“I just need to DO IT.”
How often do you try to cajole yourself into taking action by telling yourself this?
“I just need to do it” might seem like sound, reasonable, even helpful advice to give yourself.
But this approach will almost always backfire.
Because, for most people, telling yourself “I just need to do it” produces shame, defensiveness, and inadequacy.
It quickly snowballs into unproductive, self-defeating questions like “So why the heck haven’t I done it yet?” “It’s really not that hard, what’s wrong with me?” and “Why can’t I get this?”
And what happens when you’re swimming in this growing shame, defensiveness, and inadequacy?
If you don’t know how to acknowledge and stay present with these feelings, you avoid them…by procrastinating
So you think that you’re giving yourself motivating advice, but you’re actually exacerbating your problem of inaction by shaming and blaming yourself.
Pause for a minute to let this sink in: “I just need to do it” tends to lead you further away from your desired action, not closer to it.
So, how can you get yourself into productive action instead?
- First, tell yourself the real reason why you haven’t done the thing yet. (“I was scared of what other people might think,” “I was overwhelmed by how much I had to do,” “I was confused about where to start,” “It didn’t seem important to me in the moment,” etc.)
- Validate and comfort yourself—like you would do for someone else.
- Tell yourself exactly how you’ll solve that problem this time around. (Try this: “When I feel ____________, I will ____________.”)
- Then, calmly explain to yourself the true cost of not getting it done, as well as the benefit of getting it done.
- Lastly, tell yourself why, how, when, and where you’re going to get it done.
This is the art of taking action, sans shame.
These 5 steps might seem cumbersome at first, but with practice, they’ll become an ingrained habit that you can use to get yourself into productive action at any time.
P.S. If you’d like help implementing this 5-step strategy, the best place to be is Half-Finished to Done, LIVE, the meeting place for soon-to-be former procrastinators.