Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize you’ve had about enough of the struggle? You know, where you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired? Mine came like a two-by-four upside the head when I was lamenting about feeling lethargic and (gasp!) fatter than I should be. I realized that for three straight weeks, I had planned on going for a walk/run and not once had I made it. Oh, I had lots and lots of really awesome reasons- the weather sucked, a client needed me, I had to get an article written or a webinar to attend, had to get groceries (and where I live that is a multi hour process!). At the end of the day, it always came down to “I didn’t have enough time.”
But truth be told, the real reason was I had no motivation. Here’s where it gets interesting.
At the roots of laziness
I had to call bullsh*t on myself because if I tracked what I’d done all day, time wasn’t even a valid excuse. I needed a big ol’ dose of courageous honesty if I was going to get to the bottom of this. Why hadn’t I gone and done what I said I would? After all, I knew I’d feel better, my jeans would fit better, I’d have more energy, I’d sleep better, I’d make better food choices, I’d be nicer (for real).
It was one more thing in my day I didn’t want to do alone. That’s it. Pathetic, huh?
Here’s the deal. I live in a beautiful, yet secluded place. Very rural. Our internet only works at a dial up speed and only half the time. The closest cafe that other people like me would be working at is at least a 30 minute drive and even then, let’s just say what it lacks in character it is abundant in characters- like the kind you’d never introduce to ma and pa. At least at a computer, I had Facebook and some semblance of a social network.
But where the heck is the tap root?
Being alone outdoors reminded my of the thousands of times I would play alone in the park across the street from my house. There weren’t many kids in my neighborhood. It was lonely. Even then, I never wanted to feel that way again. It sucked.
Decades later, there was memory of my past by-passing my present and projecting into the future; if I went for a walk alone, I’d feel like a rejected, worthless, lonely kid with few friends.
I didn’t say this was a pretty process. But there it was, the tap root to why I’d been self-sabotaging my health…and ultimately happiness. Now I had to do something about it.
I started with a whole lot of love for that lonely little girl. Somewhere in me she was still hurting. So I just sat with her, loved her, told her all the great memories that came out of that time like an incredibly active and creative imagination. That single thing alone is probably why I love writing and write pretty well. I had to tell myself stories to entertain me.
Once she started to feel seen and loved, I asked her if it were really true that if I went to exercise on my own would I feel like a lonesome loser? “No, of course not!” she said and then did me a solid by reminding me of all the great times I’d had going out and feeling the sunshine on my face while I listened to a podcast or music, let my mind wander while being close enough to see the details of nature (hard to do when driving).
We made each other a promise. If I would go for the walks, she’d keep me company.
Here’s the really interesting thing. Once I started doing that, I didn’t rely so much on the Facebook and I got far more done. I attracted 3 new clients out of the blue. I saw things I might not have otherwise seen and they touched my heart deeply. And I was invited to join a couple of ladies who walk every morning which ended up leading me to be appointed to our local government.
Have you faced a similar struggle? Hiding behind an excuse to cover up the real issue? Lying to yourself for fear of repeating an old hurt?
3 steps to turning around the excuse
What’s getting in your way may or may not be your “lonely little girl” like mine was. It might be something different. There are a few things that will help you face whatever it is right now:
- Identify the specific struggle that you’re sick and tired of. Example: I’m sick and tired of not having time to exercise and take care of myself, feeling overweight with little energy, and not sleeping well.
- Really face that situation and see if there are any areas you can call bullshit on yourself. For instance – is it really about not having time, or is it avoiding a feeling like loneliness
- Practice being with what is most true. For example, if you’re feeling lonely, give yourself permission to feel lonely. Be okay with what is.
- Think about a way you can accomplish what you identified in step 1, while giving gentle attention to meeting the need that came up in step 3. For instance, how can I exercise in a way that meets my need for connection?
These steps will likely be transformative for you if you give them some time, attention and love.
I’d love to hear what comes up for you as a result of doing this process. What’s keeping you stuck? What’s that all about? And how does it feel to give some love to that part of you?
Leave a comment below if you’re so moved (I read them all!) and share this with someone you know, please.