There are many reasons why we don’t actually do the things we know we should do. Besides, knowing and doing are two very different things.
Some reasons we may not implement the things we know:
- We can’t harness the willpower. Remember, willpower is exhaustible and when we try to change too many things at once, we ultimately fail at changing anything. We think we need a complete lifestyle overhaul, and choose that instead of making systematic changes. And then we don’t understand why we fail to implement every new thing perfectly within a week. Huh? This is about getting real and choosing the long, hard road over the quick fix. Are you willing to be patient?
- We don’t believe that we can do it. You’ve heard the quote from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Sometimes we don’t take action because on some level we believe we’ll just fail anyway, so why even try. This is common when it comes to changing our nutrition. We think, “Well, nothing has EVER worked, so why would this work??” We’ve decided we’re already going to fail before we even begin, so why even bother.
- We don’t really want what we say we want. Actions speak louder than words. So if I say I really want to do x, y, z and yet my actions say otherwise, perhaps on some level I don’t really want it. An example would be changing my eating. If I say I want a lean, fit physique, yet I am unwilling to give up my sweets, cheats and old way, then on some level, I don’t really want a change. Besides, if you want things to change, you have to change them.
- We are attached to being the victim. We may not even realize we do this. But many times, by not taking action, we are able to keep our small existence as is. We get to keep playing it safe and we get to hold onto our current identity. For example, if I am attached to the idea that “I have a slow metabolism and everyone else has a faster metabolism that I do,” I better not start losing weight, because then I am not that any longer. You might ask, Jill, why would we choose to stay miserable? The answer is that because often it feels good to play the victim. We get to go around telling people how bad we have it, how busy we are, how we got the short end of the stick, in order to garner pity and win the who-got-screwed-the-most competition of life. :) Ha! Isn’t this insane? And yet we have all done this at some point. I sure have. When we choose to take action to change our circumstances, we have to let go of our old poor-me identity. Can you give that up??
- We are scared of SUCCESS. When we take action, we are ultimately putting it out into the world that we are committing to something. And with commitment comes accountability. And with accountability comes fear. We can all relate to this–it’s often why we may not tell a lot of people we are going to do a competition or try a new diet. We may be reluctant to put it out there in a big way because now we have eyes on us and shit is getting real. Aaaaaaaaah!
So with all of that said, how do we stop complaining, stop being the victim, stop staying small and start taking action?
I use a single tool: THE ALTERNATIVE
This past weekend at the JillFit Retreat, I must have said the words, “But the alternative is…” about 100 times. Asking, What is the alternative? in any situation in which you are being the victim or not taking action acts as bucket of ice, immediately cooling any complaining, stalling or excuse-making. It’s a reality-check.
Here’s how it works:
Anytime you catch yourself complaining about something not working or finding yourself scared to take the next step, ask “But what’s the alternative?”
“But Jill, this new nutrition plan and exercise is not working! It’s been 2 weeks and I haven’t lost a pound! I want to give up!”
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE? The alternative is giving up and going back to the old way of eating & exercising, which we actually KNOW does not work. So the only action to take here is to dig in deeper to figure out what will work for you, stay consistent, push forward, and keep trying. You may have adjust. Do it. But keeping moving.
“But Jill, what if I work so hard to prep for a show and I come in last place??”
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE? The alternative is not prepping for a show and staying comfortable, all because you are scared of a hypothetic, a “might happen.” Which is worse? Not trying at all, staying small and not changing OR trying and opening yourself up for the potential to come in last place?
“But Jill, I want to start bringing my personal training business online, but what if no one wants to buy my stuff?”
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE? The alternative is not trying. The alternative is staying small, staying safe and waking up at 4am every morning to train clients at the gym, doing a fitness hustle. All because you don’t TRUST YOURSELF enough to provide an outstanding service online.
There are many other examples (I used another 97 at the Retreat this past weekend, ha!), but these examples give you a taste of how this works. Using The Alternative immediately silences any complaining or inaction. It helps us REAFFIRM our choices and pushes action. It is a FRAMEWORK to realign what is important to us in our minds, ditching the distractions and self-doubts.
And if you start using it, I think it will help you stay clear on your goals and over time, builds your self-confidence to know that if you don’t at least try, you’ll never know what you are capable of. When you use The Alternative, it immediately clears your thinking and takes away the distractions and “mental aerobics” (what Jillian calls it) that we like to play in our heads. It cuts through the crap.
Next time you find yourself stalling, give it a try, see what happens and open yourself up to experience the endless possibilities that await you on the other side of action :) ox, Jill
Related: Owning our own BS