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Post written by Leo Babauta.
You know that you should exercise, and eat lots of veggies and less fried, salty and sweet foods.
But knowing something and actually doing it are two very different things.
You know you should stop procrastinating. You know you should watch less TV or go to social sites (or news sites, or your email program) less often. You know you should be writing, or learning that language you've always wanted to learn, or practicing guitar, or decluttering your house.
Knowing isn't the problem. It's the doing that gets us every time.
In business, there's a concept called The Knowing-Doing Gap, where companies study all kinds of ways to improve, hire consultants and hold endless seminars, start a new Big Program every year … but don't actually change anything. They know what to improve, but don't actually implement it.
Why is implementing so hard? How do we put knowledge into action? What's stopping us, and how do we overcome it?
The answers are both simple, and difficult. Let's take a look.
Doing vs. Not Doing
It's not knowledge of what to do that's stopping us. That's usually fairly simple:
- If you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories and move more.
- If you want to be healthier, eat more veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and whole grains.
- If you want to be in better shape, exercise.
- If you want to write a book, fucking write it.
- If you want to learn a language or an instrument, practice.
But that's not what we do. Here's what we do instead:
- We read about various programs.
- We talk about it a lot.
- We put off doing it and go do something else.
- We feel guilty about it, and then push it to the back of our minds.
- We finally decide to take action, so we read and talk about it some more.
Reading isn't doing (unless what you want to do is read more books). Talking isn't doing (unless you're learning to communicate better or become a public speaker).
Doing is doing.
So what's stopping us from doing the doing? It's fairly simple.
The Little Thing That Stops Us
There's something going on here that stops us from doing what we know. It's hidden, it's a mystery. We all have it, but rarely know what to do about it, and worse, rarely acknowledge it.
Why don't you write the chapter of your book, or write your blog post, but instead go and check Facebook, Twitter and email? Because you're afraid you'll fail. You're...