Avoidance: A pretty common problem most of us experience. If you agree, you most likely have something on your list of things to do that you’re avoiding, probably right now even.
Think for a moment:
How many times have you set a goal to get accomplished for the day like—
telling yourself you were gunnna get that paper done?
Or make that appointment for yourself?
Or start that project you’ve been putting off?
Then suddenly the day passes you by. You succeeded in getting a lot done. You kept busy. But you did everything EXCEPT for that one important thing?
What IS that one thing you’re avoiding? What is the task or project you’re continuously putting off?
Try to identify what it is before reading on. Gather a clear picture in your minds eye.
Why We Avoid The Thing—
A lot of us struggle with this.
We’ll check our emails, messages, small unrelated tasks, and check social media or the news — just “real quick!”— instead of doing the thing.
Rather than doing what we know is important and needed, we instead utilize our time doing dumb shit, pretending we’re doing something good for ourselves. When in reality, we’re only setting ourselves back.
Why do we do this? Because we’re protecting ourselves from uncertainty. We don’t want to feel like we don’t know what we’re doing. We don’t want to look stupid. We don’t want to feel overwhelmed, we don’t want to feel like we’re not good enough, we don’t want to feel like a failure or disappointment.
We’re protecting ourselves from feeling that. So we do everything else, out of protection.
And of course, it doesn’t work. Avoiding doing the thing actually just makes us feel more overwhelmed, more like a failure or disappointment, more stupid or not good enough.
Avoidance just simply doesn’t work.
So how can we stop avoiding, and actually do what we need to do?
How to Actually Do the Thing
We do the thing by deciding to do the thing. Like, deciding decisively to do it.
We have to pause for a moment and actually consider that we’re avoiding something.
When you can allow for yourself to recognize that you’re avoiding something, you want to then make a conscious choice to do it, and then don’t back away. Don’t let yourself argue about it. When you decide to do it, just commit and do it, fully.
Do it at a certain time: for this you may even want to find yourself an accountability buddy who can support you. So if you’re going to do it at 10am, or whatever works best, let them know so they can hold you to it. You can also set a reminder. And then do it when the reminder goes off.
Hype yourself up, if it helps. Play some music that pumps you up, get some tea or coffee, clear distractions, and then dive into it. Do a countdown: 5-4-3-2-1 and then do it!
If you’re someone who creates to do lists, add it ONLY if it’s a priority. And if you add it to your list, make sure you get it done.
Get into the action of habit—The habit of recognizing what you’re avoiding, turning towards it (instead of away from it), and then just starting.
Practice often. And try to keep this sense of mindful (open) awareness throughout your days, so that you can better recognize your habits, notice if or when you start to turn away from something important, and choose how to handle it.