It's Just Too...Mar 02, 2022
Can you think of a time when you blew things up in your mind to be way bigger than they ended up actually being? Like something being much more difficult or taking significantly longer than what played out? I imagine that we've all done that from time to time, right? After all, how can we predict how something will be if we’ve never done it before?
Of course, it’s also very easy to do the opposite and think something will be a lot easier or faster than how it really plays out, even if we do know what to expect. Think about how many times you’ve done just one more quick thing before running out the door, only to end up arriving late to your destination. I know that I’ve definitely been guilty of both scenarios.
It’s one thing to think that something is going to be relatively easy to get done in a specific period of time and then have something go wrong that blows the entire thing up into a much bigger deal than anticipated.
And it’s a completely different thing to anticipate that something is going to be a big deal only to discover that it was way easier, less expensive or faster. That’s when we feel like we’ve won the jackpot!
What happens, though, when we tell ourselves that something is going to be a much bigger undertaking than it really is and we end up convincing ourselves to not do it at all?
The decision to not do the thing could be wrapped up in perceptions like:
- It’s just too much time for me right now
- It’s going to cost too much money
- Maybe when…
- My gut is telling me not to do it
I’m not going to discredit any of these things as potential truths and factors to consider, and I’m all about following one’s intuition. Where we run into trouble, though, is when these things become the excuse to not do the thing…and simply stay in our comfort zone.
I had a conversation with a client recently about a movement goal that she has and what her options are for getting more movement each day. She mentioned really enjoying a particular exercise class at a place near her house. However, she began to dismiss that class as an option by claiming that from the time she leaves her house to the time she gets home takes half a day . I challenged her on this claim and she ended up figuring out a truer estimate of about an hour and a half. Sounds reasonable to me. What do you think?
This may not sound like a big deal, but after not getting much movement in the past couple winter months and knowing that she has to move significantly more, her perception of basically not wanting to “waste” such a big chunk of her day just for this one little class was completely off-base. It was exaggerated to the point where it made much more sense to skip the class and spend her time on being productive in other ways. Unfortunately, that wasn’t happening, and neither was any comparable movement.
Let’s say that one of your closest friends invites you to a party and you’re really looking forward to going. However, a couple days before the event, a long list of things that you should get done this weekend starts bubbling up, which makes you reconsider going to the party (despite the fact that you haven’t done anything socially for a long time.)
Unfortunately, our society teaches (directly and indirectly) that we have to be productive in order to be valued or worthy. Does “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” sound familiar?? It’s no wonder when faced with the choice between time to get things done and going to a party that so many of us lean towards productivity.
The truth is, though, that you won’t find “I regret not being more productive” in Bronnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. In fact, two of the regrets she shares that are important here are: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” and “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
And when we look at Dan Buettner’s Power 9® list from his book The Blue Zones Challenge that’s based on his work studying the places around the world with the highest concentration of people living into their 100s, you definitely won’t find “productivity”. Instead, you will find more things on the list that stress the importance of connecting with others.
I’m not suggesting that there won’t be times when it’s important that we forego the festivities to take care of business, but if that becomes the default, then you are setting yourself up for regrets, now and down the road.
Let’s consider a couple other scenarios that you may be able to relate to:
You’ve dreamed of learning how to dance, but you tell yourself that you’re not very coordinated, it will take forever so why bother, you need a partner, it’s too late in life to learn, you probably not be any good or you don’t have time.
You’ve dreamed of traveling the world, but you tell yourself that it will cost too much, you don’t know how to decide where to go, the hotel might not be what it seems like online, it might be dangerous or you don’t know what to pack.
You want to eat healthier, clean foods, but tell yourself that it will be too expensive to buy organic, it takes too much time to cook, there’s no way you can give up ___, the kitchen is always too messy for cooking or others in your house won’t like it.
You’ve always wanted to start your own business, but you tell yourself that it’s too complicated, you don’t know how, it’s too late in your life, you might fail, you might hire the wrong people, no one will buy from/hire you or it will be embarrassing to start small.
If you could choose only one, would you say that trying something that doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, OR not trying something at all is more of a failure?
What’s the cost of not reaching your goals and dreams, especially when you don’t even allow yourself to take any action? The cost is very likely REGRET. It’s one thing to not make it to the goal, but it’s a whole different story when you don’t take any steps towards the goal.
The client in the movement scenario I mentioned said to me, “I don’t want to regret not taking care of myself physically. It doesn’t just happen.” What a powerful statement!
All of the “yeah buts” may be legitimate things to be aware of and to figure out, but far too often they end up being used as the “reason” for not taking action towards something we dream of experiencing. Ultimately, they’re excuses for staying in our comfy little comfort zone.
When will it be the “right” time to stop making excuses and LIVE YOUR LIFE?
Yes, you absolutely could face issues and detours along the way. Let me rephrase that…You absolutely will face issues and detours along the way. But from what I’ve seen, and experienced myself, is that the really big growth comes from navigating adversity and the detours often lead to even better experiences! Sure, it will probably be challenging and downright uncomfortable sometimes, but there’s no doubt that the reward will be worth the challenge.
Besides that, if you aren’t going to take action towards a goal or dream of yours, what are you going to do instead? I mean, seriously.
And if you genuinely don’t want to do the thing then be honest about it and stop spending your time and energy explaining why you don’t want to do the thing. Rather, shift that time and energy into figuring out what you are going to do instead.
To quote my mentor Brendon Bruchard, “Perhaps the universe isn’t giving you what you want because based on all of your distractions it is simply unclear what you are asking for.”
In other words, you keep saying that you want these things, and then spend your time proclaiming how “unrealistic” they are and filling your days with activities that won’t get you any closer to these goals and dreams.
The world needs more happy, fulfilled people. Achieving our goals and pursuing our dreams should be taken seriously. You deserve to live your life to the fullest.
Find the clarity you need, visit that dance studio, create a manageable plan of action, do an honest reality check on your perception, reach out to the people who have the information, take the first step, hire the coach or mentor, make that first habit change…
Step outside of your comfort zone and do the thing! This is your sign that now is the time!
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