Everything people say or do is ultimately rooted in the belief that these actions will lead them to happiness. – Taro Gold

Most people know what’s good and bad for them. We all have an idea of what we should do but we also have a gazillion excuses why we’re not doing them. Even reading a dozen self help books doesn’t help much if it doesn’t get people into action. Whether it’s exercising, eating healthy, spending more time with the family or saving money, most of us choose to go the other way and continue doing things the easier way.The problem doesn’t lie in the lack of knowledge but the lack of awareness or lack of will power in some instances. But how do you become aware or start changing yourself if you’re always in auto pilot?

  1. Notice yourself and how you act with everything that’s happening around you. This is the first step in becoming aware of your actions/inaction and the reasons behind them.  Don’t change anything yet, just notice.
  2. As things happen around you, think hard about the reasons behind what you do or don’t do. For instance, do you stay late at work because you have problems at home? Do you avoid going to the gym because you prefer to spend your weekends relaxing?
After becoming aware of what you don’t do and the reasons behind them, identify ways of meeting them in another way.  What we do, whether it’s good or bad, is always some form of a solution or reprieve from a problem we’re experiencing. Take the example above regarding exercise, a lot of people know it’s good for them but they don’t do it because they prefer to relax or spend their time in another activity. Now that you’re aware of the real reasons why you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do, it’s time to change your ways and create a new “response” system. Here’s how:
  • Turn “should do” into “must do”. People who turn what they want to do into a necessity are more likely to start doing it than those who don’t. It’s a basic rule in Psychology, if you convince yourself that what you’re supposed to do is a necessity, you’re more likely to do it. For instance, instead of just pushing yourself to dedicate more time for your family, give yourself more convincing reasons to do so, like “not missing your kids grow up” or “preventing your marriage from falling apart”.
  • Avoid unnecessary distractions. Sometimes, even the things we want to achieve most aren’t obvious because of all the distractions around us. Don’t attempt to do everything! Concentrate on what’s more important for you and do those things well.
  • Focus on the fun part. Our brains are hard wired to “avoid” anything that sounds remotely difficult or boring. If you’re serious about doing what you should be doing, you need to think of the fun and easy aspect of what you want to do. People do things not because it’s logical or good for them (I should save for my retirement) but because it will make them feel good (I’m going to travel the world when I have enough money after I retire!).

If what you’re trying to do sounds too hard, boring or scary, your brain and body’s inertia will resist it. What are you waiting for? Stop surfing the internet for nonsense and get started with doing what’s good for you. It’s never too late to start.

Sharing is caring
Paul Bailey

Paul is a highly experienced Business Coach, Mentor and Personal Development Specialist. He works with people to enhance business and personal performance through a process of supported self-awareness and self- development. Paul is the Co-Author of the book 80 Tips.