Overcoming “I Don’t Want To!”

What do you do to motivate yourself, to make yourself take action, when that 6-year old voice in your head says,

  • I don’t want to go to the gym!
  • I don’t want to work out today!
  • I don’t wanna to eat broccoli with my chicken!
  • I don’t wanna skip desert!
  • I’m tired and I don’t want to!


What do you do when you don’t want ‘to do’?I Don't Want To!

Usually when we say ‘I don’t want to do something’, it’s actually something that we really want to do.

Maybe because it’s a healthy activity, like working out, or making a healthy salad for dinner, but it’s not super fun and exciting and in that moment we would rather be lazy.

We would rather take the easy way out.

We would rather order fast food, chill out on the couch, order a movie from Netflix and eat.

We would rather sleep in an hour longer or come home right after work instead of doing our workout.


Because traffic will be bad. Because our favourite TV show is on. Because I’m tired…

We’d rather come up with 16 different ways from sideways for an excuse to not do what we really want to do.

Why the hell is that? What a crazy, ridiculous Catch-22, and how wonderfully human at the same time.

Think about your New Year’s resolutions. If you read article on that topic, New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work: Part 1 and Part 2,  think about the things you really want to achieve in your life. Better yet, what are your goals for the next three months?

Oh. My. Goodness!

Do I really have to do them? Do I really want to do the work to achieve those goals?

We both know that you want those goals so why the heck did you choose them in the first place?

Your goals are nothing but wishes and dreams unless you have a compelling why — a deep emotional reason to ‘purpose’ your butt off the couch and into action.

To achieve what’s most important to you, you need to know the result or outcome you want with absolute clarity.

You need your purpose for attaining this goal (this can be a list of reasons) clearly defined.

Finally, you need this all written out on paper, to concretize and actualize what you intend to accomplish, with a method or a plan of action (a set of tasks that bring you closer to your outcome) that you will work on over time.

With every task achieved towards the larger outcome, log that task in your journal or on your computer in a file called, “Completed Projects and Tasks.”

Whenever you feel like you’re not making any progress take a look at your  projects journal. See that you have completed tasks that are important to you. You’re the only one who needs to see this journal — it will make you feel good about yourself and help re-ignite the fire within you to keep pursuing completion of your desires.

So why don’t we do it? Why don’t we want ‘to’?

There are two reasons, and two reasons only:

General human laziness.

The first reason is that we all want to take it easy by nature.

This is also called homeostasis and it can get the best of us. Laziness and putting things off keeps us from achieving greatness and the things that would give us the greatest amount of joy and passion in our lives.

Want to see what you’ve missed?

Sit down and write out what you accomplished last year. Take 20-30 minutes to do this.

How did that make you feel?

Congratulations if you are ecstatic with your results. If you’re less than happy, you can chose to take a different approach that will get you different results.

No Why (or is it ‘Know Why’?)

The second reason is not having a clearly defined, compelling and emotional why.

As an example, if you’re feeling tired but you had planned to work out and you tell yourself, ‘I don’t want to’, how do you convince or motivate yourself to do your workout?

If you use something like Tony Robbins RPM (Result, Purpose, Method) system you could review your written purpose for what you want to achieve in your life category of health and fitness.

If you truly connect with your purpose for achieving your fitness results you will probably overcome your lack of desire to work out.

For example, let’s say one of your results for 2014 is: ‘Lose 20 pounds by April 1st, 2014’

What are your ‘Whys’ or ‘Purpose’ to emotionally substantiate this result?

  • To feel great about myself!
  • To see my 6-pack again!
  • To excite my partner with my sexy body!
  • To take care of my body before work so that I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.
  • To eat healthier on a daily basis because of my increased physical activity.

In order to achieve this result you need a method — a list of things you need to do and accomplish during the course of this three-month goal.

Action Plan:

  1. Hire a private chef to teach me how to cook healthy meals at home.
  2. Book two session per week with my personal trainer for the next three months.
  3. Get my measurements taken at the gym in the first week of January and book follow-up appointments in February, March and April.
  4. Book two spin classes per week in my calendar that start before work.
  5. Buy black-out blinds for the bedroom so I can have deeper, more restful sleeps.
  6. Get up by 5:30 am weekday mornings to get to the gym by 7 am so that I can go direct to work after my workout.
  7. Review and implement Darren’s healthy eating guidelines so I will know what to eat to lose body fat.

Now, please re-read the bullet list, above, for  the ‘Whys’ and ‘Purpose’ to lose 20 pounds.

Did you do it? Don’t tell me that you didn’t want to do it?! 😛

Would one of those ‘whys’ work for you if this were your health and fitness goal?

If you have a similar goal, can you think of a ‘purpose’ that would motivate and inspire you in those moments when you feel weak?

That is a really important question that only you can answer. Take the time to dig deep.

When your why is strong enough, when your belief in your purpose is powerful enough, you can and you will accomplish anything you set your mind ‘to do’.

Eat. Move. Be.


© 2014 Darren Stehle. All Rights Reserved.

Resources & Further Reading