“The mature human being goes about doing what needs to be done regardless of whether that person feels great or terrible. Knowing that you are the kind of person with that kind of self-control brings all the satisfaction and confidence you will ever need. Even on days when the satisfaction and confidence just aren’t there, you can get the job done anyway.” ~ David Reynolds
“He didn’t feel like it.”
Once upon a time, there were two friends, Sue and Stan. One day, Sue and Stan decided they needed to get in better physical shape. They joined a gym and made plans to work out.
The next morning, Sue saw that she was scheduled to work out, so that’s what she did. She got dressed and went to the gym. She had a good work out and left feeling energized.
Stan woke up and saw he was scheduled to meet Sue at the gym. But he hadn’t slept that well and decided he didn’t feel like working out. So he didn’t.
The next day, Sue and Stan decided they needed to improve their diets, to eat more whole foods and to cook healthier meals for their families.
The following morning, Sue remembered she had planned to go to the grocery store, so that’s what she did. She bought fruits, vegetables, lean protein, the works. She looked up a couple of recipes and that night cooked a wholesome, delicious meal for herself and her family.
Stan woke up and remembered he was supposed to meet Sue at the grocery, but he didn’t feel like the hassle of grocery shopping. So he didn’t. That night, Stan treated his family to burgers at the local fast food place.
On another day, Sue and Stan agreed that they needed to get their finances in shape. They decided to develop budgets so they could better manage their money and start a savings program.
The next morning, Sue saw the “work on budget” entry on her calendar, so that’s what she did. She met with her family and they discussed the money they had coming in and looked at all their expenses. They identified places where they could cut some of their spending and begin saving 10% of their income in a “financial freedom” account.
Stan woke up and saw he had planned to work on his budget. But he decided he didn’t have the energy to tackle such a difficult task as setting up a budget. He just didn’t feel like it today. So he didn’t. Instead he went shopping.
Do-er or Feel-er?
Are you starting to see a pattern in the behavior of our two friends? One accomplishes the things she has set out to do, regardless of how she feels. The other only does things when he feels like it.
Steve Chandler, consultant, coach, and business author, asks the question: “Are you a doer or a feeler?” A doer sees an entry in her calendar, or on her To Do list, and simply does it . . . regardless of how she feels. How she feels doesn’t even come into question.
Chandler points out that this isn’t a permanent personality trait – it can change from one task to another or from one day to another. But in this moment: “Are you a doer or a feeler?” [Chandler]
You Get To Choose
The good news is that, since it isn’t a permanent part of your personality, you get to choose. Once you know that you have the choice, then it’s simply a matter of making the right decision.
As Steve Chandler says: “But what’s beautiful about this; and what’s beautiful about the whole idea of reinventing yourself, is that it doesn’t have to be that way. If you don’t want to choose that [i.e., being a “feeler”] as a way of operating, you have another choice.
“In other words you could actually be a doer rather than a feeler and it would be up to you.” [Chandler]
To Change How You Feel, Change How You Act
Recall the TBEAR model. Thoughts influence Beliefs which influence Emotions which lead to Actions which bring Results which influence your Thoughts. Thoughts <-> Beliefs <-> Emotions <-> Actions <-> Results. Remember that the influence goes both ways. Not only do Emotions trigger Actions; Actions also trigger Emotions. In fact, it is easier to control your behaviors, your actions, than it is to control your feelings. “Our behavior,” says David Reynolds, “is controllable in a way that our feelings are not.” [Reynolds]
The key is to let feelings follow behavior, not the other way round. Don’t do something when you “feel like it” — do it anyway, regardless of how you feel.
Identity – Action – Feelings
Consider these 3 words: Action, Feelings, Identity.
Most of us go about them in this order: Feelings, Action, Identity. We act based on how we feel and we take our identity from our behavior.
However, Eric Greitens, former Navy SEAL and author, says if that’s how we approach life, we have those 3 words backwards. His suggestion? Write them (and live them) in the opposite direction: Identity, Actions, Feelings.
“You begin,” Eric writes, “by asking, ‘Who am I going to be?’ . . . So what’s next? Act that way. . . And here comes the part that’s so simple it’s easy to miss: the way you act will shape the way you feel. . . If you want to feel differently, act differently. . . [I]t’s amazing how many people get it so wrong for so long.” [Greitens]
Here are some action items to help you get started. CAUTION: Don’t wait till you “feel like” doing these actions. Do it anyway. Step in and get started, regardless of how you feel.
- Make the choice. Decide that from now on you’ll do the tasks and actions you have set for yourself when you said you’d do them.
- D W Y S Y W D – Do what you say you will do. Make this your daily practice.
- Pick one area of your life where you want to improve. Or select one goal you want to achieve. Make the commitment to do the things that you need to do, whether you feel like it or not. In this one area, become a Do-er, not a Feel-er.
Do what needs to be done, regardless of how you feel.
As it has been said, the successful person does what the unsuccessful person doesn’t like to do, whether she or he feels like it or not. What doesn’t the unsuccessful person like to do? Turns out that it’s the same things successful people don’t like to do either, but they do them anyway, “whether they feel like it or not.”
As the saying goes, you must do before you can have and you must be before you can do . . . just like Greitens “identity – actions – feelings” model. Become a do-er and the good feelings will follow. Don’t feel like it? Do it anyway. That is embracing the Excelerated Life™!
Taking Excelerated action in pursuit of your goals is one step in creating your Excelerated life, a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
Chandler, Steve. “Doing Something or Feeling Something?”.”The Small Business Advocate”. Small Business Network, Inc, 10 April 2011. Web. 01 Oct. 2018. https://www.smallbusinessadvocate.com/small-business-article/doing-something-or-feeling-something-2494
Greitens, Eric. Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom For Living A Better Life. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2015.
Reynolds, David K. Constructive Living. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1984.