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Ancient proverb: “A man resembling a beached whale must travel a journey beginning with a single step.”
When I saw the picture on the far left seconds after it was taken April 8, 2012, I knew a “first step” was needed. The next day—at 195 pounds—my journey began …
Now at 152 pounds, I’m a happier guy. To learn more about my amazing It-Won’t-Sell-On-Oprah diet, as well as the extensive and expensive fitness regimen—health club memberships, DVD programs, best-selling books, and brightly colored spandex clothing!—that got me here, read this from last November: The Power of Simple.
But the journey almost didn’t happen; the first step was almost never taken.
In last week’s post, The 3 Components of Personal Change, we mentioned “self-talk.” Talking to ourselves is how we process experiences, make decisions, evaluate people and problems, beat ourselves down, give ourselves encouragement, and persuade ourselves to do this or not do that. Bottom line, our “self-talk” is our thinking—and our thinking is everything.
And sometimes, we think wrong.
I recently heard, “A man standing alone can talk himself into anything.” I suppose it applies to women, too. And I do know this: I’d talked myself into not taking my weight-loss journey’s first step by engaging in some self-defeating, insidious, powerful, goal-killing self-talk. It’s called …
Here are just some of my excuses that almost prevented me from taking that critical first step:
- I travel a lot and it’s hard to eat right in airports and hotels.
- I look fine, really—I do.
- I hate vegetables.
- This is just the way I’m built.
- I don’t have the time or energy to exercise.
- I don’t like exercising.
- I tried losing weight before and got nowhere.
- There are no nice places to walk, just boring, straight Colorado dirt roads.
So, how ’bout you? …
Is there anything you need to accomplish, but the Self-Talk of Excuses is standing in your way?
If you do have a goal of any kind to achieve, here are five lessons I learned when I quit making excuses. Maybe you can apply them!
1. Start Today. More on the secret to reaching goals here, but it is all about ACTION NOW.
2. Start Small. For those who want to lose pounds, no, do not join a health club or try to jog five miles today. Just skip those fries at lunch and walk around the block.
3. Stay Simple. While being interviewed by host John Lee Dumas for his Entrepreneur On Fire podcast (airs Oct 24th, 2013), I was asked what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. The word “simplicity” kept coming to my mind. Keeping all we do uncomplicated is an outstanding way to live life. Again: The Power of Simple.
4. Slay Excuses. Not to be too hokey here, but the Self-Talk of Excuses really is a dragon that must be slayed. Put your dragon slaying sword into action by writing down all the excuses you’ve been making, share them with a trusted friend, and then ask that person to speak up when you utter one. Recall from our last post, Awareness is the first step toward personal change.
5. Stay the Course. In general, direction supersedes pace. Moving forward is key! In the weight-loss arena, some lament, “I only lost a pound this week.” THAT IS A GOOD THING!!! Remember, one pound/week is four pounds/month which is 24 pounds in six months which is … well, you can do the long-term math. So think long-term, stay the course, and you’ll be fine.
Those are my lessons learned, and I hope you can use them. If you’re wondering, I don’t think I’ll ever really know what caused me to flip the switch in April 2012—but the switch was flipped and I’m happier for it.
For discussion and comment:
Please share a goal with us.
What excuses have you been making for not tackling this goal?
Which of the five lessons above do you need to focus on the most?
Okay, no excuses … start sharing, we’re waiting!