Am I starting on Monday because it’s in my best interest? Or am I starting on Monday because it is too uncomfortable to face my problems now?
Starting on Monday is a cop out. It is an excuse to stay the same. Starting on Monday is an extension of the All or Nothing mindset from my previous blog Why People Fail.
Starting on Monday implies that a “Fresh Start” is required to be successful. A fresh start meaning a perfect start.
The thought goes like this…
“I can’t start on a Thursday, the majority of the week has passed already and I ate like shit and I was lazy. I can’t start off on the wrong foot like that.”
“It’s too late for this week, I will need the weekend to recoup, plan and prepare.”
“I am so exhausted and overwhelmed, there is no way I’ll have the discipline to start now. By Monday I will be back on my A game, things will be settled at work, I will be well rested, and I will be ready to start!”
And don’t forget the ULTIMATE MONDAY…
“There is no way I am going to be able to stick to a diet plan through the holidays, I will start up with a new year's resolution on January 1st!”
…Just like last year…
The idea is, “If I could just get life to calm down a little bit I could really get this perfect! And if I can’t get it perfect, then why try for it at all?”
See how the only two options here are ALL or NOTHING?
ALL is great, but NOTHING is a shitty plan B to fall back on.
It is an ambitious idea and it comes from a good place. The desire for perfection is nothing to be ashamed of. But it may be a charade you are putting on for yourself to hide your true desire…Staying exactly the same.
How could the desire for perfection actually be the desire to stay the same in disguise?
I am Kevin. I have been overwhelmed with work and life’s responsibilities. I haven’t been sleeping enough, I have been working around the clock to keep my career, my marriage, my family, and the rest of my life all on track. I have been so overwhelmed that my diet has been atrocious and my fitness routine has been non-existent. If only I can get everything to go right I will be able to fit it all in and still have the time and energy to eat well and exercise. I just need my circumstances to go from being chaotic to calm. I need my life to go from unpredictable to predictable and then I will hit this plan out of the park. The problem is external, it is my life that is out of control, my circumstances are wildly unpredictable, and my schedule never seems to settle down. Once these external factors are in line I will be able to turn on cruise control, go to the gym, prep my meals, and sleep like a log. Once everything is in line and all is perfect I will be able to stick to my perfect plan 😁😁😁. Everything should fall in place by Monday…
The above logic sounds silly reading it like that. But when you are in the midst of the wildfire that is running a business, managing a household, and nurturing a marriage your mind has a funny way of convincing you that one day it will all fall into place…And when that magical day comes you will live the healthiest lifestyle in town!
But those external things don’t change. And we wouldn’t want them to! A Job that goes right everyday, a family that lives in Pleasantville, a life that has no ups and downs…It sounds nice, but it would drive you crazy faster than you think! I’m sure The Twilight Zone has done an episode that says it better than I can. Human beings thrive on being challenged. But for some reason we have all bought into the idea that the perfect easy going life is the American Dream and it exists just around the corner…perhaps on Monday.
It doesn’t exist, stop waiting for it.
Waiting for next week to bring smooth seas so that you can start being healthy is like waiting for all the lights to turn green before driving to your destination. You know you’re going to hit some red lights, but you start your drive anyway. Sometimes the lights are green and that is great, but you know you’ll have to overcome some red lights to get to where you’re going.
Creating a healthy lifestyle is the same way. Every now and then we will get some green lights. We get to work on time, we meet our deadlines with time to spare, the family is all on the same page, no one wakes up with the sniffles and threatens a 14 day quarantine. When the green lights come we need to realize they’re the exception, not the expectation. Enjoy the green lights, but expect the reds as well! One week your fridge stops working and all the meal prep you did goes bad. Another, you step in dog shit with your gym shoes and now you need to improvise. Next, the kids are sick and you need to play dr. instead of Mr. Fitness. This is inevitable. Perfect doesn’t exist. Your parents didn’t walk to school downhill both ways in beautiful 80 degree weather everyday, you won’t either. Since perfection doesn’t exist, let’s change what we are actually in control of.
So we’ve spent all of this time and energy waiting for the things out of our control to align and make things easy. And now we realize that it ain’t happening!
What are we in control of? What can we change? We can change ourselves. Our mindset. Our expectations. Our goals. Our Approach. Our beliefs. Our awareness. Our acceptance.
