How to Make Yourself Do What You Want

by Rachel Miller

December 31, 2021

ABOVE : Toa Heftiba

It’s fascinating how when you make a decision to do something, you feel motivated and energized to do so, then when it comes time to act, you don’t feel like it anymore. You want to change your mind, another decision seems better, or you have multiple reasons come to mind as to why you should choose differently. You can almost always bet on this happening. How do you ensure you do what you decide to do? How do you make it easier to follow through?

Try an Experiment:

  • Decide now what you want. Choose the outcome in advance. If you want to cut back on junk food and you are going somewhere snacks will be provided, decide before you leave the house what you are going to do: “I’m not going to have any chips.” Then, make it easy as possible to follow through. Bring a desired snack with you. Eliminate the need to make a decision later by making the decision now.

  • Frontload yourself on what to expect. Remind yourself that you will want to change your mind, you will suddenly, in the moment feel like a different choice is better and have good reasons come to mind as to why you should do things differently.

    • Coach yourself. Mentally prepare yourself with examples of what you will experience: “You’re going to feel like doing X instead, you’re going to want Y, you are going to want to change your mind. Expect this. This is normal. Just remember the plan and it’s going to be fine.”

    • You know what you are most likely to experience. You know what tendencies and feelings are most likely to come up for you–the rationalizations, the thoughts, and reasons to change your mind. You know yourself best. Coach yourself on what you are likely to feel, experience and want, and that it’s normal–expect to feel this way. Then, when you have that impulse, remind yourself of your plan.

  • Each time your mind second-guesses your decision–and it will!–keep reminding yourself of the plan already set in place. Remind yourself it’s normal to second-guess, to feel differently, to desire otherwise. That is to be expected–and it’s OK. Follow through with the plan anyway, and everything will be OK. This is the relaxing part. You don’t need to make any hard decisions–it was already done for you hours ago! All you have to do now is follow the plan you set in place.

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