I don’t have time
“I really want to get fit but I just don’t have time”; “I want to learn how to play guitar but I don’t have time”; “I want to start practicing meditation but I don’t have time”……you know the sort of thing. I invite you to reflect on your last week and consider what you did make time for. Did you watch a compelling reality TV show? Did you do some clothes shopping? Did you use Facebook for more than 15 minutes? We can usually find time for the things that we really want to do. The reality is that if we really wanted to get fit/play guitar/meditate, we would find the time. A good starting point is to change your story about not having time. It’s a story, and one that’s not serving you very well. It’s also very helpful to do away with the word “should”. Any sentence with “should” in it means it’s not going to happen. For example, “I should go running tomorrow morning”. Change it to “will” and notice how much more empowering that is. Also ask yourself, “if not now, when?” We’re unlikely to have any more time in the future, so what are you waiting for? Another tip is to break your goal down to tiny little achievable bits. For example if you want to get fit, start with a two minute run, that’s it – no more, no less. Celebrate that you achieved it; pat yourself on the back. The next day, run for three minutes, and so on until you’re running for 30 minutes (or whatever your goal is). Reduce the original goal down so small that you will achieve it, then build on it from there. And remember not to use lack of time as an excuse, end that story and it has less chance of effecting you.
I’ll be happy when…….
This is commonly spoken or thought…..”I’ll be happy when I buy that new house”; “I’ll be happy when I finish my degree”; “I’ll be happy when I retire”’ etc etc. The reality is that you can chose to be happy now. Chances are that when you get the thing that was going to make you happy, it actually doesn’t. Why? Because happiness is an inside job. Often people look for a quick fix to their feelings of discontentment and believe that material things will shift that. Material purchases and even a big win in the lottery will usually bring immediate, yet short term, satisfaction. Deeper and longer life satisfaction is borne from being grateful for what we do have, giving to others, helping others, showing compassion and care. Next time you hear yourself saying, “I’ll be happy when…..” perhaps pause and reflect on all the things that you have to be grateful for right now, and go and do a random act of kindness for someone….and see how you feel then.
I can’t help it
I hear this one often from my clients…..”I can’t help it, that’s just how I am”. I invite you to really consider if this is true. No doubt that many of us have life-long ways of thinking and behaving, so they become more automatic but we can usually change them if we chose to. If you lose your temper too easily, eat too much, dislike certain people (race/gender) or anything that you feel is simply how you are, I encourage you to reconsider this. We can all change up thinking or change a behaviour that is not serving us a good purpose. Yes, it will take some discipline and time but it is achievable. When an incident happens that automatically triggers a response that you feel you can’t help, gently pause and ask yourself what other way you could consider this.
I can’t forgive them
The most common resistance that I hear about forgiving, is that if I forgive them it means I’m saying what they did was OK and it wasn’t, so I refuse to forgive. Holding onto this anger and resentment only serves to continually make you feel worse and drained, and doesn’t actually change the bad thing that happened to you. I invite you to flip forgiveness on its head. You forgive simply because you want to move on and you recognise that holding onto it is not good for you. It does not mean, in any way, that you’re saying what they did was OK. You are simply acknowledging that what happened to you was hurtful and unfair but that for your own sake you chose to forgive (not to forgot or condone). It might help to place your hand on your heart, take a few deep breaths, and see yourself letting it go for your own good. You will be the beneficiary of this action, not the perpetrator.
I hope that these suggestions may help you shift some unhelpful language that you might be using, so that you may live a happier life.