Tag Archives: goal setting

Today is “some day”

3 Mar

This article is for those of you who are living in a constant state of emotional pain within yourselves, and if you’re tired of feeling constantly down or depressed, consider this a kind of kick in the ass to recognise your emotional pain and to get up and do something about it. So I’m going to focus on the beginning of a journey, away from self-denial and towards self-acceptance, and as with any journey where you are in a strange or uncomfortable place, you will often need a guide to set your feet upon the path.

For this particular journey I am offering to be your guide, and I hope that for those of you who choose to begin this journey, that you will be willing to accept that the journey will be long, and will present you with as many disappointments as it will successes. I urge you to accept the disappointments not as punishments, but rather as teachers that will give you opportunities to learn more about yourself and how to manage yourself so that you can recognise the difference between genuine failure and poorly understood self-expectation. As with any journey this one begins with a single step, and that first step is to understand a little bit about weasel words.

Weasel words are those statements which are made that allow people to back-pedal when they are caught somewhere between a lie and a truth. Carefully worded phrases which allow us to effectively lie and then say later that we weren’t really lying, but that something has changed in the universe that makes our statements false now, yet were essentially true when we uttered them. Words we say that are intended to sound very real, authoritative, or sincere, yet when closely examined turn out to be of less real value than the hot air that breathed them.

We’ve seen politicians make a living out of weasel words so that they can promise us the Earth before the election, and then make us pay for that same Earth after the election. I’m sure you’ve also heard people making promising sounding statements at work creating certain expectations, only to have those expectations come to nothing as the weasel words are used as a fall back to justify why those expectations weren’t met:

Boss at the beginning of the year:

“We’re tracking well to pay big bonuses at the end of the year”

…and at the end of the year:

“Our circumstances have changed”

“We took a big hit “

“Our end of quarter results did not meet our expectations”

Even worse is when someone uses  uses weasel words to convince you of their sincerity, even while being completely insincere.

Employee at the beginning of the week:

I should be able to complete this task by Friday

…and at the end of the week:

Too many other priorities prevented me completing the task you asked for, and in any case, I told you that I “should” be able to complete the task, not that I would prioritise it over my other work.

The real problem with using weasel words is that it can become habitual. So habitual that you might not realise that you are using them all of the time. For some, weasel words can become a kind of crutch that you might use to lean on as a way to justify why you never want to join in or do things that would be to your benefit, and the habitual use of weasel words can lead to others thinking you might be unreliable or untrustworthy. If this is the sort of image others perceive, imagine then the emotional damage such an image might do over time to a person’s own self-image, to their feelings of self-worth, and their ability to face any of the challenges that life sends their way. It’s bad enough that people use weasel words with others, but what about when you are using weasel words with yourself. Does any of this sound familiar:

“I’ll start getting fit as soon as I have dealt with this other thing”

“I’d like to be healthy, only I don’t have the money|time|knowledge|energy|something else”

“One day I’ll achieve [my goal]”

“Some day I’d like to achieve [my dream]”

Weasel words. All of it. If you keep telling yourself that you’ll do something “some day”, then you and I both know that the chances that you’ll ever actually get around to doing it will be lessened every time you added of a weasley “some day”. Weasel words allow you to fail without the responsibility of learning from the failure. “Some day” really means “never” and yet nobody ever wants to admit to themselves that they’ll never achieve their dreams so they’ll add the weasel words so that they can feel less guilty or less down on themselves if they don’t reach their goals, and so that they’ll feel justified in the failures in their lives that they don’t want to take responsibility for.

Yes, I’m being harsh, and with good reason. I myself was one of these people, allowing myself to use weasel words in order to avoid my own responsibilities towards myself. I allowed myself to exist for years in a bad place within myself, and I was foolish enough to convince myself that it was OK to live in this way, and to put up with living in a continuous state of emotional pain, and all because I allowed myself to buy into living for “some day” rather than for today.

If you want to live life without emotional pain, if you want to experience the satisfaction of achieving your goals, and if you wish to experience the joy that comes from embracing each day of life as the gift that it truly is, then you need to teach yourself to stop using weasel words to create a disconnection between yourself and your life. Accept failures as opportunities to learn, and start changing your focus from negatively reinforcing to positively reinforcing language and thought. It’s not easy to change all of this about yourself, and I know this from hard earned and sometimes painful experience.

So for those who are starting out on their self improvement journeys, and for those who wish to reboot their journey’s, or to inspire themselves to push a little harder, I urge you to stop worrying about a some day that will never happen, and instead to choose today.

“Some Day” is TODAY.

Print that out in big letters and stick it up in lot’s of prominent places in your home. On the fridge & pantry doors, in the bathroom and in the bedroom. Put it above the TV, and on the back of your front door so that you will be reminded every time you are about to leave the house. If you won’t go to the mountain, and if the mountain is “some day”, then I am bringing “some day” to you and telling you that it is today.

Every time you start to say something about the future that is indefinite and couched in carefully phrased statements that make the future a mere possibility, STOP TALKING!

Take a deep breath, and take a risk. Think it through and then be real specific and rephrase so that “Some Day” has a date and time. Make it a goal instead of a wish. Make it specific and real instead of a mere fantasy. Make yourself accountable for the success or failure of that goal, be willing to accept the failure if and when it happens, and to learn why the failures might occur so that you can aim towards avoiding the same failures in the future. Whenever you learn from a previous failure and use that knowledge to overcome the next obstacle, the victory becomes so much more satisfying, and teaches you more about what you CAN do, instead of the things you think you can’t.

