Overcoming The "I Don't Wants"Posted by: Danielle Tumminio on October 9th, 2012
It was one of those mornings when I had so much work that my daily agenda could have wallpapered the Oval Office. But, I didn’t want to get up. “I will lie here in bed”, I thought. In my nice cozy bed. Where it is warm and the pillow is soft.
Although, I should probably wash the sheets. And actually, there’s a load of whites I could throw in with the sheets. And the darks are sort of overflowing. And by sort of, I mean my husbands’ socks are all on the floor in a kind of planetary orbit around the hamper.
I really should do the laundry…
But if I’m washing the darks too, I should throw my pajamas in. So I should probably take a shower and put regular clothes on. Which would be good because then I can start in on all that work. But there’s so much work. Maybe I’ll just lie here in bed. Oh, but the sheets…
I’m sure you know this phenomenon. This is the phenomenon of the “I don’t wants”. You know, all those things that you want to do about as much as you want to show up for jury duty or drink sour milk. And there are sooooo many “I don’t wants:”
I don’t want to go to the gym.
I don’t want to go to work early.
I don’t want to stay at work late.
I don’t want to clean up after my child is sick….
In coaching, we call these “tolerations.” These are the things that we have to do but try to avoid. So what to do with these tolerations? And how do we embrace them without resentment?
The other day, a friend of mine and I were talking about this. She was avoiding the gym; I was putting off writing my dissertation. Both of us would have rather done pretty much anything else than what we needed to do — even cleaning the toilet was starting to look good to me. It was that kind of procrastination.
Then we had an idea: Accountability.
“I am promising to go to the gym three days a week,” she said. “Okay,” I said. “In return, I promise to write two pages of my dissertation every day until my chapter is done.”
Somehow, making these promises to each other made them real, and they made them worth more than if we’d just promised ourselves. Now we were responsible to someone else. Now someone else cared about our progress. And somehow, that made the difference. I began reaching my writing goals, sending over a daily text when I did:
“Two pages written!” I would joyfully type. “Getting ice cream to celebrate….” “Just ran three miles,” she would respond. “Getting ice cream to celebrate….” (I usually cocked my head and giggled when she sent that and thanked my lucky stars not to be her culinary accountability partner!) While accountability ultimately helped us embrace our tolerations, there was one last trick we found to push us towards success: Rewards.
In addition to the occasional ice cream, when my friend reached her weight loss goal and I finished my chapter, we agreed to reward ourselves. For us, we decided to make matching contributions to a charity. You may want to do something similar or just do something super indulgent, like go for a celebratory lunch, massage, or manicure or, dare I say it, ice cream cone. Your choice. (But whatever you choose, make sure it’s good, because your reward can be a great motivator for you to reach your goal!) Accountability and a sweet reward can make the “I don’t wants” a little less sour.
What have you done to combat the “I don’t wants?” Have you tried to be accountable to someone or reward yourself for a job well done?