Every time I hear the words, “Force myself,” I wince. I hear it in sentences like:
- “I want to do personal branding and more tweeting, but I haven’t been able to force myself to…”
- “I want to apply for more jobs, but I haven’t been able to force myself to…”
- “I want to eat four eggs for breakfast but I haven’t been able to force myself to…”
(Okay that last one was me, and it’s because I lost a bit of weight during the pandemic and I want to gain it back (and more!).)
There’s a part of me that winces—after all, I use the same phrasing—at the fact we’ve all learned, one way or another, that force is the way to do things. We’re so used to using force that we apply it to ourselves. Force is a short-term motivation, one that needs to be bolstered by purpose, and by other more rewarding emotions.
Here’s a reminder of just a few other motivators, amongst many others:
- Searching: Where is the opening? For example, showing up early, leaving late
- Ease: How can I make this easy? See complete your operation in seconds
- Fun: How can I make this fun? See temptation bundling
Every time I’ve tried to force myself to do something, I can pull it off once or twice. It doesn’t last much longer than that.
I used to want to tweet every day, and build up a huge audience there, but I couldn’t force myself to write so many threads. I used to want to write a new post at Medium every day, but I couldn’t force myself to write a 1,000-word article every day.
Conversely, I write at this blog every day without much force; it’s a habit that keeps the rest of my life going well. I find small pockets of the day, I set my expectations really low and make it easy, and I write only about things that I want to write about.
Oh, and I ate four eggs this morning with very little force; I steamed them, added some chives, and ate slowly. I was also okay stopping whenever I was full. I didn’t need to, but I was prepared to.
You haven’t been able to force yourself to because you weren’t meant to. Find another motivator, and let it take over.