Reluctance, friend or foe?

Reluctance is the feeling of being unwilling to do something before you do it, because you do not want to do it or because you are not sure that it is the right thing to do. I love the dictionary! Some definitions are really insightful. 

This presents our own reluctance as an opportunity to take action and improve our experience of everyday situations. Reluctance can be a great tool to help us identify when there is something we need to do.  

How many things you do reluctantly every day? You could start by making a list of everything.  

Getting up early in the morning, taking the dog out, attending that nine o’clock meeting, doing the chores at home. Once you have made the list, try and spot the ones you do reluctantly

Reluctance can be like a shadow, something that obscures the things we do, taking away a lot of energy and joy. It can also take away the opportunity to have a great day, doing things well and being enthusiastic.  

Reluctance has two parts: one has to do with attitude and the other with intuition. Working out what´s behind your reluctance can help us get our act together. How do we go about doing that? 

Let’s break this down into manageable steps:  

Step one– make your list (which we’ve already talked about).  

Step two– classify them into two categories: those that have added benefits at the end of it; and those that don’t have that nice aftertaste. For instance, you may not fancy doing your exercise, but you feel great afterwards. Or perhaps when you finish work late again you feel resentful towards your boss.  

Step 3 – now that you have identified whether the things you do reluctantly add value or take away from your life, you can focus on those that take away. Start to think about what you want to do about it. You have four choices:  

  1. Do nothing, which is not my preferred option. 
  1. Accept them and stop consuming energy by continuing to be reluctant.  
  1. Abandon them, if it is something you can do.  
  1. Or change them, by taking steps to improve the situation. Sometimes taking small steps can make a big difference, having a conversation, setting some boundaries, asking for help or reaching a compromise. Make a list and have a go! 

Step 4 – Enjoy the sense of doing things that sometimes you may not feel like in the knowledge that they are the right thing to do, and accept the ones that you need to continue satisfied that you have been proactive to improving them. This way you can look forward to the tasks ahead with less reluctance, feeling more at ease, and in control of your own life. 


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