In the spirit of a changing and much anticipated new year, I began to reflect on the opportunity to start fresh. We have our expected new year’s resolutions of eating better, working out more, or going to bed earlier with the overall idea of creating a happier, healthier, better life. Maybe you have a more unique goal for yourself such as starting a new hobby, spending more time working towards a goal, or quitting a habit you spend too much time doing. Whatever your ambition might be, it’s amazing to have a goal in mind. The things that we’d like to change, do, or accomplish come to us quite easily and freely, it’s what happens next is what I’d like to spend some time exploring.
We start with this idea in mind, which then requires a game plan. If I am going to start exercising more, I have to realistically plan out when this is going to happen. Is it first thing when I wake up, after work, or at my lunch break. Do I join a new gym, start a new form of exercise, rely on going with a friend, or just take walks around my neighborhood? Planning is involved in making this goal into a reality. Now you have the goal and you have the plan, so why doesn’t it always work out. Why don’t we follow through on all these awesome ambitions that we have or things that would make us feel our best and give us the most rewarding and fulfilling life experience?
We make EXCUSES. We are really good at this. We are so good that we believe that our excuses are valid, when deep down we know they are not. However, whatever we tell ourselves over and over again in our head, regardless of their validity, we will begin to accept as truth. It will then become our accepted way of seeing our situation and we will continue to perpetuate it into a reality. If we begin to reflect on the excuses we make, we can better understand where we have gotten ourselves stuck and what is really blocking us from this ideal version of life and ourselves.
So what are these excuses? The most common excuses we make for not following through with our goals are time, money, or effort. So let’s take a closer look at these ideas. If you tell yourself you don’t have the money to do it, take a look at how much money you do have access to and what you currently spend that money on now. You can reflect on if there is any part of your budget that is not essential that you could delegate elsewhere. You can also look to see if there are opportunities around you that would allow you to create income. If money is your excuse, how in your life can you overcome your own objection. For others maybe money is not preventing you from accessing your future goal, but time is of the essence. Take a step back and examine how you currently spend your time. What is non-negotiable scheduled time versus open time in your day. Where are areas of your life where you could find efficiencies, ask for support, or eliminated wasted frivolous uses of your time. When it comes to exerting the effort to achieve this goal, we realize we our own worst enemy. We know this isn’t really an excuse, but more so a rebellion against ourselves. Is this because what we want to accomplish or achieve is either too out of reach or maybe that we don’t really deserve having it in the first place. We must reflect on how badly we want to achieve our goal and the outcome or state of our life if we never do. We need a clear perspective on why this thing we want must be a priority, and from there, how we can prioritize it. Sometimes big ambitious goals seem daunting because it’s hard to determine where to start. However, If broken down into steps or phases, the effort we exert can be depicted one day or step at a time. This fits the expression of Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, each day serves as an important milestone, and focusing on what can be done in a day can help us to gradually change our habits into a new and more desirable life. When it comes to exerting the effort one day at a time and one choice at a time, we have to have a true and deep motivation behind the continuous effort. We have to allow ourselves to believe that we are truly worthy of this change in our life. If we begin to tell ourselves that we aren’t, we must look into why we don’t believe we are worthy of the difference. What is this self-perpetuating narrative that you are telling youself? What is that about, and when did it begin?
Psychotherapy is a process that can assist you in your journey of uncovering your own hidden beliefs about yourself and how those beliefs perpetuate your choices both good and bad. However, you are in charge of the changes that you choose to make. Having goals or a vision for the person you want to grow into is the first step. I challenge you in 2021 to get reflective on what is motivating you and pushing you toward positive change. There is always an excuse we are able to give to stop this momentum, but we have the choice to not allow ourselves to believe the excuses and find a reason to push forward. For more questions and concerns about how therapy can help you through the process, contact Grace Stevens at Growing through Grace Psychotherapeutic Services. Start the new year off without excuses.