Doing Things We Dread


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As I sit here in front of the computer I am breaking through on something that I have been tolerating for weeks now… actually sitting down to write this newsletter.   I wasn’t blocked for ideas – I had a list of them.   I simply couldn’t (yea right… wouldn't) sit down and put my thoughts on paper.   The irony, of course is that I coach people through these very same issues and my clients have great success.   Ohhhh coach heal thyself!  Well the breakthrough came the other night when I was using a wonderful miracle of modern technology… The George Forman Grill!  Let me explain.


I love to cook.   It is an amazing creative experience for me… and let me give you some advice… remember presentation is everything.   A meal can go from fair to fantastic simply by arranging the food on the plate… you sort of fool people into thinking it is actually better than it is… the French have known this for years.   But I digress…


So I was in the mood to make a nice meal but didn’t want to go to a lot of trouble.   Enter the GF Grill.   Its very fast and the food turns out great.   BUT I HATE TO CLEAN IT.   Trust me, it is NOT hard to clean, but it is one of those things that I dread.   After previous uses I have let it sit there unclean for a full day simply because I “didn’t wanna!” This time it was different, however.   After the meal, I simply got up, did the dishes quickly and then took the 4 ½ minutes it actually takes to clean the grill so it can be put away.   As I was doing this I realized that I wasn’t dreading it.   What was that about?  I usually piss and moan about it and work myself up into a frenzy.   Then I realized what was different.   I didn’t think about it I just did it.   I knew I didn’t want to wake up to a filthy kitchen, I knew it would take all of 5 minutes to do… and I did it.   I was actually grateful that I had used such a simple machine and was so happy when it was all done.   Perspective.   I had wasted so much energy with the dread of the action that the cost of not doing it was 10 times more expensive than the 5 minutes of the unpleasantness – which, by the way was nowhere near as unpleasant as I was making it in my head.


From this lesson I today now sit down and write my newsletter.   I was dreading the time it would take; would it be good; all the what if’s; all the mind games; the I CAN’Ts; all that crap.   Instead… it is simple… I will or I won’t.   My choice. (By the way… this newsletter took about 25 minutes to write… hmmm… much less than I imagined!)


A Call to Action and a How to.


1) Realize how much energy avoiding things we “don’t wanna” do is costing us energetically.


2) Realize that these things almost always seem bigger in our headsw than they actually are.


3) Switch from victim mode: go from “I Can’t” to “I Choose Not to. ”  As Yoda from Star Wars says… “Do or do not. There is no try!”


4) Eat That Frog.   There is a book on over coming procrastination called “Eat That Frog. ”  A premise of this book comes from the  old saying, if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it is the worst thing you'll probably do all day.   Identify the important tasks that you are dreading and just do them… right off… first thing in the morning and look forward to the freedom you will experience the rest of the day.


5)  Make your ‘To Do’ list specific.   Vague goals engender anxiety and feel big and overwhelming.   Make them specific and measurable.   For example “Organize my life” vs. “Spend 20 minutes every morning sorting and filing the papers on my desk. ”  See the difference.


6) Categorize your to-do’s by the resistence factor.    Separate them into one of 4 categories; a) have to do / Want to do; b) Have to do / Don't want to do; c) Don't have to do / Want to do; and d) Don't have to do / Don't want to do.   Do your tasks in this order: b, a, c.


7) To change your attitude, change your perception.   Make a game of it.   Create a chart and put up gold stars for every item you complete.   Feel good.   Play.   Is it all REALLY THAT important?


8) Get support.   A friend, a coach, a group.   Don’t face things you dread alone.


9) Be kind to yourself.   One step and one thing at a time.   It doesn’t all have to get done at once.


10) Celebrate. For each accomplishment – no matter how small – celebrate.   Plan it beforehand and make it great!!


So what things have you been dreading that you will now choose to take care of? Go ahead.   Eat that frog.   I dare you to do one thing… just one.   Right now.   It will feel great.


Go get ‘em, Tiger!


© 2004 by Roger DeWitt & Life Artistry Coaching.   Roger, the Get Stuff Done Now Coach,  is a certified life and business coach working with people to change their thinking so that they can change their life  Sign up for Roger's monthly “5 Minute Success Tips" at


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