Why you never “feel like” doing what you need to do

Tim Parkins
2 min readSep 25, 2022


Mood follows action. Not the other way around.

So many of us have it all backwards and we really end up hurting our long-term progress. We procrastinate on doing the things that we know that we really should do, the things that actually matter to our success. We tell ourselves that we will get to it after lunch. And then someone books a meeting, we end up on another phone call, and then we just “don’t feel like” doing the task. So it will wait until tomorrow.

Guess what happens then? We have this task in the back of our mind, spinning around. We know we need to get to it. And we feel bad about ourselves for not having done it already, like we had committed to ourselves. We had the best intentions, but came up short. So we beat ourselves up about it.

And then tomorrow comes, and we repeat the cycle. We did not sleep well, so don’t really feel like engaging in the task. Plus, we received a whole slew of email overnight, and we can quickly knock out responses to them; we feel better because we “made progress”.

But that task that really matters — it is still sitting there, lurking. Weighing you down. Causing stress.

Here is where we have it all backwards: mood follows action. You can’t do the important task when you “feel inspired”; it will never get done. You can’t think yourself into a positive frame of mind.

You do hard thing, and after doing it, you will feel good. Not the other way around! It is in the doing that we feel motivation, inspiration, and all the other positive emotions. Because once you knocked off the hard task that really matters, you took a weight off of yourself. You proved to yourself that you are someone that gets shit done.

And most importantly, you feel good about yourself. That matters, much more than anything else we can do in life.

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