How to Break the Habit of Not Doing Anything

I used to think traffic was the biggest bitch on the planet. Stop and go for days. I didn’t know if I was going to die from boredom or from starvation first.

Then, I discovered school debt, and I realized: I WAS WRONG. Paying for a mediocre education from a school I haven’t been to in years that I’ll continue to shell out hundreds to every month for the foreseeable future—that’s a whole ‘nother level.

Then I found something that outmatched traffic, over-pained debt, and dwarfed laundry, dishes, vacuuming, mopping, shaving, and picking out a movie from Red Box combined.

Procrastination. Because it keeps you from making progress in any area of your life.

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And if you’ve ever faced it, you know it’s a huge problem because it gets you in the habit of not doing anything. It’s a three-headed beast:

Head One: Ambiguity—What am I supposed to do?

The “unknown” is one of the scariest things to any human being. It’s like clowns to kids or sunlight to vampires. Not knowing what’s stressing you out, what you’re supposed to do to get better, or what’s next—this stuff sucks. It makes you feel like you’re crazy because you don’t really know why you feel so stuck. Not knowing what to do usually equals not doing anything at all.

Head Two: Complexity—How am I supposed to do it?

If whatever you’re avoiding feels like rocket science, it’s no wonder you won’t touch it with a 40-foot pole. You imagine just how painful it’s going to be to untangle that mess. Without a clear path or a clear plan, there’s no telling how long it’ll take to figure out where to start. And that spells “no thanks” real easy.

Ugly-Ass Head Three: Overwhelm—Why would I even try?

Feeling like your first rock to climb is Mount Everest would make anyone stop in their tracks and do nothing. I don’t know about you, but I’d learn to get real comfortable at the base of that bad boy. If what you’re avoiding feels that overwhelming, it makes sense why you feel unmotivated.

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The good news is, there is a way out of this habit, and it’s easier than you think. You don’t have to be a wizard to charm this beast; you just have to do three things:

  1. Get Clear—What is it I’m avoiding? You might have to turn around to answer this question because it’s referring to the big ass monkey on your back. But for real, just naming what it is that’s stressing you out helps you understand why you’re feeling so anti-doing-anything. Get clear: this is what I’m avoiding.
  2. Simplify—What’s the first step? Make it hella simple. Do one push-up, put away one piece of laundry, write one sentence on your homework, practice one song. Make it easy; make it something you’ll do right now.
  3. Act—Do it. Plain and simple. At the end of the day, it always boils down to action, and you’ve just gotta take the step. Don’t overthink this part. Just do your first step. Once you do it, you’ve already got progress, meaning you’ve got momentum, and you’re on your way to breaking this habit.

Let’s not complicate things: get clear, get simple, and get after it. Take it away, Coach Shia.

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