10 Coach’s Tips for Getting Yourself to Do Something You HATE

We all have things we need to do that we don’t want to do. As a coach, I know many of them. I found myself having to put a few to use this morning to get myself to do my bookkeeping (which I hate), and I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. Chunk it down — Break it into smaller pieces, so it doesn’t look so huge. For me, this means saying, I’ll just balance one electronic checkbook today.
  2. Time delimit it — This is a variation of ‘chunk it down’: you’re chunking by time instead of by the task. For example, I’ll just work on this for one hour each day.
  3. Set up a reward system — Reward yourself for doing a set amount of the chore, or accomplishing some goal. The rewards have to come often enough to keep you motivated, but not so often that they mean nothing, or that you get nothing done. For example, for each hour I spend working on the project, I get a 10 minute break.
  4. Set up accountability — This can be a partner (including a coach) to whom you must report, or it can be a negative consequence for not doing what you promised. There is economic research to show that this works very well. Perhaps a $100 check to someone else’s favorite charity?
  5. Remind yourself of the natural negative consequences of not doing it — for example, if I don’t do my bookkeeping (ever), my taxes never get done and I end up with a huge IRS problem. Make this look bigger and bigger, and you’ll get it done.
  6. Find a way to make it pleasant — Can you play music while you do it? Listen to the radio? Watch TV? (I actually listen to daytime TV, which makes me feel like I’m at a coffee klatsch, instead of doing a chore.)
  7. Set up a regular time to do it — if it’s not a one time thing. So I’ll just do the bookkeeping at a set time each day. This, btw, is particularly good for exercise, because your body gets used to it, and the day will begin to feel wrong if you don’t exercise when you’re used to doing it.
  8. Do it with a friend — This one doesn’t apply to bookkeeping, so I’ll use a different example. Years ago, I was bemoaning the need to clean out my garage to a friend, who confessed the same need. We decided to do it together, one Saturday at her garage, and one at mine. And that actually made it fun! It went more than twice as fast, and working with someone who is emotionally neutral about the task makes it easier. (I didn’t see that ugly umbrella stand as a gift from her long dead aunt, I just saw it as unused and really hideous. That made it much easier for her to give it away.) Plus we exchanged some charity pile items, so working in my friend’s garage felt a bit like Christmas to me, as working in my garage did for her.
  9. Delegate it — You can pay people to do many things! (Honestly, delegating bookkeeping hasn’t worked too well for me, so if you’ve had a good experience, let me know.) And even if you can’t afford to pay someone, you might be able to trade with a friend. I was a horrible typist (and am still working on those keyboarding skills — many blessing to spell check programs), so in college, I used to hem a friend’s pants in exchange for her typing my papers.
  10. Remove the underlying resistance — There’s generally a deeper reason why you don’t want to do something, and if you remove that, the resistance goes away, and you just do it. If you’d like to do that, please call me, because shifting a deeper level issue is unique to the person and the issue, one size does not fit all.

And then, just do it!

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.