Is the devil holding you back? Sometimes it feels that way. You plan on doing something that requires effort, like cleaning the garage, balancing the checkbook or working on some project. You resigned yourself to the point where “that thing” needs to get done and you’re the person who needs to do it. Maybe you procrastinated and it absolutely has to get done now.
Ok, ready? Let’s do this thing. But you don’t. You can’t bring yourself to do it. You start thinking of reasons (excuses) why you can’t do it. You might hear yourself say things like: “If I start cleaning the garage and don’t finish before we have to leave then the garage will be in worse shape than it is now.” or “I don’t have to balance my checkbook, I think I have enough money in there.” or “I know that project needs to be done, but I just don’t have the time to start it now. I’ll work on it later.” What the heck is going on? Why can’t we “Just Do It” like Nike says?
That’s a good question. One I found myself asking recently. You see, in my situation I need to lose weight. I’ve chosen to include exercise as part of my plan. Bicycling, walking, weight-lifting and yoga as my primary activities. Earlier this week I signed up for a Saturday morning bike ride on Meetup with Performance Bike in Newark
I got everything ready the night before. So why then on the day of the ride was I thinking about not going? “You could just stay home and watch tv?” and “You could get on the computer and surf for hours.” and “Why don’t you just lay low and chill? It’s gonna be hot out there today.” I really wanted to go on the ride, but these thoughts, this voice was pulling me back. I fought them off, went on the ride anyway and had a good time.
Last night before I went to bed I told myself that after I got up, I would go to the gym. However, when I got up I was thinking, “Do you really want to go to the gym? You can just start tomorrow before work.” and “Why don’t you just skip it?” There was this battle going on, you know like the angel and devil on your shoulders? I realized what was happening and needed some support to make it out the door. I immediately put on “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky and started moving. Got on the bike, rode 8 miles to the gym, lifted weights and rode back. Cooled down with a little yoga.
What I am realizing is “the devil” here is really that part of me that wants to protect me. It thinks by convincing me to hang on the couch with the remote is somehow protecting me or has my best interest in mind, which of course is not true. Change is different, exercise is hard. But you know what? Being overweight and sedentary is hard too and will cost in the long run. You pay now or you pay later.
Motivational speaker Les Brown said
“…Sometimes you have to stand up inside yourself and say: SHUT UP!..”
Do you ever find yourself rationalizing why not doing something could be a good idea when you previously said you wanted to do it? Be aware of the voices in your head and make sure you’re listening to the right ones! Don’t let the need for perceived self-preservation or protection hold you back.