So it is a new year and a new you is on the cards? Well that is what many of us believe can be. So much so that we as a nation are prepared to spend huge amounts of money on the concept. The truth is a little different.
There is no change with out first accepting that we need to. A simple concept but one that often leads to the first excuse.
Before that, let us define an excuse. Where I come from we call it a 'story' because it is something we tell ourselves that is not true. The danger is not in how fictitious it is but how we are happy to adopt it as truth. So the first story we tell ourselves and convince ourselves of is that we are happy and do not need to change.
In the physical world that could mean we give up on our healthy diet. We give up on the exercise it takes to tone up, become more flexible or generally more healthy. This in itself is often not an issue, the door it opens however, can be much more damaging. Moving away from the new year trend to get healthier let us move towards something a little more close to home. Our personal relationships. I am not an expert in this field and would not claim to be but I can speak from a great deal of experience. At one stage in my life I had a relationship that was so toxic and so full of resentment that I would stay in bed pretending to be asleep until this person left the building (we had different work patterns) and then continue with my day. I was in deep denial about the truth of what was going on because I had convinced myself of a story. The story was that this was life and everyone had 'rough patches' and that if I weathered through it (also called sticking your head in the ground) then things would get better. Of course things didn't get better and eventually that chapter came to a close. The issue was I had developed iron clad excuses that I believed, to justify why things were so bad.
It gets worst. When we start to believe excuses, we often develop narratives that put blame onto other people or other powers. They tend to include the following:
It is her fault
It is his responsibility
The economy is bad
The Government is corrupt
I'm just unlucky
Things will change.
That's just the way I am.
I'm meant to be this way
Sounding familiar? If not the above, I'm sure there is some story you are telling yourself.
It gets better. When we start to attack our own thoughts we can change the narrative and reject our own excuses. Easily done? Depends how long you have been telling yourself the same rubbish and what your motivation is to change.
Let us take weight loss.
January - I want to be healthier
February - I have a slow metabolism. I'm built this way. I'm big boned. I don't have the time to go to the dojo/gym.
I've heard them all and will do again I am sure.
Now let us change the motivation and the narrative to a goal that ACTUALLY MATTERS!
January - I want to live longer so I can see my grand children. To do that I need to become healthier
February - I have a long way to go but I'm making progress
March - I've made better progress than I thought I could
April - I'm beginning to enjoy this lifestyle and I already feel great and now my partner and friends have noticed a huge change.
Setting a goal that matters and then rejecting your excuses is a fantastic way to make the best start you can. It also works in other areas of life. The biggest one I hear from those attempting to make a promotion or start a new career just before they fail (usually through inaction) is "I don't think I would enjoy it" or "It isn't the right move for me" and those are very dangerous thoughts indeed.
So this year, reject your excuses and develop powerful goals.