Stop yourself from using weasel words like could, might, can, possibly and maybe, and instead choose to use the positive word Will. Whenever you find yourself saying that you will do something , you will often need to justify When you will do it. This give you not only a goal to work towards, it also provides you with an opportunity to either achieve or fail in your attainment of the goal, and by presenting opportunities to fail you permit yourself to have opportunities to learn so that you can try again and achieve your goal the next time, and make the successes so much more valuable to you as a result.

Using Will and When permits you to show yourself the value you place on both your goals, and on your own desire to achieve those goals. It teaches you to be specific and realistic in how you set your goals. When you are willing to accept your choices and their consequences, you become more willing to accept yourself, and you show others that you value yourself.

I’m a great believer in the ability of a body to heal itself when given an appropriate human diet and sufficient exercise to stimulate the metabolism. This is a belief sustained by having myself experienced the lows and highs, and having learned for myself the difference that can be made by changing my own lifestyle,  allowing me personally to experience how powerful a few simple lifestyle changes can be. I’ve also been at the receiving end of all of the well meaning advice by doctors and psychologists telling me that I need to embrace a positive mind set, and to recognise when I am being negative. It’s all well and good to be told that I need to eat better and to exercise more, and to think positively and all of that other really important stuff. Where most of these good people have failed their clients however is that they are very rarely ever good at explaining to you how to get there, and where to find the strength to do all of the stuff that they suggest.

So for me, I believe that my journey would have begun much more effectively if there had been someone to set my feet on the path at the beginning of the journey, and not somewhere further along where I had not yet developed the skills to show me HOW to learn from my failures and to achieve my goals. I would have benefited from the advice of someone who really understood that the problem starts with how you express yourself not only to others, but also to yourself, and that the path towards a more positive mind set really begins with the abandonment of the weasel words, and by embracing the power that comes from the use of a single positive word… Will. In the setting of a couple of small, easy to achieve and realistic goals in the beginning, and allowing the creation and attainment of goals to slowly snowball over time.

A positive mind set grows from a humble beginning, by making a choice to change one little thing in your life, and that is to swap out the weasel words and upgrade your thinking to embrace the use of will and when. It’s a choice that you make to give yourself the permission to believe in yourself and to realise that you no long need to wait for the unattainable “some day” to work towards your dreams, because your “Some Day” will always be “Today”.

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Take command of yourself

17 Feb

I sometimes find inspiration for my personal journey from some of the most unlikely sources. It’s not really all that often though that I’ll read a quote and have it go off like a gong in my head, recognising something profound about a matter that is totally unrelated to what the speaker of the quote meant it to mean.

Today I came across the following quote:

When you are in command, command.
– Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz

Nimitz was a 5-star admiral of the US Navy, and is kind of a big deal historically having been placed in command of the Pacific Fleet during World War II and the person who signed on behalf of the US when Japan formally surrendered at the end of the war. This quote in particular makes me think that Nimitz was probably the kind of guy who was practical and direct. He’s saying that when you are in charge, you need to take charge and not allow others around you the opportunity to question your mandate to do so. Failure to be in command of yourself and of your crew would lead to uncertainty and a lack of confidence in your ability to see things through.

I see this quote also as a very good way to look at yourself in terms of your personal health and fitness. Your body is your ship, and you are both its captain and its crew. As its captain, you need to take charge of your actions, and to be responsible for them no matter what the outcome. Failure to do so will only allow you to undermine your own self confidence and to needlessly fail to achieve your goals. When things turn bad and failure seems certain, a good sea captain will see the entire situation through and will take personal responsibility for the actions of every individual on board. Why should you treat your own health any differently?

So to elaborate on Nimitz’s point:

Only you are in responsible for your health and fitness. Take command of yourself.

Set some goals, take personal responsibility for them. Learn from your mistakes, and have the wherewithal to see your journey through to the very end.

Now you might ask me “If it’s so ‘easy’, how do you do this?”. Well, for that I’ll draw inspiration again from Nimitz who apparently kept a card on his desk with his 3 favourite rules of thumb printed on it:

  • Is the proposed operation likely to succeed?
  • What might be the consequences of failure?
  • Is it in the realm of practicability in terms of matériel and supplies?

When you choose to set a goal it needs to be specific and realistic. If you haven’t been out of bed for a year and you tell yourself that you will compete in a half-marathon the next day, ask yourself how likely you would be to succeed, and what the consequences of failure would be. The answer of course would be that you will be guaranteed to fail due to a lack of adequate preparation, and the consequence would be that you would probably see the failure as an excuse to avoid committing to another goal any time soon. Everything that we do has a consequence. Some consequences may be good while others may be less desirable. It’s up to you to decide for yourself what you are willing to allow as acceptable, and what you are willing to learn from both the failures and the success.

  • If you set an easy goal and you achieve it, have you learned to achieve something or have you simply given yourself the easy way out?
  • If you set yourself a difficult goal and you achieve it, did you encounter any problems along the way to learn from?
  • If you set a goal and you failed, did you choose to persevere? Did you choose to create a pathway of easier goals that could lead you to an eventual success? Did you simply give up?
  • Did you fail or succeed because you had or lacked access to certain foods, equipment, or expertise? Do you need these things? Can you do without or make alternative arrangements to help you to get closer to achieving your goals?
  • In all of these cases, what are the consequences. What do the successes and failures mean to you personally?

Is it easy to do all of this. Probably not, and nothing worth anything is ever easy. It can be more manageable however if you apply a practical rule of thumb to help you to gauge where to expend your energies and how important it is to you personally to do so. This really all comes back to taking command of yourself, making choices rather than simply having those choices made for you, and finding something deep within you that gives you the personal courage to see things through no matter where the journey will take you.

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