If We Know What We Need to Do, Why Don’t We Just Freaking Do It?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten off track with my self-care routines. We had a lot of family visiting and my time for meditation, journaling, exercising and reflection kind of went out the window. 

Just like when you go off a diet for a few days, the more time I spent away from this, the harder it felt to get back to it. I didn’t want to get up early and meditate and journal. And the more I tried to force myself to do it, the more I wanted to sleep and stay in bed.

The weirdest part was- I ENJOY these things.  I enjoy journaling, I can feel the benefits of meditation.  Why was it getting so hard to do things that I actually enjoy and I KNOW will make me feel better?

It’s the same thing when you fall off your diet- you KNOW you feel better when you’re eating healthy and exercising, but after a few days of wings, pizza, and burgers, it feels so HARD.  

If we know what we need to do to get ourselves back on track, why don’t we just freaking do it? 

Therein lies the answer. Need to. When we feel like we need to do something, our natural response is to resist doing it. There’s a sense of contraction and lack in those words. That “need to” feeling does not lead to inspired action.  It can lead to forced again and resentful action, but that’s not how we want to feel about self care or diets or exercising. We want it to feel GOOD to take care of ourselves. Or else, what’s the point?

With the help of my coach, I looked even closer at the thoughts going on behind that “need to” feeling.   

I realized I was judging myself and beating myself up for getting off track.  I made this lapse in my routine mean something about who I am as a person:  I made it mean that I lack self-discipline, I’m inconsistent, I’m not “good.”   

A little voice inside me was saying: “What kind of life coach goes 3 weeks without meditating? You suck.” It was so quiet I could barely hear it, but I felt it in the resistance to getting up in the morning.

Of course, I didn’t realize I was doing this; it was just a sneaky subconscious belief that took over.  Those beliefs have a way of doing that without us realizing it.  

The minute I started judging myself for getting off track was the minute the problem got worse.  This perfectionist attitude of “things have to look this way in order to be right” makes us hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations and then we beat ourselves up when we don’t meet them. And then we stop trying to meet them because it feels bad.  And then weeks go by, or months, or years.

Self care, whether it’s mediation, journaling, or exercising is at its best when it’s born out of self love and self compassion as opposed to self discipline or shame.  

  • I journal and meditate and say affirmations because I love spending time with myself, not because I want to be successful.  
  • I eat healthy and exercise because I love taking care of my body, not because I want to be thin.
  • I get a pedicure because I enjoy pampering myself, not because I think my feet are ugly.
  • I organize my home because I prefer a clutter free environment, not because I fear being seen as a slob.
  • I call a friend because I truly want to connect with them, not out of guilt for being a bad friend.
  • I post a blog/photo/meme on social media because it’s a form of self expression, not because I want likes or to be perceived in a certain way.

So, I forgave myself for being so harsh on myself.  I showed myself some love.  And this morning, I woke up a little earlier completely on my own.  I was gentle with myself.  I didn’t force myself to journal 3 pages and meditate for 20 minutes.  

I wrote 3 sentences.

Then I was inspired to write this blog post.

After lunch, I’ll meditate for 2 or 3 minutes.  More if I feel like it.

After work, I might go for a walk.  We’ll see.  

Whatever I choose, it will be out of love, not out of punishment.

Can you find a place in your life where you are beating yourself up a bit?  It’s not hard to find, because it really does hurt.  I do hope this post inspires you to soften a bit around that. And that makes room for all the good stuff- love, ease, creativity- to flow back in.   


  1. Keiko on May 7, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Namaste friend!
    Life knows when to shake things up for us when we start getting too patterned and routined, doesn’t it!?
    Self care takes many forms, sometimes it looks like kale salad and sometimes it looks like a big bowl of ice cream 🍨 😊. It’s all good.
    I could feel the gradual loosening up as I read through your post. It was lovely.
    It’s no coincidence that you allowed inspiration and wisdom to come to you when you relaxed. Simple solution yet not always easy, right? Thank you for the reminder, I enjoyed your post!

  2. Marisa M. on May 9, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Thanks, Dre!! This makes so much sense!! I think I do that with every single thing you mentioned!! I’m so glad I read this! I actually want to print it out so I can remind myself when I start to think negatively about doing something good for myself, which is almost everyday!

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