This week is my birthday week, so I think that makes it the perfect time to share some advice (with a small dose of tough love) about a few things I’ve learned throughout my 40+ years on this blue planet.
Something I care very much about is helping people pull themselves together, and not just with decluttering and organizing their physical spaces and creating more margin, but with helping people move toward creating a life they truly want to live. However that should look for them.
It’s surprisingly tricky to me (and if I’m being honest, I struggle with it too) how we can really, truly long for our lives to be one way, and yet we’re not remotely living something that even slightly resembles it.
We may want to organize and declutter our homes. We may want to stop a habit or pick up a new one. Maybe we need to lose weight, or maybe we’re in a toxic, unhealthy relationship. Perhaps our career (or boss) is sucking the life out of us.
Maybe it’s a large change that we know we need to make to really propel our lives into the next phase. Perhaps moving out of our parent’s basement, or moving to another state, or changing industries. We know we need to make a move, but we’re just not doing it.
I see this time and again with people who want to move toward change, but haven’t done so in months or even years – sometimes decades. So, why can’t we get our crap together? In my experience, it’s because of the lies we’re telling ourselves.
Let’s take a look at 7 lies we tell ourselves about getting our crap together:
- It’s Someone Else’s Fault – I get this to some extent, especially if you’ve been hurt by someone you really trusted and cared about. But at some point, we have to claim our lives as our own. We can’t change the past. And if you’re happy wallowing in pain, then surrender to that and just claim that as your life. Claim pain as your modus operandi and admit that you’re happiest being pissed off and sad. Also, if someone you share your life with is the one “holding you back”, consider re-framing that belief to see if that’s really true.
- It’s Someone Else’s Responsibility – It’s only someone else’s responsibility if you’re five. If you are old enough to start making some decisions for yourself, you are old enough to get your act together. It is not up to someone else to help you figure out how to manage your life. If you need help, absolutely find it – counselors, trainers, teachers, coaches, nutritionists, doctors, therapists, consultants, whomever can get you on the right track and help move you toward your goals – that is an excellent idea. But do NOT think that it is the responsibility of your spouse or S.O., children, parents or friends to figure out how to get your life together, or tell you what to do. That’s an unfair expectation of your relationships and it’s a huge burden to place on people you claim to care about.
- You’re Not Ready – I’m not sure how much time you think you need to “get ready”, or what “being ready” even looks like, but what you have to ask yourself is this: How much more of my life am I willing to trade to continue being miserable?
- You’re Broke – So, I’ve used this excuse at times. I’m too broke to pay for things that other people have that makes their lives better/easier/fabulous. While that’s true for some things (I certainly wouldn’t mind having a private chef), and in some cases true (such as paying for a graduate degree). However, in the grand scheme of things, we are using this excuse for things that aren’t true. People use the excuse that they can’t lose weight because they can’t pay for a food program or a nice gym. People say they can’t get their homes in order because they can’t afford nice filing systems or shelving. We don’t need money to get our lives together. And in some cases, actually having less is more of what we need.
- You’re Too Lazy, Tired, Fat… – This is more of a “giving up” than a lie, but it’s still a lie. You can’t say you’re “too” much of anything and really believe that it makes it okay not to do things. Can you imagine telling your boss you can’t come in to work today because you’re just feeling too fat? Why do you use it as an excuse otherwise, then? Take some time to really examine these thoughts and ideas you’ve adopted about yourself. They may not be serving you.
- It’s Too Late – I don’t know why, but this one really gets under my skin. I hate to hear people say they’re too old to change, or that they just “are who they are”. Seriously? It has nothing to do with being too late, and everything to do with stubbornness and staying in your comfort zone, no matter how crappy it is.
- You’re Different – We’d all love to believe our circumstances are somehow very different and that no one else would understand, and that if they’d been through what we’ve been through, they wouldn’t be able to move forward either. I’m not trying to minimize anyone who has been through some seriously awful stuff. But again, how long will you allow that awful thing to rob you of a happy life? This is a choice you get to make.
I apologize (sort of) for the straight talk, but I’m feel sassy as I approach 40 + (mumbles actual age…).
Tell me, what excuses, or lies, do you tell yourself so that you don’t have to make any changes, no matter how painful or crappy your life really is? Are those lies serving you well? How much more time will you trade to keep them?