Let’s start with something to get your mind working. Imagine you are at a funeral and this funeral is for someone you know very well, it is for yourself. Now, your friends, family, and co-workers go up and talk about your life. They talk about the type of person you are, your accomplishments, and the impact you had on people. If they spoke honestly, do you like what is being said? Do you wish that you would’ve done more? As you keep reading, reflect on these things and evaluate yourself honestly.
Please remember, be honest. Think about your goals that you currently have in life. What exactly are you doing to achieve that goal? Are you doing everything you can to achieve it? Are you honestly giving 100% to reach that goal or could you do a little more to make it happen? If you’re not giving 100% then would you say it is a goal or just something that would be nice to accomplish? The reality is that if you want something that it probably won’t come too easily and you are going to have to make it happen.
If you realized that, like many of us, you could put in some more effort towards that goal let’s break down why we haven’t taken steps forward. The fact is that it is easy to remain the same and stay in our “Comfort Zone”. We are literally programmed to continue doing those things that make us comfortable. It is simply normal to enjoy laying back in the recliner and watching a movie instead of driving all the way to the gym and putting your body to work. Showing up for work and doing only what is required is way more appealing than spending an extra hour to get ahead. Speeding through your school work seems to be way better than taking the extra time to fully learn the material. Playing your video game may seem more exciting than stopping to eat dinner with your family. So, if you aren’t putting forth that extra effort yet, it’s human nature and you are definitely not alone.
You should see now how easy it is to stay in that “Comfort Zone” and that it is natural among humans. But, let’s say you realize that fact and have decided to make a change in your life and not do the comfortable thing. Well now there is a decent chance that you have some factors holding you back. There’s a few determinisms that you think will prevent you from achieving a goal even if you do the work. 1)Genetic Determinism- you think because of your DNA that you can’t do something. You feel like because your family has a history obesity that it would be pointless to workout. Because your family were all dropouts you don’t think you have the intelligence to get a college degree. 2)Psychological Determinism- your whole life you have thought of yourself a certain way and you think it is who you are for good. Because you were never skinny you have told yourself that you will never lose weight. 3)Environmental Determinism- something or someone around you has made you decide you can’t change. Your boss always praises the efforts of a co-worker so you decide that you can’t possibly do better or get promoted. Because your spouse has an attitude you decide that you can’t change to be a better spouse yourself. It is crucial that you DO NOT let these thing decide what you can accomplish.
Once you get past those determinisms and tell yourself that you are in control of your outcome you have taken one of the biggest steps to improving your life! Now it’s time to set that goal, if you haven’t, and take it seriously. You have to realize that it won’t be easy and will take a lot of time and effort from yourself. It’s not going to be easy to lose a ton of weight, get a promotion, or get a high GPA in school. Things that come to you easily can be taken away just as easy. But if you are willing to give that effort I promise that the outcome will not disappoint you. Is it likely that someone who poured their heart out in the gym to lose 50 pounds was upset that they had to work harder than they could ever imagine to get there? Chances are they have zero regrets and would tell you to never give up. Now picture that same person if they chose to give up on the gym after a few weeks. What would be the end result and do you think there would be any regrets now?
A major change in your life will take time and requires you to take responsibility to control the outcome. If you break down the word responsibility it is the ability to respond. You have the ‘ability’ to ‘respond’ to your circumstances in life. If you choose to respond with hard work to a situation then your outcome will be a positive change. If you respond by remaining the same and doing nothing, you will simply not improve and stay the same as you are now. “If it doesn’t challenge you’ it doesn’t change you”.
Once you accept the responsibility to change an outcome in your life you have to continue to progress towards that goal. It’s not enough to just “try”, that word is used way too much in our vocabulary. Don’t “try”, just “do” what you need to do to get to that goal. Don’t “try” to go workout, go to the gym and give it your all. Don’t “try” to get a good grade, do what it takes to fully understand the subject. Don’t “try” to get that thing at work done, figure out what is required and knock it out. Anyone can create an excuse and skate around getting something done if it is challenging. But what yields people actual results is finding a way to make something happen. If you are falling behind in math class, pull your professor aside and ask for some tutoring. If you can’t get results in the gym, talk to people who have made a transformation and ask how they did it. If you are stagnant at work, reach out to people ahead of you and ask how to improve yourself or your process. If you aren’t being a good spouse or parent, seek advice on marriage or parenting.
I say don’t just “try”, but don’t confuse ‘just trying’ with failure. Failure is an option, quitting is not an option. You can’t be scared to fail because it is inevitable even among the most successful people throughout history. But when you come across a failure look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow. If you didn’t lose weight from this week’s workout, you learned what things to change to make your body respond. If you give your boss a report that isn’t up to his expectations, you learned more of what he expects next time. So the next time you come face to face with a failure while striving towards that goal change the word “failure” to “progression”.
Now, let us go back to your funeral. You decided to set some more goals throughout your life. You became a better spouse and parent after seeking advice over and over. You lost that weight after countless gym sessions, healthy meals, and pouring your heart out. You continued to learn from your mistakes throughout your career and became the guy people relied on. These are just a few small examples of things that will have an impact on the people left behind when you are gone. That parenting advice kept you from pushing your son away and ruining a relationship. When you lost all of that weight, a friend suffering from obesity was inspired and decided to change her life. When you continued to stay humble and learn from mistakes at work, it landed you a higher position that allowed you to provide wisdom to co-workers filling the shoes you wore years ago. The things you do today will matter down the road.
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