What's Stopping You?

Is there an area of your life or business where you just can’t seem to get a grip? You try and try, but can never seem to fix it.

I was thinking about this recently over something that’s been plaguing and frustrating me on a daily basis for quite some time — not consistently sticking with an exercise routine, and I started wondering if there was something more to it.

The fact that I don’t exercise more bugs me all the time. “You need to exercise,” or some variation of it, crosses my mind a minimum of ten times a day. That’s ridiculous. The energy, attention, and time I spend on simply thinking about exercising is far greater than what it would take to simply stop everything and actually do it, so what’s the problem? The answer: Something is controlling me. In my case, it’s a schedule.

I feel a constant pull to conform to someone else’s idea of when I should work and what times things should happen: What time to wake up, eat, work out, run errands, go to bed, etc. It’s silly, but true. A schedule (or really some crazy idea I have of what constitutes a “normal” schedule) is controlling me and making me not live the way I want to live. It doesn’t matter that I might function better and be more productive and content following an altogether different routine than everyone else on the planet. No, I’d rather struggle to do things the way everyone else does. I’d rather see how many ways and how many times a square peg will not fit into a round hole.

Why is that I can commit to forging my own path in every other area of my life, but struggle with this one? I think it’s because it’s so easy to become controlled and not live or work the way we really want to live or work. Think about it. Maybe you’ve wanted for many years to:

  • Write a book,
  • Become a runner,
  • Get up early,
  • Get in shape, or
  • Build a thriving business.

But, why haven’t you? What’s stopping you from doing what you want to do?

  • Maybe you long to be a writer, but hate the thought of having your work criticized. The critics are controlling you.
  • Maybe you wish that you could get into better shape, but can never seem to find the time or routine to make it work. A schedule is controlling you.
  • Maybe you want to build a thriving business, but can’t imagine putting yourself out there and promoting yourself or your business. Your fear is controlling you.
  • Maybe you need to hire an assistant or a coach, but hate to have to turn to someone else for help. Your pride is controlling you.
  • Maybe you’d love to get up early, watch the sunrise over coffee, and enjoy some quiet time to yourself before starting yet another busy day, but have never been able to stick with going to bed and getting up early. Your laziness, indifference or complacency is controlling you.

If there’s something in your life or business that you want to do, something that you know would make all the difference in your productivity or contentment, think hard and honestly when answering, “Why am I not doing it?” Are circumstances, other people, your attitude, your complacency, or anything else controlling you?

Once you know (and perhaps admit) that something is, in fact, controlling you, what are you going to do about it? How will you take back your power?

Sometimes simply being aware of something can change the way you approach it. Just having the knowledge that I’m allowing some arbitrary definition of a “normal” schedule control how I live and work makes me reevaluate how I spend my days and, at the very least, question my motives for doing things a certain way.

In the past, what’s stopped you from doing things the way you wanted to do them in life and business, and how did you find a way to overcome them?

Photo by Flickr user seantoyer, licensed under CC 2.0

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