Why aren't you taking action?
Updated: Oct 10, 2018
There have been times when you have wanted to take action, but you just haven't. It might have been something big, like visiting the doctors when you thought something might be really wrong, or something small, like skipping class after class at the gym. This issue comes up again and again in coaching, and client's are often at a loss to explain what is going on.
Here is an example of what was going on for a client who was totally fed up about the fact that she felt bad in her body. She had stopped attending her dance classes, which she loved, and couldn't seem to get back to it. She described putting on her kit, then stopping when she reached her door, and not going to her class. She was down about the situation and at a loss to explain what was going on.
CE: I don't know what is going on for me, I just cant accept myself like this, its unacceptable to me
AM - Has there been a time when you felt happy with your body
CE - Yes and I loved the way I looked, I felt good too, I had loads of energy
AM - Did you attend your classes then?
CE -Yep, I was going to a class most days and I loved it, sometimes I even went before work
AM - So, now you feel your body is unacceptable and you cannot attend your classes, before you attended the classes everyday, and you felt great about your body, is that right?
AM - What insight does that give you?
CE - I don't know.
AM - How do you feel right before you stop and miss your class
CE - I felt, sort of, I don't know I don't really feel anything
AM - Ok, how did you feel, can you remember, before you took your classes before?
CE - super pumped I loved it, I used to have my headphones on, I would bounce down the steps...
AM - So you felt pumped and bounced down the steps when you felt your body was acceptable and now you stop in the hall and don't get any further?
CE - Yeah
AM - So what do you think might have been going through your head before you stopped in the hall and missed your class?
CE - I'm not sure, I wasn't looking forward to it, I just sort of didn't care?
Am - You didn't care
CE - No I sort of didn't care because what difference is it going to make anyway i am still going to look like this
AM - so when you don't go to class you are thinking it wont make any difference?
CE - I guess, yeah
AM - I can see why you wouldn't bother attending a class if it wasn't going to make any difference to you, that makes sense
CE - But it doesn't make sense because it is going to make a difference to me!
AM - what difference is it going to make to you?
CE - It is going to get me back to where I want to be, not straight away, but it will get me back there
AM - Where is 'there'? Where do you want to be?
CE- Back into feeling good about myself and having loads of energy and getting up early and all that
AM - and you think that going to your classes is going to help you do all that?
CE - I know it will, it has worked before
AM - So you know that if you go to your classes you will have loads of energy and start to feel good in your body again, which is what you want, but before you head out of the door to the gym you are thinking, whats the point it isn't going to make any difference. Is that right?
CE - Yeah, it sounds daft doesn't it, she laughed
AM - It sounds like your thoughts are not helping you to get out of the door and into your class that's for sure!
CE - Yeah
AM - So, what would you like to have happen?
CE - I want to get some ways to get me out of the door, I don't know what, just some ways
AM - What ways might work?
CE- I'm not sure
AM - You mentioned before you wore headphones
CE - Yeah I used to actually before I got to the gym because I actually used to run there, so I had them on as a set off
AM - How did the music make you feel?
CE - Awesome I had a playlist which was just for running and another one for when I was in the gym
AM - What would be on your hall playlist?
CE - Oh, erm, I guess something which would get me going, erm, I'd have to think about it
AM - Ok, what else could you try?
CE - Erm, so I need to think all the good thoughts, erm, maybe I could have a note in my gym bag
AM -What would it say?
CE - All the things I said like, you are going to take care of yourself and this is going to make a difference, even if its not today, another day
AM- Ok, will you try those techniques?
CE - Yeah, I will, I might look a bit of an idiot in the hall reading my own note, she laughed!
AM - Whatever works for you, I laughed!
The session didn't end there, but it wrapped pretty soon after, and in case you were wondering, she is back in her classes and feeling much better! She went from not taking the action which she so desperately wanted to take, to becoming clear about what was driving her inaction, so she could develop strategies to change it. As you can see from our conversation, her thoughts were not creating the feelings she needed to get herself out of the hall and into her class! At some level, she knew what was going on inside, but it can be really hard to see in the moment without some kind of framework to help.
So why aren't you taking action? Believe me, the story will be the same as the one you see here. Your thoughts are not creating the feelings which you need in order to take action. In coaching we use this model to unravel what is going on, which comes from psychotherapy:
Situation --- Thought --- Feeling --- Action --- Result
In our example, the situation was a gym class booked, the thought was it isn't going to make any difference/what's the point which created the feeling of apathy. The action created from that feeling was inaction, and the result was her feelings of frustration, lowered energy levels and feeling bad in her body. Now you might think that your situation is different, but I promise you, that this is how it is going down for you too!
What can you do about it?
If you find yourself stuck and seemingly unable to take the action you want, ask yourself these four questions:-
1) What I am thinking at that moment?
2) What am I feeling at that moment?
3) What action I am taking because of my thoughts and feelings in that moment?
4) Are the thoughts helping create the feelings which I need to have in order to take action?
5) If no to (4), what thoughts that seem true to me could create those feelings?
It helps to write it down to get it out of your head and onto paper, and really look at it objectively. If
If you want some individualised support around not being able to take the action you want, coaching with us can help! Get in touch.