I Need to ……..
How often do we say these words to ourselves every day?
I need to go on a diet, I need to give up smoking, I need to cut down alcohol, I need to go to the gym more, I need to stop spending money, I need to exercise more.
From the big life changes to the little things, I need to go shopping, I need to clean the house, I need to telephone a friend.
All heavily laden with guilt that we failed once again to do any of these things.
And on and on our minds go, talking to us, telling us all the things that we need to do, and we sit there taking on board everything and nod knowingly without argument that yes, we need to do all of these things while getting more and more depressed at every need we have failed to manifest – again.
You were probably saying the same things to yourself last January and the January 5 years before and you may even still be saying them in 5 years’ time, but you know what?
You do not need to do anything you do not want to do
What you do in life is your choice. When you were born you were not handed a contract to sign:
“I promise that I will never be fat, never eat too much chocolate and never have to buy clothes larger than a size 10. I will never smoke, do drugs, or drink alcohol. I will not throw away money on gambling or buying too many clothes that I will never wear. I will go to the gym every day before work and go for a run after work.”
So, when the thought comes to you that you need to ………. Who is telling you that you need to? Have a look around, there is no-one there, it is only you. It is only you beating yourself up again.
What if just for a moment you could see yourself through the eyes of a friend or someone you know who loves you? What would they say to you?
I am not saying that carrying too much fat, smoking and drinking are good things but if we want to change we have to want to change for all the right reasons, for reasons we have thought through and agreed that yes, we want to give up smoking because it is taking more than it is giving. Perhaps you have a cough, you get breathless when you walk, it is costing too much money and you have decided that you want to get fit and healthy. We have two choices either we getter sicker or we get healthier and have more money to spend on other things. We make a choice because we WANT to do it not because as we got out of bed that morning a little voice inside our head said, you need to give up smoking and every time you light up a cigarette it is there to remind you of your ongoing failure.
It all makes a difference to how easy or difficult it is to change our lives. When you are forced to do something because you need to do it, or you do something because you want to do it. It happens in the world of work all the time. You are giving a job to do that you dislike and feel uncomfortable with, but you need to do it or you will lose your job, or alternatively you volunteer to do a job to help out in the office or to help your colleagues because you want to do it. Notice the difference in how it makes you feel.
You will never kick a bad habit or develop a healthy one if you keep telling yourself everyday that you need to do it. How many times a day do you tell yourself you need to do something and when you give in and have that piece of chocolate cake, glass wine or cigarette, how do you feel?
If you would like to stop beating yourself up for not being perfect, then start by noticing when you hear the thought “I need to …….” And send it away because you do not need to.
Then ask yourself is this something I want to do. If it is, then make a list of all the reasons why you want to do this and the reasons why you may not want to do this. If the reasons you want to do it is strong enough then you will do it. You will do it because you want to and not because of some mindless throw away thought inside your head was nagging you …….. again.