You are Not Lazy or Undisciplined. You Have Internal Resistance.
Why you can’t just do it, and what to do instead
When I was writing my PhD I didn’t have bad weeks. I had bad months. The kind when each day you wake up thinking, “Today I will actually do the thing” and then you… don’t. Somehow the day ticks by and then it’s 11 pm and you still haven’t done the thing and it feels like you might as well go to bed and start over tomorrow, but already you have a sinking horrible sense that you won’t do it then either. And lo, the cycle repeats.
It doesn’t have to be a PhD, of course. This why-can’t-I-just-do-it circle of hell can happen any time you’re trying to do something you care about that is big and in some way new. And once the cycle really gets going, you can find yourself prey to self-loathing so corrosive and debilitating that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
Which makes sense. Why wouldn’t you feel self-loathing when every day you violate a promise you made to yourself about something important to you AND you don’t know why AND you can’t stop AND you have no one else to blame because YOU ARE DOING IT ALL TO YOURSELF for some mysterious fucking reason you don’t even understand?
As far as most of our culture is concerned, the answer to this torturous cycle of not-doing-the-thing also lies in what’s wrong with us, more or less: we’re lazy, we’re unproductive, we’re irresponsible, we’ve let ourselves become addicted to our phones, we’re procrastinators, we’re not meditating, blah blah blah. In the coaching world, it’s our ‘lizard brain’ holding us back from the human evolution that is our birthright. Basically whatever is keeping us from doing the thing is something that’s wrong with us or our behaviour, something that needs to be controlled, eradicated, tamed, left behind or put in its place.
In 15 years of helping people over these kind of blocks, not to mention a life-time of getting over them myself, I have become 100% certain of two things: that way of thinking about the problem is not accurate, and it’s definitely not fucking useful.
You are not lazy. You are not undisciplined. You are not irresponsible. You are not suffering from mysterious ‘Just Can’t Do It’-itis…