Just do it!  Changing behaviour is easier than you might think

Just do it!  Changing behaviour is easier than you might think

For me, writing a blog was a bit of a slow burner. I would wait for inspiration on what to write about - but it never seemed to arrive.  I believed that one day, something profound would hit me and the words would flow out of me onto the page – but it never did.  Then I read a chapter in Mark Manson’s ‘The subtle art of not giving a ****’ . Manson offers the ‘do something’ principle which on reflection is a blindingly obvious piece of advice. It goes something like this; action is not only the result of motivation – it is also the cause of it, so just do something.

My interpretation of this is that yes, sometimes you get motivated to do something and take action; but conversely, if you just get on and do something, it will in turn stimulate motivation. I’m sure we’ve all had those times when you feel you should go running, go to the gym or give something up that we know we really should – but it never seems the right time or the right conditions, so we don’t do it. Yet if we just do it, it is then we find the motivation to carry on. 

So when I consistently asked myself questions like: How do I write a blog? Or Where do I start writing an article?  These are pretty dumb questions.  The answer is nearly always – ‘just get on and do it’.  In actual fact, these question are usually a mask for superordinate questions like: What if nobody is interested? What if they don’t like it? What will they think of me?  The truth is, unless you get on and do it and have an experience, you will never know what people think, or what you might learn from doing it.

To do things differently, or to do different things is fundamentally what behaviour change is, but there is a certain amount of fear and inertia in changing behaviour: What if I fail?; I will look like an idiot; It will be painful.  The key word here is ‘do’.  Don’t be afraid of the pain, just get on and do it - expect it to be a little bit painful. If it isn’t, then you probably aren’t making any change.  Do it, reflect on what happened, and do it again.  

Of course, selecting the most appropriate opportunity to try something new is critical, but this should be done proactively. The right moment may never arrive – just do it!

About the Author
Shaun James

Written by Shaun James

Shaun is Head of Learning and Development with responsibility for the entire delivery capability of Huthwaite’s international network of trainers. He has a BSC in Social Sciences with Psychological Studies and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Over his 20 years as an L&D professional, Shaun has developed the sales and negotiation skills of some of the world’s largest and most successful businesses.