For some people, it’s a lightning 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 standing in the bathroom and thinking it was time to throw away that old tube of smoker’s 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. Of course, I didn’t tell anyone, but I knew my time as a regular smoker had ended.
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 that it shouldn’t really be a failable task; however, people worldwide 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, we can control what we eat, exercise, and stop doing the things we do that will kill 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 I should stop smoking.

However, it was only when I truly believed it was good for my health that I actually had a chance to make it work. You can only really change for yourself – that’s the epiphany.

To start off within 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? Moreover, 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. On the contrary, they have an element of truth about them.

So, I had to ask myself, where the benefits of stopping smoking are 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 develop 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 toothpaste tube, which should have been thrown away years ago, I realise that you’ve got to stop projecting 20 or 30 years into the future.

It’s important not to compare yourself to anyone else. Just work out what it will 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 bare essentials of what is required to get started, and you’ll be surprised about how much you can achieve on your own.

After all, the best way to unravel an excuse is to pull at it.

How To Stop Making Excuses

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