I came across this blog post today from minimalist blogger, Be More with Less, titled, “I Don’t Want to Eat this Way.” The post talks about how doing things that are good for us are not often what we actually WANT to do. Her example was waking up in the morning and choosing a healthy breakfast of a kale smoothie instead of a stack of pancakes and bacon. She then asks the question of, Why do we do any of these things that we don’t actually want to? Cleaning out our garages, eating a plate of spinach, running, paying off debt, or, let’s say, purposefully taking two more years of college.
There are so many things I don’t want to do and will naturally feel resistant as soon as it comes up. Exercise, eating healthy, cooking dinner, reading a book, writing a blog post, etc. I want the easy way out, always. As the author notes, “We want all of the benefits and none of the work.” I’m sure there are many out there who can relate, but I know this speaks true to me and is the daily struggle I have to overcome. I have approached so many days with my checklist of things I have to do in order to just get through the bare minimum of the day so I can collapse later and be lazy. Went to class, check. Turn in homework online, check. Paid rent, check. Spend the next 6 hours browsing instagram and watching netflix, done. When I would consider investing in hobbies or other interests, or even just reading the news, I would take the lazy way out of self-deprecation and convince myself that anything I tried wouldn’t be very good anyway, so what is the point?
I feel a constant war within myself of the person who I know I want to be and CAN be and my own laziness to actually becoming her. I even journaled about this a couple of weeks ago and made a two-columned list. On the left side I wrote all the things I would like to be doing with my time and on the right I wrote down what I ACTUALLY do with my time. Everything on the right was just me being lazy and not wanting to put in the real effort it takes to develop my interests and invest in my personal well-being.
I know that I don’t want a lazy life. Even though I am giving into what I want to be doing in the moment (which is usually nothing), it’s not what makes me happy, it’s not enriching my life, and it’s not honoring God.
The author writes,
“I wasn’t born a kale lover and I’m not naturally excited to exercise. If you want to know how I grew my blog into a successful business, or how I eat mostly fruits and vegetables, or how I stay active, it’s not about motivation, determination, or skill. It’s because I do things that I don’t want to do. I do things that make me uncomfortable, things that I don’t think I’m capable of doing and things I don’t know how to do.
I wish that some of the books I’ve read, or health and business coaches would talk more about that. We have to do things we don’t want to do to be who we want to be and feel how we want to feel. And once we push through that tiny bit (or really big chunk) of resistance, we usually find we are doing exactly what we want.” [emphasis added]
I love that line. It takes doing what we don’t want to do to being who we want to be and feeling the way we want to feel. All the things I want to do leave me feeling depressed, sluggish, and unproductive. Doing what I don’t want to do makes me feel accomplished, happy, and energized.
I need to remind myself of that daily as I work through all the tasks I feel resistant to – that I am working toward what I want and something truly worthwhile.
So who do I want to be and how do I want to feel?
I want to have a deep personal relationship with God.
I want to genuine relationships.
I want to care deeply for the poor and marginalized.
I want to feel happy and productive.
I want to feel healthy and strong physically and emotionally.
I want to invest in and contribute to my career.
I want my priorities to be reflected in my time.
I wan to keep learning and be knowledgeable on a variety of topics.
I want to invest in my writing.
I want to be selfless.
I want to enjoy and learn from quality books, movies, television, and blogs.
And the list will continue. Each one of these requires effort, time, and care. It is not going to be what I naturally want to do but I love how the author ended the post, “If you want to get out of your slump, simplify your life, create a new career, start a new relationship, or try something you’ve never done before, simply do what you don’t want to do. You don’t have to be inspired or motivated and you don’t have to want it right away. Just start.”
It reminds me of a line I’ve heard in the past, “You don’t have to do everything, you just have to do something.”
So here is to starting a new week and filling it with things I don’t want to do.