How often do you find yourself saying, “I should workout today”, “I should make that sales call”, “I should get a salad instead of a burger tonight”, or “I should hold this elevator door open for that person that I see running towards me right now”? But instead of doing what you should do, you don’t. We already know in our heads what we should be doing, but our actions don’t always reflect our thoughts. But why do we do this to ourselves?
Jim Rohn calls it the Law of Diminishing Intent.
The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.
~John C. Maxwell
If in that moment when an idea comes up to do something and we delay, then the desire to do it fades away. This usually only occurs when we’re thinking of doing something that isn’t comfortable or isn’t immediately rewarding. And the motivation of why we should do it is based either on expectations from others or because it’s in line with our personal values.
So how do we actually stop should-ing ourselves?
1. Gain Clarity
You have to get absolutely clear on WHY you should take that action. Is my reason for my decision in my best interest or is it in someone else’s best interest? What would happen if I don’t take this action? Am I doing what’s easy or am I doing what’s right? Awareness is crucial to determining what your true motivating factors.
2. Change ‘Should’ to ‘Must’
Change your language to change your thinking. Use words that are more empowering or urgent to spur you into action. If this action means a lot to you, then you MUST do it.
3. Implement the 5 Second Rule
Mel Robbins’ 5 second rule can get you to quickly take action before your brain gets a chance to start coming up with excuses and reasons why to not do something. Our brains are wired to keep us safe from things that are uncomfortable and avoid trouble or risk. If you can start advancing towards your idea as soon as it pops into your head, you don’t have to get into that internal debate of whether or not you should do something.
I bet even as you’re reading this, you’re thinking of something you should do. And if you’re not thinking of anything right now, then you should share this post with someone so we can all flush down the habits of procrastination.