Ever say you’re going to do something then give up when it starts to feel uncomfortable for you? Things like losing weight, or training for a run, or writing a book or studying for an exam? You make all the excuses under the sun for why you aren’t able to do it – you don’t have the time, something stressed you out and put you off course, somebody made it difficult for you…
I had a lazy Sunday morning last weekend and watched a programme called “Obese- A Year to Save My Life”. It’s one of those popular documentary style programmes that shows people being coached by experts to make weight-loss transformations. I love watching stuff like this as I find it fascinating how different people react to pushing themselves outside their comfort zones.
In this particular programme, Tony, a 49-year-old guy weighing 400lb (28.5 stone) was being coached to lose half his body weight in a year. He was told he wouldn’t live much longer of he didn’t. You might think that would be enough to make anyone lose weight, but often it isn’t. People make excuses about why their circumstances make it impossible to get fit, and carry on being dangerously overweight.
Tony put his weight gain down to the stress of having a son with cerebral palsy when he was 21, and working in the fast-food industry all his adult life. Food was his comfort – something many of us can relate to, but it was killing him.
Tony set off really enthusiastically with a great attitude. He wanted to lose half his body-weight by his 50th birthday – a year from his first weigh-in, so that he could feel good about himself and live longer for the sake of his children. He was given guidance on food and exercise by his coach.
Almost as soon as he started, he heard the devastating news that his disabled son was gravely ill and fighting for his life. Tony was devastated, but used his emotion to spur him on rather than give up – in his mind, both he and his son were fighting for their lives and if he didn’t give up then he hoped his son wouldn’t either.
Tony was 100% focused on his weight-loss goal. He was committed to eating healthily and spent many hours working out – so many hours that his fiancé complained that he didn’t spend enough time with her anymore and she found his new diet was too restrictive for her to deal with. She had no interest in joining him getting fit, even though she was very overweight herself.
Tony had to choose between his weight-loss goal and her, and he chose to stick to his guns even when it meant losing her. Their relationship had ended and he moved out.
He kept repeating on camera that this was the first time in his life he was doing “something for Tony”, and it felt too important to let anything or anyone stand in his way.
Tony had nowhere to go when he left his fiancé, and spent his time either sofa-surfing or living in his car. He was homeless. He could have turned to junk food at this point but he didn’t; he kept buying healthy food and he kept working out.
He kept losing the weight.
A few months later, he suffered the devastating blow of his son’s death. He was grief-stricken. He could have turned to food and given up exercising in the midst of this tragic event, and nobody would have blamed him, but to him, his own health had become an all-encompassing priority, and not even a tragedy that huge could derail him.
He had made his own health a complete priority. Absolutely nothing could stop this guy. On his 50th birthday they filmed his final weigh-in. He had lost half is body-weight- over 14 stones – as he had intended, and he was quite rightly very emotional as he reflected on how it had been both the best and most difficult year of his life. He had a new fiancé and had retrained in a new career. He had turned his life around, despite everything being stacked against him.
I was watching this thinking about how make excuses for myself. I weigh a few pounds more than I want to at the moment – nothing much, but enough to niggle me that I can’t get into my size 8 jeans. I am always derailing – I say I have to eat chocolate when I am hormonal, I reward myself with a cake when I have had a busy day at work, and I eat a full English breakfast in a hotel because I’m on holiday, and holidays don’t count when it comes to calories…all sorts of bullshit like that…
Compared to Tony, I am a feeble twat. I have no right to complain about my clothes not fitting because I haven’t been fully committed to my own weight-loss goal, plain and simple.
Is the same true for you? I’m not necessarily talking about weight loss goals here – but anything you say you want to do, and keep giving yourself excuses as to why it’s too difficult for you right now.
Well, feck your excuses and the feeble horse they rode in on!
It isn’t too difficult.
You just don’t want it enough.
Why? Maybe you think you are being too selfish going for your goals when the people around you complain that it feels bad for them. Maybe you just don’t see the end vision clearly enough. Maybe you aren’t doing it for yourself – you are doing it to impress someone else. Maybe you are afraid of failure so give up before you have given it a really good try.
Whatever it is you are aiming for, whether it’s weight-loss, a marathon run, starting a business, or being the best parent you can be, make sure you have worked out not just What you want, but Why you want it.
Then work out How; what you must do and who can help you?
It also helps to give yourself a When, too. It helps you visualise a point in time when you will feel great because you did what you set out to do.
Above all, don’t give up on yourself even when things feel difficult. Your own excuses will be your downfall: If you never give yourself any, nothing can get in your way. This life isn’t a dress rehearsal, so either go for what you want, fully committed, or stop your moaning!
Getting help along the way is vital to achieving great things, and I can help you – FREE! It’s easy to get derailed, and because of this, I send out free coaching tips and insights every weekday that will help you get the most out of your life. It’s part of my big goal to improve the lives of a million people by changing the way they think. Be warned – my emails aren’t for everyone – I sometimes use bad language and talk about rude stuff because I like to have a laugh with my readers, so don’t sign up if you are easily offended. If you are open minded and up for some fun in your in-box (ooh-err), you can sign up on the form opposite.