The only thing you can change is you. Life will always throw you a curveball whether it's a Monday, a Thursday, or a Holiday. The only time you’ll get what you expect is when you’re expecting the unexpected. So since life isn’t going to change come Monday, when can you change the way you interact with life? Right now. Whenever you’re reading this. If you’re reading this and think, “Ok, awesome! I love this new mindset. I’ll start thinking and acting that way on Monday!” then you’re not changing. You’re just waiting for change to be easy. It’s not. But it is immediate. You can decide right now in this moment that you are in charge of your fate, not the circumstances around you, but you. You may not be able to change much about your life immediately, but you can change the way you look at it and interact with it. Here is some help.
1 - Accept where you are right now. Health, work, relationships, finances, schedule, all of it. Accept it with no judgment. It’s the truth, if you try to deny it you’re falling back into avoidance and denial, just waiting for it all to fall in place for you. But you know it won't. So let's accept it and move on.
2 - Accept the fact that you have no control over what life will throw at you next. Trying to control everything around you is like running on a treadmill and expecting to end up across town. You are doing all the work but getting none of the desired outcome.
3 - Decide that GOOD ENOUGH IS GOOD ENOUGH. Since we can’t predict what circumstances we will face later today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, all we can do is accept that we will do our best with whatever comes our way and that will be enough! Since perfect doesn’t exist then the best I can do must be exactly enough to get me to where I am going.
Instead of fighting reality and convincing yourself that things should be easier and will be easier as soon as this storm passes, commit to a plan that can weather the storm! Hiding out waiting for the storm to pass is delaying any true change. Leaning into the storm and making the best decisions you can when you can is taking immediate action toward change.
Check out the difference below.
I forgot to bring my lunch to work, and everyone is ordering subs.
- All or Nothing - “I can’t believe I forgot my lunch; guess I'll try again tomorrow... I’ll have a sub, some chips, and a soda.”
- Good Enough is Good Enough - “I can’t believe I forgot my lunch, I’ll set a reminder for tomorrow. I’ll eat the contents of the sandwich and throw out the bread, no chips, and a water please.”
I wake up to a burst pipe and the downstairs is flooded.
- All or Nothing - “Why does this always happen to me? There goes my plans for the gym this morning. It’ll take me all week to get this figured out. I’ll worry about my health Monday when this settles down”
- Good Enough is Good Enough - “Why does this always happen to me? I’ll clean up what I can while the plumber is on the way. I’ll skip breakfast today, and I’ll go for a walk while the mold remediation people come to dry the place out. Maybe I’ll grill tonight for the family, or we can go out to eat, meat and veggies are the best I can do so I’ll look for that.”
I twisted my ankle walking the dog and the dr. wants me to stay off it for a week.
- All or Nothing - “Since I can’t workout I am just going to sit around all day and eat snacks to feel better.”
- Good Enough is Good Enough - “No cardio or legs this week so I am going to make sure I don’t overdo it on the calories. Until my ankle is better I am going to spend 20-30 minutes each day working on my arms and abs.”
These examples seem silly to even write because the Good Enough option is so obvious when we look at it from this perspective. But when you factor in the emotional rollercoaster that comes with unexpected setbacks the all or nothing approach is very enticing. As simple as these decisions seem to be, these exact situations are the type of thing to cause people to abandon ship and hold off on being healthy until Monday.
In a nutshell, waiting until Monday is an excuse to stay the same person. The person with no skill or fortitude to overcome the unplanned. The person who blames their environment for their own lack of commitment to their health. The person who has expected smooth sailing week after week and continues to get frazzled when the seas are rough. The person who has trouble facing the painful reality so they push it off until “Monday”.
The alternative is the action taker. This person understands it is their actions alone that they are in control of. They understand that circumstances are temporary and consistent actions in accordance with their health will overcome any circumstances. The person who expects to make tough decisions and is ok with the outcomes. The person who is not waiting till Monday to live their life, but instead lives life their way today regardless of what is in store.
Wait until Monday and you may succeed for an hour, a day, a week, or a month. But as soon as that curveball comes will you know what to do?
Take action now, and success is inevitable.
A HEALTHY decision today is better than a PERFECT decision Monday.
The healthiest people ARE NOT the ones with the smoothest seas.
The healthiest people ARE the most skilled sailors!
Don’t pray for smooth seas…take action and you will learn to stay afloat in the roughest seas.
Throw out the All or Nothing approach.
Good Enough is Good Enough!