How to Do What You Know You Should

5 Things That Will Support You in Doing What You Want to

If you’re like me, one struggle you face consistently is to do what you know you should.

Even though most times, we know what’s best for us, we don’t always do what we know we should.

Doing what we know we should is important if we want to achieve meaningful things and feel good about ourselves.

Signs You Are Not Doing What You Know You Should

There are obvious signs that indicate you’re not doing what you know you should. These include:

  • You procrastinate when you have things to do.
  • You stay up late even though you have to get up early.
  • You don’t take good care of yourself.
  • You binge despite knowing it’s not good for you. This may include eating, drinking or watching movies.
  • You don’t change things in your life even though you know you’re not happy or inspired.

One thing I have struggled with in the past is exercising consistently. Even though I knew it was important to do physical exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I wasn’t doing any.

The consequence was I gained weight and didn’t feel good about myself, which affected my confidence. When I exercised regularly and paid more attention to what I was eating, I got healthier. That helped me lose the weight I wanted to, which made me feel better about myself and gain more confidence.

The better we understand why we don’t do what we know we should, the more likely we’ll change our behaviour.

do what you know you should

Understanding the Knowing-Doing Gap

There is a huge difference between what people know and what they do. We focus so much on acquiring knowledge because that’s how we’ve been programmed.

Our schooling system is based on taking in and remembering information. We’re given tests to show much we can remember. If we pass those tests, we’re considered an educated or knowledgeable person.

How much we know doesn’t change or improve our lives. It’s what we do with what we know, that makes the difference.

So why don’t we do what we know we should do?

Knowing something isn’t enough to get new results. Results comes from behaviour and our behaviour is controlled by our habits.

Our programming or our paradigms control what we will or will not do. The primary cause of our results are our paradigms. When we understand the power of our paradigms, we’ll fully appreciate the power of our habits.

If we want to change our results, we have to change our paradigms.

When we focus on our paradigms and understand why we’re doing what we’re doing, our results will change.

A paradigm is a multitude of habits. This means we do or don’t do things without giving any conscious thought to them. When we focus on the habits we want to create, we’re more likely to make them stick, which means our behaviour will change.

This will cause us to take new actions, which will lead to new results.

How to Do What You Know You Should

Our focus should be on changing our paradigms by changing our habits. Here are five things that will help you do what you know you should.

  1. Be emotionally connected to the result you want. We have to know why we want to do something or the benefit it will give us. The stronger our why, the more motivated we’ll be to do what we know we should.
  2. Identify your excuses. Whenever we come up with excuses, there are usually other reasons behind the excuses. These include our paradigms, beliefs or fears. When we know what they are, we can take appropriate action to overcome them.
  3. Focus on the repetition of new behaviours. Our paradigms can be changed by a significant emotional event. It can also be changed through the repetition of the behaviours we want to develop, over a period of time. Identifying the habits we want to form and consciously focusing on them will lead to the formation of new habits.
  4. Set clear intentions or clear goals. The clearer we are about what we want, the easier it’ll be to identify what’s needed to achieve it. Clarity is power, therefore our job is to be clear on what we want to do.
  5. Hold yourself accountable. Having an accountability partner will reduce the likelihood of us falling back to our old habits. Depending whether we’re internally or externally motivated, our accountability partner can use reward or consequence to keep us on track.


It’s very frustrating to not do what we know we should. When we understand the power of our habits, we can use them to work for us instead of against us.

When we focus more on developing the right habits, our results will improve. If we don’t develop the right habits, it’s highly likely we’ll fail to do what we know we should consistently.

Action Step: Identify one thing you know you should do but aren’t doing consistently. Set a clear intention or goal. Then find someone who can hold you accountable to carry through doing what you want to.

Question: What are other things that will help you do what you know you should?