The “I Don’t Want to Do This” List

Today I encounter a familiar expression after asking a child to do something.

“I don’t want to.”

I say, “Of course you don’t.”

Long silence. Incredulous blinking.

I start explaining that most of the day, if you really think about it, surely involves what we don’t want to do. We have homework and packing lunches. We have making the beds, setting the table, and picking up toys. We have taking a bath, combing out hair, and brushing teeth. If we waited until we wanted to, nothing would ever happen. Wanting to is not the signal we’re waiting for.

Long silence.

“We don’t factor in whether or not we want to do a thing. It’s not an important variable.”

Long silence.

“If you stop asking yourself whether or not you want to do a thing–and just do it because it’s right and good and part of the day–you find a certain freedom”

Deep breath. OK. 

There’s something to be said for completing tasks and forgoing your feelings about it. Eventually, the emotions know they’re not in charge, and they behave.

Did you complete your “I Don’t Want to Do This List”? 

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  1. This post speaks to me today, not just as a mom who's training my kids to not live by their feelings, but also as a person who's been procrastinating on a few necessary tasks.

    Typically I try to cross the hardest things off my list first, but not so much this weekend. Thanks for the good reminder! I don't need to “want to” in order to just go and do it.