Not feeling in the mood to do certain things is a universal experience. If you’re like me, it’s a daily occurrence.
Like they say, never do today what can be put off until tomorrow.
An amusing thought it may be, but hardly a good rule to live by.
As normal as procrastination may be, when we allow it to become our constant companion, it can keep us stuck in a holding pattern that goes nowhere.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is the last thing we feel like doing.
I’m not talking about big projects like cleaning the basement or planting a garden or applying for a new job or creating a work of art.
I’m referring to small actions which we know are right for our health (both physical and mental) and which can make us feel energized in the process of doing them.
I speak of things like calling a loved one, getting off the couch to walk around the neighborhood, picking out some healthy ingredients for dinner (rather than eating out), or volunteering for a worthy cause.
So, what will nudge us to act on these when we’re not exactly ‘in the mood’? Three things to consider:
First and foremost: it helps to bring to mind our vision of optimal health.
This visioning process I talk about often in my blog is not a one-time exercise but a daily practice which reinforces our deeply held values.
Remembering our aspirations often can serve to move us to action when we’re feeling unmotivated.
Every time we picture ourselves experiencing robust health, it has a way of orienting our behavior in a positive direction. Not a guarantee, mind you, but it does tend to get the ball rolling when we might be tempted to do nothing.
Secondly, keep in mind that a bit of self-compassion goes a long way. The more we procrastinate the more we feel guilty for not following through, and it can become a nasty cycle that only feeds our avoidance behavior.
Going easy on ourselves once in a while will not alleviate the need to take action but it will reduce some of the pressure that keeps us stuck in the first place.
Lastly, think bite-size.
Since overwhelm is one of the biggest contributors to inaction, the more we’re able to break tasks down into small, manageable pieces, the easier it is to get started (overcome inertia) and the sooner we get to see results from our actions.
Small successes, experienced often, have a way of generating wonderful momentum.
Who could ask for anything more?