I’m just going to..,” Alfons Aberg says for the fifth time, in one of the books I grew up with back home in Sweden. Alfons’ dad is starting to lose patience with his son’s “I’m-just-going-to” routine. It’s morning and they need to focus on getting ready, not put tires back on toy cars, dress the doll and other tings his son seems to find more important than to eat breakfast and preparing to leave.
Do you frequently think that sentence yourself?
“I’m just going to…”
And then you get distracted from the task you had planned to do. The task that was on your to do list and that would move you towards achieving your goal and meeting those deadlines.
“I’m just going to…” It seems so innocent and you probably have lots of good reasons for why you should “just” do that thing.
“I’m just going to respond to this text message right now so my friend/mom/sister knows that I care about her.”
“I’m just going to do one quick round of laundry so I don’t have to deal with it tonight.”
Seems reasonable, right? But beware. This very sentence and the “good reasons” can be very sneaky.
Think of It As a Car Ride
In the blog post Struggling to Achieve Goals and Meet Deadlines I wrote about how “what- and how-questions” can be a helpful tool when working on achieving your goals and meeting deadlines.
What I’ve found even more important is to learn to be okay with feeling uncomfortable. To listen to thoughts like “I’m just going to…” and disregard them.
Instead of pushing away the feeling of resistance to do a task, let it be there but not act on it.
It’s like putting the negative feeling of resistance in the backseat of your car, strap it in and then get into the driver seat. Resistance can be along for the ride, but you won’t take any directions from it. (I heard this metaphor from another life coach, but I just can’t remember who it was.)
Feelings are simply vibrations in our body. They can’t hurt us. They are just feelings, caused by our thoughts.
Our brain wants to protect us from pain and negative feelings, like resistance, because they don’t feel good. It’s doing its job by trying avoid them.
If we were to eavesdrop on our brain, my guess is it probably thinks something like: “What if I can come up with a more pleasurable experience instead?” And ah, the idea of responding to the text message or doing laundry seems like a positive one and voila, you don’t have to deal with the resistance to the task on hand.
Feel the Feeling and Do It Anyway
But what if you could learn to just allow negative feelings and do it anyway? Be the driver of the car.
What if this was your response to feelings that didn’t feel good:
Resistance: “I feel you but let’s do this anyway.”
Overwhelm: “It’s ok, I’m figuring out how to solve this.”
Fear: “I hear you fear, but let’s do this.”
Shame: “Oooo, that doesn’t feel good and that’s ok.”
Imagine what you could do in your business and life if you were not trying to avoid these feelings? If you didn’t give them any power over you.
What do you think would happen if you took massive action despite negative feelings like self-doubt or fear of embarrassment?
Can you see how this could become your superpower?
When Alfons was finally ready to leave, his dad told him: “I’m just going to finish my newspaper.” Of course, Alfons didn’t let him get away with it.
Want help with overcoming procrastination? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll jump on the phone for a free coaching consultation.