Why you keep giving up.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

How many times have you gotten super motivated, dedicated, PUMPED to start the new “thing.” You’re READY to find a new job. You’re GOING to start working out on Monday! You’re totally going to start eating better too! Then Monday comes, your alarm goes off, and you hit snooze again and again because going to the gym sounds way less appealing than staying in your snuggly warm bed. You get to work, open your packed lunch of chicken and veggies, and then a coworker tells you the cafĂ© downstairs is serving their famous lasagna, score! You’ll eat better tomorrow, right?

Or you’ve got your coffee ready, your computer open, and you start looking for jobs. But wait, you see a notification that someone commented on your post on facebook. So down the social media rabbit hole, you go. One hour later, two hours later, no job searches performed, no jobs have been applied for which means no potential to get out of the job you hate now. Damn it, you did it again! This is usually followed by some self-loathing, beating yourself up for not doing “the thing” you said you were going to do, followed by some self-pity and resignation that maybe you just can’t do this. So screw it, you order take out, hunker down with your ice cream, and turn on the Netflix waiting for it to arrive. Sound familiar?

The issue is, we all want change, but we don’t want to do the work. I mean, we all know, from an intellectual level, that change is hard. But we seem to forget this when it’s time to DO the hard part. Let’s be REAL honest for a second, shall we? We don’t really want change, we think we do, but what we really want are the results. Why do you think diet pills are so popular? Who wouldn’t want to live a life where dessert was always an option, where you never had to feel deprived, could eat whatever you wanted, and still remain a 125lb jacked barbie doll thanks to the magic bullet diet pill?? Spoiler alert, that’s not how it works. Why aren’t you reaching your goal? Because you’re not comfortable being uncomfortable, so when things get hard, and the excitement wears off you bail.

We also think that we should WANT to do the hard things all of the time. So when the alarm goes off, and we have no motivation to do anything, we think something has gone wrong, or something is wrong with us. But there isn’t. Your brain is just doing its job of trying to keep you safe. And your mind thinks comfortable equates to safety and it will always want to choose comfort over effort, difficult, challenge, a.k.a 5 am workouts. What’s the cure for this? Do it anyway. When it’s time to do the thing, and you REALLY don’t want to, DO IT ANYWAY. You are not the issue. How early it is, is NOT the issue. Your lack of motivation is NOT an issue. Your brain is the issue. Your brain want’s you to conserve energy, too bad. Don’t listen to your brain. You tell your mind what the plan is. Not the other way around. If you want to reach your goal, you have to ANTICIPATE this, recognize it, and override your brain. Do the thing ANYWAY.

The other reason people give up, they expect perfection. They don’t allow for errors, mistakes, or a learning curve. This was me and every diet I’ve ever tried. I’ve literally been almost every size, from a size 2 to a size 18, back down again. Until last year, I’d been on a perpetual diet since I was 25. I’d start the diet and would be obsessed with eating perfectly. I’d start to have success, fall off the wagon, get frustrated, beat myself up, binge, and then throw my hands up like “I can’t do this shit, I’m out.”
Mastering anything takes practice, and that means messing up, failing, and doing it again. OF COURSE, you’re going to fail. You haven’t mastered the new skill set. If you HAD, then you’d have the fantastic body, relationship, career, already! Perfection is impossible, failing is necessary. I saw a great quote once that said something to the effect of “failure doesn’t mean the game is over. It means try again, with experience.” Whaaaaat??! Game changer.

So what happens when you do fail? You knew it was going to happen at some point because you read this excellent blog. You went off the rails on your diet, you skipped a workout, whatever the “fail” looks like for you. The “fail” is actually wholly unimportant. What you DECIDE to do next IS.

Are you beating the shit out of yourself for everything you did wrong? How you knew you were going to fail again? You knew you couldn’t do this. You knew this was going to be too hard and you should never have even bothered. This is just like you to screw up again!
Is this you? I want you to think about how this makes you feel when you do this. No, for real, take a moment and check-in with yourself and think about how that feels in your body when you are doing this. Not good is what I’m imagining. Actually pretty shitty is what I would expect. It feels shitty when I beat myself up.

Beating yourself up doesn’t serve you, EVER. This is practically a mantra I say to my clients over and over. Beating yourself up may feel purposeful, deserved even, but it does NOT serve you. For one, it feels awful, and feeling awful never drives positive action. Actually, it usually results in self-sabotaging behaviors done in an attempt to relieve our self inflicted misery. It’s not going to help you learn because you’re only focusing on the negative, not on what actually worked or analyzing a new approach, which also leaves you feeling powerless. It sure isn’t going to motivate you to keep going because who would want to try again after all that self-assault? So just stop, right now. Commit to stop beating yourself up. It serves no purpose and will not help you succeed.

Ready to stop giving up? Be okay being uncomfortable. Anticipate not wanting to do it, tell your brain you’re doing it anyway. Be willing to fail and be kind to yourself when you do, and you’ll KEEP GOING!

Are you digging all these blogs? You should come hang out with me in my facebook group. It’s called Blended Bosses Unite. We chat every Sunday about coaching concepts I use myself and with my clients. Come check us out!