Nike has long used “Just Do It” in marketing their brand.  We’ve heard it a million times.  We’ve used it in jokes.  We’ve ignored the lesson we should learn from it.

We are masters of procrastination and laziness.

Masters.

But what if we just did it?

Years ago, I participated in a pilot program that was all about eating well and exercising to feel better.  We all lost weight, got stronger, and felt better, but there was a woman in the program who was the most successful by leaps and bounds.  She had sustained brain damage in a car accident 20 years before and had become very simple.  We all learned the most from her.  She never tried to justify or make excuses for anything.

She just did what she was supposed to do. 

She ate well, noted when certain foods made her sluggish or cranky, then didn’t eat those foods again.

She exercised.  Every day.  Enough to get her “out of her head”, which was the program instructions.

I ate nachos amongst other horrible things because they were convenient, easy, and tasted good, saying that I just had to note how they made me feel.  Even though I knew they would make me feel awful.

I skipped days of exercise saying I wasn’t “stuck in my head”, which of course, I was. Really stuck.  I just didn’t want to take the time to do it.

I justified lots of things and made all sorts of excuses.

One day, the other woman was talking about her experience with the group, and she talked about her goals.  She just wanted to feel good.  And we all know what makes us feel good and what doesn’t.

What made her different from the rest of us is that she just did it.

She ate what made her feel good, even if it wasn’t as convenient.  She exercised, even if it was just 10 minutes.  She prioritized doing things that made her feel good because that was what she wanted.

No excuses.  No justifications.

Now that I’m a mom, I have found that I’ve had to take on this mentality to survive through certain phases of my son’s life.  Not necessarily with food and exercise (although those would have helped!), but with everything.  I don’t have a lot of extra time.  I’ve had to learn to just do things or they won’t get done.

Cleaning.  Paperwork.  Phone calls.

It all needs to get done.  And I often don’t have time to sit, relax, and watch Law & Order reruns like I used to.  I’m much more productive because I have to be.  Sometimes, I stay up late to vacuum, get through my email, or cut up fruits and vegetables because I didn’t have time during the day to get it done, and those things will help me feel better.

This mentality has also made my true goals and priorities much more clear.  I try to prioritize playing with my son, spending time with family and friends, sleep, eating well, exercise, and taking care of my business and clients above everything else.  I make sure those things happen.  And, while they sometimes don’t get done as well as I’d like, they still get done.

And with the other things that have to get done, I just do them.  I set aside time and get them done so I’m free to do things that I want to do.  Or I just do them in the moment I realize they need to be done if they’re quick tasks.  But, I try to be very clear about what’s truly important and what just feels urgent but will be ok if it doesn’t get done.

With this shift in mentality, I have found that I have much more time to do the things I really want to do.  I have found that feeling good is a choice.  Actively pursuing goals is a choice.  Really putting your priorities first is a choice.

Fewer justifications.  Fewer excuses.  Less procrastination.

I just do it.

Sure, I choose to eat fatty, salty, and sugary food sometimes.  And, no, I don’t exercise every day.  And, there are some things that just don’t get done.  But, those things are now conscious choices.

And, I’m a better person, wife, mother, teacher, and student because I do.

Give it a try.  Just do it.  Make the conscious choice to do things that are in line with your priorities.  Make choices that make you feel good.  Make choices that work toward your goals.  While it takes discipline, you’ll be happier with who you become.