Kind of a funny title for a post don’t you think? Shouldn’t it be something warm and fuzzy like “how to do what you love”? Maybe that’s a post for another time but for my money that’s a bit overdone and overrated. I think the more important question to answer is how to do what you hate. The reason is doing the things we hate is what makes us stronger and better. The things we hate are the things that drive us to be better. To be more complete.
The majority of people avoid things they hate which intuitively, makes a lot of sense. Why should we do the things we hate? I’ve got better things to do. The issue I have is those better things wind up being things like watch more Netflix or play on my phone or _____(fill in any time wasting activity here). When you can learn to do what you don’t want to do, you grow. Let’s talk about how to do what you hate.
Why Do Anything You Hate?
Good question. Again, instinctively it makes sense to not do things you hate doing. Running? I hate running, why would I want to do that? The biggest reason is improvement in yourself. The reason is for you, nobody else. Let’s face it, ultimately nobody cares if you are trying to better yourself other than you. So if you are someone that wants to get better at ANYTHING, many times you have to do some things you hate. In order to grow and become a better you, you have to do what you hate.
If you aren’t in good physical shape but you want to be, guess what? You’re gonna have to do some serious changes to your exercise plan. You’re going to have to lift weights and/or run and/or play tennis or shoot hoops or start going to boot camps. Here’s the rub: there’s a reason you aren’t in great shape now – it’s because you hate doing any of the activity that gets you into shape. This is where you have to dig deep and find your motivation to get your ass moving to do the things you hate do to.
Here’s a good example for me. I am not a detail oriented person. I HATE studying spreadsheet and documents with lots of minute details in them. Love the big picture, absolutely hate digging through the details. But sometimes I have to do it. So I figure out a way to buckle down, concentrate, and really absorb and study those tiny minute little details.
The primary way to get yourself to do what you hate is picturing the motivation behind it. This one gets it’s own section, the rest get to go in one single section. The way to get yourself to do what you hate is to always keep in mind why you are doing it. Again, let’s use the example of the getting in shape for something like a 10k and you’re not a runner. You have got to plan that months out. If you haven’t run since high school and you’re on the north side of 40 and decide you want to run a 10k, you better give yourself plenty of time to get there. So you have to keep picturing yourself crossing that finish line of the 10k. That’s the big picture. Keep that in mind anytime you don’t want to go for a run.
When I was re-careering in my late 30’s, one of the things I wanted to do was be a personal trainer. I had lifted weights and been in shape since I was 20 so that wasn’t the issue. The issue was you have to pass a certification to be a personal trainer. Which meant you had to study. A lot. And my studying days were 15 years in the rear view mirror so I was a little out of practice. Plus I had a day job. Also 2 kids under 5. What to do?
I ordered the study materials and figured out a plan. At this stage of my life I was now wired to not be able to concentrate enough to study for more than an hour. I gave myself 4 months to study for the certification exam. For the next 4 months I studied every day on my lunch break at my day job. I also studied 3 nights a week after the kids were in bed and once on the weekends. And I passed my certification exam and started personal training on the side. What got me through that studying which at this stage in my life I hated? Picturing myself as a personal trainer.
Find your motivation and hold it – that will massively help you power through doing what you hate to do.
Additional Tips To Do What You Hate
Create A Plan – I know, I know, this is a big theme of mine but hear me out. When you create a plan for anything it gives you a sense of control. This by itself makes embracing doing something you hate a little easier. When you have a plan and then commit yourself to work that plan, you feel more in control of it. It becomes more doable.
Make it smaller – When you look at the final goal to be achieved it can be very daunting. Run a 10k in 5 months? Are you joking?! I haven’t gone on a brisk walk in 10 years! Yeah, that’s a little overwhelming. If you can break it into smaller pieces it makes it so much easier. For the first month you will run/walk for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week. And build from there in smaller chunks. If you’re like me and can’t concentrate on one thing for more than 60 minutes, only do something in 60 minute increments.
Get Comfortable – When I was studying for my personal trainer certification I reserved a comfortable room on my lunch break. At home I had a cozy area to study. When you have to do something you’re not excited about, figure out a way to be more comfortable. Or at least as comfortable as possible.
Get a Little Distracted – Now this does not work for everything but for somethings it’s great. Getting yourself in shape or doing any kind of hard physical activity works well here. Find your favorite kind of music, strap on headphones, and go to town. When you are blasting Metallica it’s distracting AND inspiring to crank out those reps. Finding your favorite type of music to listen to while you run is hugely beneficial. If possible, distract yourself to some extent.
Believe In Yourself – this ties into motivation but it’s a little different. When you find yourself facing a task or action you hate, give yourself a pep talk. Tell yourself that you can do it and you will do it. You KNOW on the other side of doing it you will feel good about accomplishing it so tell yourself that. I tell myself this every other Monday when it’s time for my weights workout. A good portion of those workouts aren’t very good but I get through them. And I’m very glad I powered through it. Pump yourself up.
Go Do It
I don’t want you to get the impression I’m advocating doing a lot of things you hate. I’m not. If you hate mowing the lawn, pay some neighborhood kid to do that. If you hate going to the grocery store, order online and go pick it up. These are everyday tasks that have to be done. I’m talking about doing things you hate in order to accomplish something, in order to grow.
There’s no two ways about it. When we want to accomplish something of any kind of magnitude, many times we have to do some things we hate. And that’s just how it is. Be okay with that. Remember by forcing yourself to do the things you hate you are growing, evolving, and become a better version of you. And that’s what working on being a complete man is all about, WORKING at becoming a better, more complete version of you.
What are you waiting for, go get it.