How to stop making excuses

By December 6, 2011Thoughts

For some people it’s a lightening bolt, for others (like my old boss Lawrence Jones) it’s being trapped under the suffocating snow of an avalanche, for me, my moments of epiphany always seem to happen when I’m in the bathroom.

My epiphany is about smoking, I was stood in the bathroom and thinking it was time to throw away that old tube of smokers toothpaste that’s been behind the mirror for years. I used to smoke, as a smoker I had thought about giving up but didn’t bother to try, then one day I just did it. I didn’t tell anyone but I knew my time as a regular smoker had come to an end.

OK – so I gave up smoking.

I know what you’re thinking – this isn’t really Tony Robbins stuff is it? Well the thing about having given up smoking is it’s something that shouldn’t really be a failable task however people all around the world fail at it every day! And the thing about smoking is it’s not about the amount of money I have in the bank, it’s not about luck or the people I know, I control whether or not I buy a packet of cigarettes and smoke them, let’s be honest I’ve always had that element of control even when I was a smoker.

These are the choices we can make about our lives, we can’t choose to be rich and powerful, we can’t legislate for luck, whether and who we fall in love with etc, we can just push in the right direction. However, what we can control the things we eat, the exercise we do and we can stop doing the things we do that are going to kills us.

If it’s so easy why do we fail?

Part of the reason we keep failing at the tasks we set ourselves is that we don’t really commit to them, I knew that I should stop smoking, however it was only when I truly believed it was good for my health, for me, I actually had a chance at making it work. You can only really change for yourself – that’s the epiphany.

To start off with in my mind it was impossible to stop, there is the ritualisation of this act at different times during the day and how could I ever get through the day without this ritual? It was tied in with so many other parts of my life that it was virtually impossible.

Excuses and Defusing Them

The main issue surrounding excuses is that they aren’t lies, they have an element of truth about them. So, I had to ask myself the question, where the benefits of stopping smoking worth changing my routine? Yes absolutely, it disrupts your time and I believe it takes 30 days to set a good habit and 2 to set a bad habit. As soon I had managed to convince myself – really convince myself it was time to stop.

And in the bathroom, staring at that old toothepaste tube, which should have been thrown away years ago I realise that you’ve got stop projecting 20 or 30 years into the future, and it’s important not to compare yourself to anyone else just work out what it’s going to take to achieve your goal, get a plan together, be realistic, share it with as few people as possible. Just strip your plan right back to the bear essentials of what are required to get started and you’ll be surprised about how much you can achieve on your own.

Afterall the best way to unravel an excuse is to pull at it.

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