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Why can’t I do what I know I need to do?

Why can't I do what I know I should mug

You know you should get healthy, you even want it, but you fail to do it. The truth is, you’re not even lazy. Like most people, you’re struggling to pinpoint why you can’t do what you know you should – like saving money or getting in your devotional. This post has the answers you’ve been looking for to answer the nagging question, why can’t I do what I know I need to do?

The answer is, you’re human.

I know that doesn’t help you and it’s certainly not intended to be an excuse. But it’s the truth. It’s human nature to reject change, even good change, because change is scary. At least to your body and your mind. It’s the pattern of survival, to stay stuck doing the things that have kept you alive even if they’re not the best for you.

Things that your body has grown used to and created around. But also because some of these actions induce a reward, at least temporarily. In either case, it makes change appear harder than it is, leaving you running for the temporary fix.

It’s why we run to the candy stash mid-afternoon when we’re feeling a bit tired and overwhelmed.

Or why you feel like you deserve that midnight ice-cream binge.

It’s why you reset your alarm, allowing you to sleep in rather than wake up and move.

On some level, your body is exhausted, and the best place to get a boost, even temporarily, is from an immediate reward. But it doesn’t have to stay this way. You can do the things you know you should, the things you want to, but it has to be done with a different twist.

Inside this podcast, I interviewed a behavior change specialist, Dr. Heather McKee. Dr. Mckee’s work focuses on habit formation to help people make lasting change using research-driven methods to find freedom and joy in their healthy habits.

She answers your nagging question, why can’t I do what I know I need to do? And it’s one to listen to.

Simple But Not Easy

Most good things in life are simple. Getting healthy is nothing more than one simple action after the next. Waking up with your alarm, drinking a glass of water, moving your body, eating vegetables for breakfast, laughing with the co-working, drinking water, letting go of that negative emotion, living thankful.

But the action isn’t always easy, even if it is simple.

That’s why you can’t confuse simple and easy – they are not the same. Take gratitude, for instance. It’s one of the simplest health practices and yet one we tend to complexify to the point we don’t even do it. The need to complexify only adds to the difficulty of doing what you know you should.

Any change, even good change, will be difficult because it’s different. And different is hard in any shape or form because we’re creatures of habit – whether good or bad.

But change is not impossible. It’s simple, with the right mindset behind the right action. Setting habits over goals (because goals are overrated) and investing your energy into taking the right next step. No matter how small that may be. That’s the place change happens – in the daily habits.

Don’t do anything. Do what you love.

It doesn’t just stop with habits, even if they are the tool to achieve your goal. But change is more than just forcing another action. It’s the heart, the meaning in the action that makes it stick.

Potentially the reason those pesky goals don’t work is that you’ve attached the feeling you crave to the future outcome. Leaving you to wait in the pain of now, struggling through the behavior change you hate while wishing for the outcome. But wishing and waiting in pain only prolong the process.

Leaving you to force yourself into another activity that won’t last. All because we don’t stick to things we hate.

The answer you’re looking for is in enjoying the process. Enjoying the action or at least finding a reward in it.

Really, it’s a mindset. It’s how you view the things you do. If you hate them, you’ll most likely run back to your old patterns. Patterns that weren’t nearly as painful as the cost of change.

But if you like them, you’ll find a reward in them, and you’ll run back for more. That’s the power of joy, and that’s the power we need to use to change.

Let’s answer the question: why can’t I do what I know I should?

The reason you can’t do what you know you should is because you hate the process. You dread it, even fear it. Living life waiting for the feeling in an outcome that never produces results.

Today that changes. Today you will live to find joy in the habits. You’ll find joy in the simple step, believing that happiness always proceeds health.

Take a look at your life, at your rhythms and habits that account for roughly 40% of your daily life. What things do you want to change? And what could you sub it with that you enjoy?

Don’t get me wrong. You’re not going to love all the changes you have to make, like working out. That’s not always enjoyable, but can you find joy in the process. You can learn to focus on the reward that comes from finishing the workout.

If you change your perspective to something good, you’ll be more likely to enjoy the process. The more you enjoy the process, the more likely it will stick. But you have to start small.

Start Small.

If the habit seems impossible, it will feel harder. If it seems easier, then it will be easier. Don’t start with an overwhelmingly large habit or an overwhelmingly large number of habits. Start with the smallest thing.

Before you start your movement habit, start the habit of waking up to your alarm. You have to walk before you can run. The easier you can make this, the more likely it is to stick. When it sticks, you can start to transform the habit to make it what you intended all along.

Set the bar low and start where you are. You can optimize your habits as you go.

Remember, snowmen start as two flakes coming together. Let the snowball effect take hold as you continue to find joy in the process.

Here are ten one-minute habits that will help you get the ball rolling. And if you hate them, like waking up to your alarm, personalize them to make you love them. Or at least find a reward in them.

  1. Get out of bed right away – no hitting snooze!
  2. Take two or three deep belly breaths.
  3. Drink one glass of water.
  4. Hug someone every day.
  5. Say your gratitude out loud when you feel it.
  6. Stand up straight.
  7. Stretch your body.
  8. Add a vegetable to your meal.
  9. Hit play on a song you love.
  10. Let go of the emotion you’re trying to shove down or hold onto.

{Learn 15 Healthy Habits To Incorporate Into Your Life Here}

Joy is a perspective. Learn to shift your perspective, seeing the good in the small and using that to build the large. Change is found in living, which happens through a series of habits.

Enjoying the process of doing is the secret to becoming.


Love this tip? Follow along in this podcast series to get all eight life-changing health tips. New podcasts are released every Wednesday.

For more information on today’s podcast and get a free five-day habits course, click here.

Don’t forget to check out the other podcasts in this series:

Part 01: How Would You Define Health?

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