How To Take Action On Those Annoying To-Do's You Keep Putting Off

We can find ourselves struggling to complete many everyday necessities — perhaps you hate having to cook daily, or maybe your pet peeve is finally getting around to doing your laundry that you should have done two weeks ago! Or, the situation you don’t want to deal with might be more serious, such as losing weight, practicing your second language, or even quitting smoking.

When we fail to cross such seemingly simple things off our “to-do” list, we can quickly become frustrated with ourselves thinking, “Ugh, why am I so weak? Why can’t I just do this and get it over with?!”

The constant struggle simply doesn’t feel good — and in my perspective, whatever doesn’t feel good in your life needs to go! When you feel good about what you accomplish, it causes a domino effect of wanting to achieve more and more. So, how can you find a way to feel good again and bring yourself back to your positive “flow”?

The Reason You Procrastinate On The Little Things

Our brain is designed to be comfortable — meaning, we naturally avoid anything that seems challenging and it’s all too easy for our brains to talk ourselves out of anything that feels uncomfortable or annoying. This is normal behaviour, so let’s not feel too bad about it and instead focus on changing it!

I use a technique that I like to call Autopilot to Action whenever I experience the tempting chatter in my mind telling me to:

  • stay on the couch instead of ironing my clothes

  • order delivery instead of cooking my own dinner

  • sleep in late instead of going to the gym

Autopilot to Action is a speedy technique for flipping your mindset from “Ugh, I don’t want to!” to “Alright, let’s do this!” Once you repeat this technique several times and successfully accomplish your tasks and goals, the proud feeling that results will help you to create a positive new habit that is beneficial for your overall lifestyle and well-being. Truly, the name of this technique is fitting because in a sense, by using it, you become the pilot of your own life. And who doesn’t want that?

How To Go From “Autopilot” Mode To “Action” Mode

When you are half-heartedly cruising through your work day, or a personal project of yours, your brain is operating on autopilot to keep you safe and comfortable. When you keep hitting snooze on your alarm clock to lie in bed a few more minutes, your brain is again operating on autopilot in the name of comfortability.

To jump into action, count backwards from 5 to 1 (try it out loud, and use enthusiastic emphasis in your voice!). 5… 4… 3… 2… 1! I’m waking up now! Boom!

That’s it! Nothing else! Deceptively simple, right? I personally use this 5-second tool as I learn Spanish (I currently live in the Dominican Republic). Once I count down, my mind snaps to attention at the task at hand, and I focus for the amount of time I’ve set aside for my language learning practice.

Why You Don’t Want To Do Something On Your To-Do List

It’s likely you don’t have the energy for it. Using Autopilot to Action to power yourself up with energy is a much more effective way to gain energy than hitting snooze and sleeping in a few more minutes. By jumping out of bed on time (which allows you time to take a shower, exercise, and/or eat a healthy meal), you actually gain energy because you feel encouraged with your first “wins” of the day.

Another Tip: Depending on the activity you must do, you might be able to multi-task to get your mind out of the dullness of the task at hand. For me, I hate ironing — so I listen to music or a podcast to entertain my mind while my hands do the work!

Remember to stay in tune with your mind and body, and regularly check in with yourself: what do you need? Body, what do you need? Mind, what do you need? Food? Meditation? Exercise? Sleep? Do what you need to do to make your mind and body happy.

So, tempted by a bad habit? Focus on your trigger, then choose a positive action by telling yourself: 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… I’m doing it NOW!

Follow Along With The Guided Meditation Video

For a more in-depth guided meditation on this stress release technique, watch my YouTube video on “Autopilot To Action” here and share it with your network so everyone can enjoy the feeling of boosted energy!

Judit Ronai