Usually, I say a lot of things to myself, of course I do. I spend every day with me. I have to say I am not always nice, sometimes I treat myself like I don’t have any value at all. Yes it is depressing and hard, especially for a guy that can naturally analyze things. Those days are ok. I have them. For what I can see most people have them too. However, it is most concerning for me when our default dialog is constructed to make us feel like shit, or even worse, kind of numb. Driving us away from what we really want in life. It is what we say to ourselves just before eating that piece of cake. We have all kinds of justifications to whether to move against or towards our values and goals.
Over the last couple of months especially through covid19 confinement. Thanks to meditation, journaling and consuming a great amount of books about human growth. I have been changing some of the recurrent excuses I say to myself. It is an excuse when you use them all the time to avoid doing what you know you should be doing. They are more like reasons when they encourage you to act towards what you want long term. Let me share some examples. This is how it works. I will ask a question related to a goal, and then I will answer with the excuse I used to use and after with the answer I use now.
Question 1. The goal is being fit.
Should I train today, even though I am very tired?
Excuse: Nop, It is a good Idea to rest.
Reason: Pedro a tired workout is better than not working out.
Question 2. Spending more time building a better Pedro.
Should I wake up now (on time), even though I did not sleep well and I went to bed very late?
Excuse: Nop, Just stay in bed, it is beautiful and warm now. Snooze button, 5 min after back to question and you repeat the process until instead of pressing the snooze button you press stop alarm.
Reason: Waking up now will help me to keep in order all the habits that are helping me to achieve more. In addition, waking up now will make it so much easier to go to bed tonight.
Question 3. The goal is improving my health.
I feel like something sweet. Should I have something sweet?
Excuse: Uhhhh Yes, Let’s have a chocolate cake with some ice-cream. Ohh!!! and peanut butter YUM. Do you want Ice cream too?
Reason: It is very likely I am just thirsty. I might have some water or tea. Maybe I could have some fruit. Is it worth the calories?
Honestly, in regards to the last question I have not mastered that one yet, but I am trying my best. Of course, I am not against having some good quality sweet treats here and there. But I am against having too much of anything especially sweet. It is a work in progress as I mentioned in my first article.
In this case I am defining an excuse as a means to communicate something to ourselves that pushes us away from what we want in life. They are more than valid and real, that is probably why they are so powerful. In reality, somedays the best will be to stay in bed or not going to train. On the other hand, a reason is the opposite, a means to communicate something to ourselves that takes us a step closer to what we want in life. The questions represent moments of our life when we have the power to decide towards what we desire. Straight forward you can see that the questions are designed to look for comfort, for the pleasure of the moment. The questions seem to be barracking for the excuses. It is like they are created by a little devil on one of your shoulders.
The real challenge is how to go from an excuse to a reason. I think the first step is awareness. We need to monitor ourselves. I try to stop and think what are those behaviours and habits that keep me away from what I want. Journaling has been a fantastic tool to find some of those behaviors. Likewise, consuming content is an amazing tool, because sometimes we just do not know better. Books, people and podcasts could help us to be better. Could give us ideas and strategies that can guide us to a better life. Finding more and more information makes the reasons stronger and at the same time weakens the excuse. It is important to keep putting valuable content in your life. Last but not least meditation. This has helped me to slow down my torrent of thoughts as well as detaching my identity from what I have in my mind at any given moment. You are not your thoughts. Your decisions can be more than just a mere reaction to the questions.
None of these things have changed for me de la noche a la mañana which means
Overnight. I said it in spanish because overnight does not have the same dramatic impact in english, but I hope you get what I mean. We are all humans and we are all learning to be a bit better everyday. Just keep going, keep asking the questions but more importantly keep trying to find your reasons.