Consulting my better half


As I headed to the gym this morning I wondered who would be there. Working out 3 times a week has been my routine now for the past few years. My personal trainer pushes me just enough so I break a sweat – and so I look forward to training again the next time!

As I approach I see a gaggle of people. I hold back a chuckle. I think it’s funny (and sad at the same time) to see people thronging to the gym at the beginning of each year. I’ve also noticed the crowds dwindle by about March or April.

“Hello!” Amidst the kerfuffle I greet my usual gang. By how regularly they exercise, I know these ones take their health and fitness seriously. Rain or shine, holiday or not, they’re there. I especially love how they’ve created their personal gym style – outfit, shoes, bag, matching towel and water bottle!

Quick self – check: Where have I been conflicted, where have I lacked energy, focus, and determination to follow through on a resolution, a goal, a purpose? What causes commitment to wane? How does enthusiasm taper? How often have I lived under the delusion that I was doing my best, when in fact my efforts were downright lousy?

“I want to pursue my dream with passion… and I want to feel safe and secure, and not risk my money or anything.” Have you heard people talk like that? “I want to be more assertive, I want to project courage and firmness… and I also want to be loving and understanding so I don’t hurt other people’s feelings.”

In other words, they want to live the life of the world class, but are unwilling to pay the price. Since this reality is too harsh to bear, they delude themselves into thinking they are doing everything in their power to get ahead. Of course, they’re not. They’ll tell you they’re putting in far more time than they are. They’ll swear they’re thinking about their vision all the time, but they’re not.

I wondered how much of a fraud I was. After showering, I felt I really needed to confide in someone and so I consulted my better half. This was our conversation:

Best Tess (BT) : What are you conflicted about?
Everyday Tess (ET) : I want to do more and experience more and I want to stay safe as well.
BT : Okay. What do you call that part of you?
ET : Scared.
BT : What does Scared want?

ET : I don’t want to get laughed at. I don’t want to deal with
unkind people judging me and saying nasty things
about me.
BT : What else is important about being Scared?
ET : I can’t fail.
BT : So Scared wants to protect you from humiliation and
failure. I understand. Being Scared doesn’t enhance
your life, does it?

Are you willing to make a deal with me?
Let’s both cooperate, say for about a month just to test
the situation. For one month I get to explore and
experience without you interrupting me, and after that,
you get to play it safe. When one month is up, let’s
come together again to renegotiate terms. Deal?
ET : Deal.

I realize now why willpower isn’t enough to keep us committed. Conscious strategies don’t work until they become an unconscious, habitual part of us. It’s called being – in – alignment, doing things so that they become our second nature. We must move from doing… to “BEING.” Until we get “in character” of the part we want, we’re just being bad “actors.”

Achievers have learned to get down and dirty with details. Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight this year,” say, “I will lose 5kg by March. I will start by taking the stairs to my apartment instead of using the elevator.” Instead of saying, “I will eat less,” say, “I will replace one meal a day with a protein drink. That means 600 calories less per day.”

Concepts like “explore and experience” are just too complicated for our psyche. Make your meanings as specific as possible. A way to explore and experience: I will practice responding differently to routine situations. Eg: While I’m used to speaking up, I will remain silent. Or, I will do that one thing that I’ve been putting off for the longest time.

Want to be world – class? Ask, “Are my habits, actions and behaviors congruent with the vision I have for my life?”

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