Emotions Vs. Commitments: Which One Is in Your Driver’s Seat?

“The average person lets their emotions dictate their actions, while achievers let their commitments dictate their actions.” — Hal Elrod

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Have you ever planned to do something, but then at the time you were supposed to do it, you just didn’t “feel” like it?

I think it’s safe to say that this has happened to every single one of us at one point or another in our lives.

Us humans tend to set goals and make plans and schedule things, only to feel like backing out on half of those engagements when the actual event arrives.

When Our Feelings Decide

I know I’ve done this countless times myself, with outside plans or functions, and with my own personal goals and commitments.

Take writing, for example. There were many years where I would think about writing quite often, and then tell myself I was going to write — tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow was the day I’d start writing every single day, like a real writer!

And then tomorrow would come around, and I’d be busy, and then tired, and ultimately just uninspired. And of course, you can guess what happened next.

The old enemy would appear. The thought, “I don’t feel like it right now” would inevitably arise. It was certainly dependable, though not helpful in any way. I could always count on it to hold me back and keep me locked away in my comfort zone.

And then that was that! It was settled. I didn’t feel like it, so it wasn’t happening. I was off the hook, with what I thought was excellent logic. If I didn’t feel like writing at that time, then why should I? I’d probably just end up writing garbage anyway, so there was really no point.

And that’s the story my mind continued to feed me, on a loop, for what felt like forever.

What Happens When We Wait

Then one day, I heard someone say something along the lines of, “If you wait to do something until you “feel” like it, you’ll never do it. It’ll never get done. Think about it. How often do you feel like exercising? How often do you feel like waking up early? How often do you feel like brushing your teeth? How often do you feel like eating healthy food instead of junk?”

Well, I did think about it, and I came up with the answer of…almost NEVER.

You may love to do those things now (well, maybe you still don’t like brushing your teeth!), but in the beginning, you probably weren’t too excited about it.

When I wake up at 5am, my first thought is almost always still, “I don’t feel like getting up yet. I’m still tired.” When I have the thought to write, it has often (especially in the past), been directly followed by, “Yeah, but I don’t feel like it.”

And do I ever feel like going for a run!? Not very often — if ever!

Goldilocks Syndrome

So what happens if we wait until it feels “just right” to take the action that deep down, we know we want (and need) to take?

In my experience, we keep waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

And then suddenly, another year has passed and we are no closer to where we wanted to go or what we wanted to do.

When the way forward is a tightrope of “feeling like it,” we have very little chance of reaching our destination. And even if we do step on and try to walk, we have a pretty good chance of falling off. The tightrope is narrow and unsteady, and unless we have extraordinary balance, focus, and skill, we’re likely to fail.

But when we commit to our goals and dreams and the personal development required to get us there, by taking the actions every day that will lead us in the direction of achieving them, the tightrope becomes the yellow brick road instead.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather walk the yellow brick road.

It doesn’t require as much balance, and there’s a lot more room for failing forward.

Do you ever struggle to follow through on your commitments because your emotions (not feeling like it) get the better of you? How do you overcome it?

Please share in the comments below.

Writer & dreamer with a passion for personal growth, travel and self-discovery. I write about my journey through life and its many adventures and lessons.

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