by Thomas Whitfield, M.A.
A recent survey reported that between 40-50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Unsurprisingly the top choice is to be healthier/lose weight, followed by an improvement in finances, and then having a better relationship/sex life. After much thought, I’ve decided that mine is to stop lying to myself.
There is one specific itty bitty little lie that I tell myself every day. It seems both harmless and potentially true, but I do rely on it more than I would like to. Sometimes this lie stops me from going after a lot of the things that I want, and occasionally it even leads me to feel guilty when I realize I’ve lied to myself about it. On an almost daily basis I tell myself, “I’m too tired” or “no, you deserve to relax.” I am a busy person, I have a lot of things up in the air, but it is all manageable. There are lots of things that I’d like to accomplish or continue working towards, but often when I have a spare hour or two, I talk myself out of doing them. The lie that I think most largely impacts my behavior is the one screaming “I’m too tired!!” The spare time I have to work on things additional to school and work occurs after 6pm. Rationally, it is very true that I may be tired, but am I really “too tired?” And is telling myself that “I’m too tired” helping me accomplish anything extra? No.
Most recently I’ve noticed myself relying on this lie over the course of the last week. For a lot of people, myself included, there is a break between Christmas and New Year’s where everything seems to stop. It can feel as though the world is hanging in limbo just waiting to be told to “go” again. Heading into the week I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish, some big, some small. For the most part I was able to complete the huge ones and I can go flying back into full swing next week with ease. However, there are a few things that I didn’t hit the mark on. Looking back over the week, I realize it’s because when I had the opportunity to work on these things I talked myself out of it. I would have the irrational belief that “I’m too tired” which comes from the irrational belief that I have to feel a certain way to do specific things. Yes, it’s best to not operate heavy machinery when tired, but the things on my list did not involve anything potentially harmful. In the coming weeks, and throughout 2018, when I notice myself thinking, “I’m too tired,” I’m going to stop myself and say, “I’m tired, but being tired doesn’t mean I can’t work on this. And working on this is going to help lead me to towards my goal of…”
2018 = the end of procrastination protected by a lie that I must feel a certain way to do things.