Wanting To Do Something vs Actually Doing It

Today’s topic was inspired by listening to the GaryVee Audio Experience from 27th April 2019.

In this and in so much more of his content Gary is slapping people in the face by telling them what they need to do and that he knows they’re still not going to to do it anyway.

And it made me think what we can do to snap out of this as we ALL do it!

We ALL do it!

We know what we need to do to get fitter, lose weight or stop that bad habit, but do we ACTUALLY want it? If yes, why aren’t we doing it then?

My theory here is quite straight forward: If you’re not doing it, you don’t actually want to do it and you probably enjoy the other thing more.

I am not talking about full-on addictions. That’s a whole different topic. I am talking about the choices we have and how we work with them.

Do some thinking exercises

Put some time aside and really think about that thing that you want to do and feel into your own emotional response when you picture yourself doing it.

Can you imagine eating only cabbage for a month? Do you see yourself cooking at home rather than eating out to save money? Can you picture yourself getting up every morning at 5am to go to the gym?

If you can’t imagine yourself doing it and you feel an uneasy, unpleasant emotional response, then you don’t actually want to do this!

You can spend some extra time figuring out why exactly you don’t want to do it, but an idea would be to start with small steps and see how it goes.

But here’s the trick!

If you notice that you’re not actually willing to do that thing and that it’s bound to fail anyway, then make a compromise. Find a balance instead.

It is way easier to create a balance and then slightly shift the weight into either direction while constantly monitoring your emotional response. Eventually you might end up doing that thing and you didn’t even notice.

I have two personal examples for you.

Example 1: CrossFit

I started CrossFit late in 2012 in the Isle of Man and I was still smoking, drinking a lot of beer when going out every weekend and eating an unhealthy diet.

At some point about half a year later my CrossFit coach pulled me aside and said, “Listen, you can’t do both. You can’t go out there, do all this bad stuff for your body and then come in here and expect results to show.”

I agreed and asked him for two more weeks. Those weeks the Tourist Trophy motorbike races were on and the whole island was one big party.

I used those two weeks to drink, party, stay up all night, eat pizza and keep smoking. But after that time was up, I came to the gym and said “I am here 100%!”

There was no balance in this, but I knew I wanted to do it, I wanted to get fitter, stronger, healthier. So from one day to another I quit smoking, drinking, carbs and I went to the gym six times a week, usually for the 6.30am session.

I made tremendous progress. I lost weight, became fit, strong and happy. But on the flip side, I started losing “non-fit” friends as they didn’t understand that I wasn’t drinking when I came out. So they stopped inviting me and generally excluded me from activities. I know, not good friends… blabla.

But it taught me a lesson. Life’s challenges are simply not one way streets. I totally adore the fitness junkies that manage to keep up this healthy lifestyle, but after having done it for two years, I realised it wasn’t for me.

Instead of snapping back to old habits though I made a conscious decision to create a balance instead. I did this by still going to the gym three times a week (not CrossFit, because it’s an all-or-nothing thing in my eyes), not taking up smoking again, eating more consciously, rather drinking whisky than beer and not going out as often.

Example 2: Slots

A current struggle I am going through is that I am going to go to Las Vegas for the 11th time in my life. I love it there for many different reasons (different topic for another day), but obviously there are temptations – ALL of them!

I personally like playing slots. I usually have a monthly budget for online slots when I am at home that I always play on payday and that’s it. But in Vegas I often spend more than I planned to.

So, for this upcoming visit next month I want to make a rule for myself not to play ANY slots for the whole six weeks. But I feel that uneasy emotional response, because I don’t actually want to. So that is my dilemma right now and I am putting time aside to really think about it and move my emotional response needle.

The other option is, as discussed above, to find a balance. But that would mean I need to actually measure things and make a decision on how much I want to allow myself and I’d rather have it black and white in this case.

Anyway, I haven’t made a decision yet. I just felt this was a good example for wanting something but not REALLY really…

Time Limits

Okay, those were long examples. And I haven’t even gotten into another current one of me deciding against a keto diet and for a paleo diet, because I do not want to do the measuring of foods. So, balance. 🙂

So let’s get to the other tip besides balance: time limits. In a way it’s sort of like balance, too.

Think about a vegetarian month or a run 5k a day for a week challenge. These time limits take the pressure off. You’re tasting that change and you can find out if you ACTUALLY really want it.

And when you feel you are going too far and you’re really not enjoying it, don’t just stop and continue with your old ways.

Find a balance!