“Why Am I Not Doing What I Want To Do?!”

I’ve referred to The Agony Aunt before: It’s basically the name for that column in the newspaper of some sort where people send in letters with questions and problems they need help with. The columnist (the Agony Aunt) replies with something nice and helpful. Now, I am very flattered to say that I’ve actually become some sort of Agony Aunt: all these lovely girls send me e-mails with questions or post in the Contact Page on my blog to help me with their stuff! Even though I curse all the time and make stupid jokes. Thanks you guys.

First of all, if I haven’t replied to yet: I’m sorry. Real life gets in the way of my Internet Duties. Before I know it it’s been months since I saw your e-mail or comment. But I never forget, and I’m here to better my ways and answer a question I should have answered a long time ago. Sorry I’ve kept you waiting, Irla!

“Why am I not doing what I want to do?! I want to start doing 30 minutes of yoga at home and practice with visualization and affirmation  but I always end up thinking ‘oh, I’ll do that tomorrow’ and never really start, while I know I would feel so much happier if I just went ahead and do it! What is wrong with me?!” 

First of all, there is nothing with you: We all have your problem.I’ll explain why. People have this idea in their head that whenever they want to change something in their behavior, they can just decide to do so and be done with it. This is correct in theory, because any behavioral change starts by making up your mind. However, in reality our behavior is not just governed by that one thought. Instead it is based on experience, previous thoughts and behaviors, which has created an Auto Pilot program that is easy for you to run on. You can read more about this Auto Pilot here.

You do things on AutoPilot and the fact you want to change something in your AutoPilot does not cause the automatic change! You need more for that. You have to govern your behavior for a little while until it becomes part of your AutoPilot Program. But because your AutoPilot just wants to continue running as it does, it runs by you and your mind goes like “we’ll do it some other time.” Sound familiar?

But of course, these things can be dealt with. What can really help you here is the folllowing:

  • Start out small (even smaller than you think you should). I have a friend who realized she couldn’t start from scratch with an entire yoga routine and smart cookie that she is, she started with one Sun Salutation. One. You know why? It’s the very first start of creating a new habit, and no matter how small you start, you can build up from there. After a week of one sun salutation, you can find yourself adding an extra posture when you’re up for it.
  • Make it a 30 Day Challenge. I assume you want to create a new habit because you think it will be beneficial. When you try it out for a while, you will be able to see for yourself if the benefits are truly worth the hassle of the new habit. You don’t have to do it forever, you just have to do it now!
  • Do it for your Future Self. This is one of my Catch Phrases. I know if I do it now, I won’t have to do it later and this effectively makes my life easier during the rest of the day. I do the dishes immediately so my Future Self doesn’t have to deal with sticky pans and pots. I exercise in the morning so I don’t have to worry if I will have the time and energy during the evening. See what I mean? If you start now, if you do it now, you will basically give your Future Self a little gift!
  • Deal With The Autopilot. Whenever I’m in the midst of creating a new habit, I just go through the motions, even though it feels extra annoying and exhausting, because I know for a fact that in a week or two, I’ll hardly even notice it.
  • DO IT NOW. This is Steve Pavlina’s catchphrase, but I’m sure he will let us borrow it. He’s a cool guy. The more you say this to yourself, the more you become action-oriented and start doing things straight away.

I hope I have helped you a little. Have a great Monday!

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10 comments

  1. Excellent. I was just talking about this last night with the boyfriend – and reading this in the café, taking a break from DOING IT NOW and 5-year-planning really cheered me up. Thank you!

  2. Great tips! For me making listst at night for what I want to do the nexy day also helps. Sometimes I want to do things and by the end of the day I realise I just ‘forgot’ doing them.

    1. That works for me too! I really love making to do lists and then rate then (A,B,C) on importance. I started doing this since you wrote about it and it really works.