There’s a little phrase I’m giving the boot to:
I don’t feel like it.
It’s become an unhelpful crutch for me. One I use when I’m tired and grumpy to justify not doing something that will be nourishing for me.
Some recent examples: I don’t feel like exercising. I don’t feel like saying hi to the friend I saw across the coffeeshop. I don’t feel like letting that young family go ahead of me in the boarding process.
Each of these I don’t feels is in direct contradiction with a high value of mine, be it health, friendship, compassion.
I’m working to counter this phrase by regularly reminding myself of what I value. Since, after all, values are enduring things, while feelings are temporary things.
Every Saturday or Sunday, I buy a nice coffee and write down my values, how I lived them out last week, and how I’ll live them out this week. For example: I value connection; last week, I reconnected with an old friend on the phone; this week, I’ll send two love notes to friends going through bumpy patches.
This coffee and values practice grounds me in what matters to me. It keeps me in check when that little phrase comes to mind. It helps me spend my time as a reflection of my values, not my tiredness or grumpiness.
I don’t always do it. I’ve said, I don’t feel like it, and stuck to that. But almost every time I can move towards my enduring values and not my temporary feelings, it’s been a nourishing choice.