• Ann Kaplan

You know what to do, but can't follow through!

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

"I know what I need to do. I know things would be so much better if I just did it. But, I'm still not doing it. What's the matter with me?!?!"

I hear this from parents all the time. Sometimes it's about responding to kids' misbehavior, sometimes organizing their homes, or staying calm, or creating a family routine...the goals vary, but the feelings of self-sabotage are the same.

It's a universal dilemma that boils down to motivation. It's not that we're not motivated; it's that we're motivated by things that won't actually serve us. When I ask parents in this situation, "Why do you want this in the first place?" the answer is usually, "Because it's what a good parent is supposed to do."

And this is exactly why we don't follow through. When we fixate on what we're 'supposed' to do, we transform our natural easeful desire into hard, heavy obligation. And to fulfill our obligation, we think things like:

I really need to do this...

This is what's expected of me...

I have to do this...

I should do that...

A good mom would...

I don't want to be bad/lazy/selfish so I'd better do...

Basically we talk sh*t to ourselves in order to get stuff done, and it's abusive. This abuse is what gets us to do the laundry, go to the gym, cook dinner, keep calm, make money... abuse is how we accomplish life. If we had a friend whose partner said the things that we tell ourselves, we'd be begging them to GET OUT NOW! And yet, this is how most of us accomplish every little thing we do all day long.

Aside from being generally gross, this is unsustainable. Over time, achievement becomes synonymous with suffering in our minds, and people have a finite capacity for misery. So, by the time we are grownups with kiddos and homes to manage, we have pretty much reached our limit.

So now, when you try something new (a new routine or discipline approach, for example) your brain will automatically assume that the way you're going to achieve your new goal is by abusing yourself some more. Well, forget it! You may say out loud that you want this, but underneath there's a much louder voice saying, "I can't take it anymore! I'd rather not commit to something new, than make a commitment and experience the pain I'll inflict on myself when I fail."

If you have been trying to be a better parent, falling short of your goals, and feeling like an absolute failure over and over - you are stuck in obligation and have lost your desire. I want you to know that you are NOT a failure or a terrible parent, and there is nothing wrong with you. The sooner you let that thinking go, the faster you will be able to EASILY follow through on the things that feel hard right now.

Is following through with new commitments as simple as just being nicer to ourselves? Yes and no. It is the little ripple that replaces obligation with TRUE DESIRE for the work we undertake. New skills, habits, and relationship dynamics all flow from that ripple. And working with a coach who teaches those skills, believes in you when you don't believe in yourself, and helps you let go of the negativity - these carry that ripple forward and make the work smooth and easy.

If you're ready to quit beating yourself up to be better, and step into a new parenting life, it's time for our discovery call. Share your struggles with me and let me show you how to EASILY resolve them. I'm here for you.

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© 2018 by Ann Kaplan