“I know what to do…I just don’t do it.
I hear this phrase a lot. Usually it’s about personal habits—diet, exercise, lifestyle choices, personal productivity—things we think we know work for us and that we therefore should be doing. But somehow, we just don’t do them.
Here are some examples.
“I know what diet works for me; I just don’t do it.”
“I know how to exercise to get fit; I just don’t do it.”
“I know what I need to take my business to the next level; I just don’t do it.”
You get the gist.
My answer to this declaration is usually, “No, you don’t.” If you knew what to do, you’d be doing it. You’d be doing it because it works. And when it works, you get the results you want. And when you get results, you experience progress, so you keep doing things that work. Because they work!
Perhaps what you really mean is that you know what you think you should be doing. Or that you know what other people, or blog posts, or news clips, or books tell you works. Perhaps it does work for them, but it does not work for you. After all, they don’t even know you.
Discovering what works for you – what really, really works – is part of the process in creating your own plan. I like to call it Intelligent Lifestyle Design. It’s your plan–full of strategies, tools, goals, and milestones–all carefully crafted through inspiration, trial, and error, and feedback loops that helps you find what really works. For YOU.
I experienced this when I heard myself say, “I know what foods to eat, I just don’t do it.” Overweight, yo-yo dieting for years, and not wanting anyone to know the personal hell I lived inside my body, I realized I was using the massive amount of diet and food information in my head to cover the fact that every time I tried to apply some of that info to MY life, I failed miserably. Yet again. Acknowledging to myself, and then to the coach I hired, that I actually had no flipping idea what to do was the best discovery I could have made. Not only did I begin the journey to figuring what actually worked for me and get me moving toward goal after goal, it forged a path to create that same mindset and process in my business life, too.
Before you start crafting your plan to learn what you know works for you, spend some time creating a solid foundation.
- Choose your desired outcome. Be sure to include the qualities of what you want in that vision. “I want to lose 20 pounds” is pretty broad without corresponding qualities such as feeling vibrant, strong, lean, well-rested, bright, great in your clothes, or energetic all day long.
- Get clear on why. Why this desired outcome? Why 20 pounds and not 15, or 25? You have to know why you want it, or giving things up and trying new things may leave you feeling like you’re inside a pinball machine.
- Acknowledge what you don’t know. This is critical. Take what you think you know and have the courage and mental discipline to clear your mind. “I actually don’t know what works for me” is a very powerful position. (This was actually a game-changer for me.) It’s also vulnerable. Work with people you trust to discover what’s next.
Really knowing “what works” for you is incredibly rewarding and can be a little addictive—in a very good way. You get into a pattern of customizing knowledge, advice, and coaching to fit your style—and the corresponding results are incredible. Is it easy? Not always. Worth it? Absolutely!