So, schedule the things you don’t want to do first thing in the morning, preferably, when you have your most willpower available to perform the task. Another good time is right after a lunch break when your willpower is recharged by having had some food and mental rest.

Over to you:

How are you dealing with the things you’d rather not do?

Are you neglecting them?

Are you putting them off?

Or are you dealing with them effectively?

Let me know in the comment box below, how you do something you don’t want to do:

And until we meet …

Live fully, be awesome,

Harry Heijligers

P.S. Please take a moment to share this article with someone who, like you, sometimes don't want to do what needs to be done.

Thank you!

Harry Heijligers

About the author

Harry Heijligers has more than 25 years of experience as a Project Manager and more than 17 years of experience as an NLP Trainer. He has a Dutch blog about NLP here: HarryHeijligers.com.
If you'd like to know about the Smart Leadership Hut, please check this: Smart Leadership Hut.

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