Excuses. We all have them. Some are more apparent than others; but nonetheless they are there. Think of something you have always wanted to do or have. Now why have you not done the said example, or why do you not yet have it, are you even close?

The column on "6 Harsh Truths that Will Make You a Better Person" really made me analyze this a little more. As that author stated: "The human mind is a miracle, and you will never see it spring more beautifully into action than when it is fighting against evidence that it needs to change. Your psyche is equipped with layer after layer of defense mechanisms designed to shoot down anything that might keep things from staying exactly where they are -- ask any addict."

So let's take a closer look here and as always I am going to give some of my own examples. I have always wanted to... have a killer bikini body. Immediately some of my friends here say: are you kidding, you are fine... now first let me say that I am not unhealthily hung up on this fact, let me keep talking to explain this a little better before you make any judgement.

This is what I am talking about...

I have never quite had the body that I want to really feel super-amazing in a bikini (again quiet in the judgmental crowd). In saying this however, I have never quite put in the effort required to get the above. I always get to a certain point and then stop, or give up, or something comes up...we all know how this goes. Somewhere deep inside a quiet voice whispers, it's not possible, you can never achieve this, not everyone can, I am not willing to give up bread just for this... And I believe it; well have believed it for a very long time.

Recently I have made very good friends with a lovely Lithuanian girl; who is extremely motivated and dedicated to her health and fitness. This is where the mind is brilliant. Immediately, like a pit of vipers roused from sleep - the excuses come alive and start hissing.

She is too intense with training, I could never do that, she needs to take it back a notch, that's just not me, who actually counts calories...

 Out loud I have even heard myself say to her; "you should really relax, don't push so hard..."

Let's stop here shall we. Does anyone else not see what is going on here? Not only have my internal voices started up a choir singing all the reasons I can't get the body I want. But they are also voicing these out loud to my friend, trying to smite her efforts, or make her feel bad for being so determined. Incredible. This is not the person I  consider myself at all; in fact I feel I always try to motivate or get behind my friends and their dreams and visions. So why am I not only self-sabotaging here, but also inadvertently sabotaging my good friend?

Because the mind is constantly on defense; remaining very wary against anything that threatens the norm. To my mind, my friend represents my own failures, or what I have not achieved. When presented with such; we have two options:
1. be inspired - "wow, she is fantastic; I am going to train harder too!"

2. be pissed - "what the hell, she just makes us (me and my mind) feel bad, I can't do that, it's not possible..."

It seems in regards to this example, I have always chosen the latter option. Why? Because it easier than admitting that something needs to change. If you are not getting the results you want - you are not doing something right. Simple as that. But that means admitting defeat.

This dude really knew a thing or two...

But here is the good news. It is never to late. Studies have even revealed that the old adage "you can't teach a dog a new trick" is actually very much incorrect. It is indeed quite possible to teach an old dog a new trick. Granted it may take a little longer, but it is possible. 

I have now outed one of my own internal battles. I know it seems simple enough; and it is definitely not the end of the world. But life is all about small triumphs. Again people may be thinking that I am still crazy, because I by no means have a terrible body. In fact I just posted a photo of my bod on facebook with my new tattoo (another thing I have always wanted). But you know what; this is after I have changed my training regime and my eating, and am finally feeling a lot more confident.

This is just the beginning!

What have you always wanted to do? And what is really stopping you? We all have that friend, or have met someone that no matter what they really want; there is always an excuse as to why it can't happen. And am I right in saying they piss us off just that little bit?? You sit down over a coffee, and they start complaining about all of the things they want, don't have, just basically how unfair life is to them... you listen and try to help give advice where you can - but no matter what angle you come from; they have a brilliant maneuver to counter-attack everything! Now ok, sometimes people just need to vent, and this is fine...but for some people - this is ALL they ever do. 

So instead you say nothing; quietly promising to spend less time with this person. The funny thing is; that this person is our mind materialized. However, unlike this scenario where we do not have to meet this person for coffee anymore because we are no longer of the age that our friends are dictated by proximity (i.e. who is in your classroom as a child); our mind is a little harder to escape from. Not only this, but just think - most of us go around our day-to-day life completely oblivious to the Negative Nancy nattering away in our mind like a broken tape recorder, stuck on repeat saying over and over why something isn't possible... listen to it long enough and you will start to believe it! (Scary thought, no?)

A few examples...

  I want to travel more but don't have the money. Work in a job, any job that can give you the kind of finances you want for a year; then pack your bags! Even if it is pouring beers in a bar. You will get through the nights of drunken idiots because you know you are working towards a goal.

I want to learn how to cook more... One answer. Google. I have never cooked much, and had never baked until recently. Working as an au pair has given me the chance to try it. I simply think of what I want to bake, google recipes, voila - I am now a cupcake, pancake, muffin making machine! (I have this family actually thinking I can cook).

You are living such an incredible life, I wish I could do what you're doing... Here's the thing, I have done nothing exceptional, or unobtainable for anyone else. Sail Croatia - how did you get that job? I applied. Living in Italy - what a dream. I bought a flight to Florence... Writing a blog - I have always wanted to do that. www.blogger.com - No prerequisite to writing required. Heck this lets me spill my internal dialogue out, and I am not even that good. (I will write a book one day though!)

I want to get in shape... Exercise, eat right and just generally be good to your body. My friend 'Sunny Fuzz' is no longer a threat to me, but a well-spring of information and motivation that I too can train hard, eat well and get the results (again thanks Sunny you are an absolute inspiration and I can't wait for your healthy food and training blog!!) It is the first time in my life that when that little voice starts to say "it will never happen" I respond with - why the hell not? And you know what, it has no answer after this!

I want to live my dream... There are millions of people out there doing exactly that. There is no one definition of the dream job. It is what inspires you. I see inspirational posts from my friends all the time - who are teachers, in fashion, restaurants, mothers, gym instructors, artists...All completely living and loving what they are doing. When I got my tattoo here in Florence, the tattoo artist was so humble and kept saying how he can't believe how lucky he is to be living his dream: to meet so many people, imprinting his art on others, essentially being a part of a significant change that takes place in someone else (tattooing spans back for thousands of years, to be a part of and get a tattoo is a very special experience) - the best part about this is that I know he will not only survive off this, but will eventually thrive because he has true passion towards his art and is doing what he loves! (Again thank you Giuliano, the beautiful experience and energy will stay with me just like the tattoo). We spend an absolute minimum of 8hours a day, 5 days a week in our job. Why would you not spend it doing what you love?? (or do something that gives you the opportunity to do what you love - money to: travel, spend time with your family, pursue other hobbies and ambitions...)

I am by no means trying to preach here; heaven knows I am far from perfect. I know I still have many more layers of defense mechanisms and methods of self-sabotage to discover; but little by little I am peeling them all back. After  all this time I am still surprised with what I find hidden in my mind sometimes - but this is all part of living and learning!

So for the third time, I am asking what are your excuses? Are they the company you want to keep? Either keep going for coffee with the annoying friend who constantly whines and pisses you off a little, or find new friends (thoughts) that inspire you instead. I know who I would rather spend time with.

It all starts with one thought...

The devil loves excuses!

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