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Self-sabotaging behavior #1
In 2005, when I was 5 years behind to the IRS, I found myself wondering how I was going to change my life. I kept thinking, “I don’t have the time to work on my taxes.” I had way much to do and not enough time to do it the problem was, I was busy being busy. Do you ever feel like that?
This is one of the first areas I address with my private coaching clients and I think it’s a problem for most people today, at least in the USA. We take on way more than we should and aren’t saying “No” when we really don’t have the time. Most people lead overly-busy lives to the point of being so stressed out which can actually kill you. According to Stanford University 95% of all illness and disease is caused from stress. They said it’s not just the big things such as the death of a loved one, loss of a job, moving or financial problems, but the little every day stresses as well. It’s been proven that stress is the root cause of most deaths. One of the first things I look at when coaching people is how much they have going on in their life on a daily and weekly basis.
When you have too much on your plate, there isn’t enough time to do the really important things. How do I know? Because, it’s happened to me several times. Having too much on your plate is one of the worst bad habits you can have and is also the cause of many other bad habits. When you do this, you are expecting the impossible out of yourself, so you set yourself up for failure and something has to give. As a massage therapist I saw this over and over with my clients. Believe me it will take its toll on you sooner or later - I know this from personal experience because I have a tendency to take on way too much. I have to continually say “No” because when I don’t, my life starts getting messy again.
In 2005 my plate was so full that I needed to get a turkey platter! One of the first changes I made was to take things off my plate, because when I actually made a list of everything I did on a daily and weekly basis then looked at how much time I spent on each activity, I could see why I had problems. There was too much social activity, “retail” therapy, talking on the phone, watching TV and mindless internet surfing along with many other unnecessary activities. I was also busy volunteering to help everyone else in my life who I thought needed help and helping so-called “needy” people which sucked the life out of me.
I finally opened my eyes and saw that most of them really didn’t want to help themselves and I was actually enabling them. I was taking care of other people’s business instead of taking care of my needs and it was at my expense. I also realized that the reason I had so many “needy” people in my life was that I had the need to rescue. When I gave up my need to rescue people, then most of the “needy” people stopped showing up. Have you ever experienced this, personally?
After getting honest with myself, I knew that these things were keeping me from getting my taxes done and it was also costing me money I didn’t have. I would need all the money I could get to pay my CPA, Uncle Sam and getting out of debt. After all, I would not only have the actual taxes owed for each year, but there would be penalties and interest. It was a must to get my taxes done before the IRS sent me to prison for tax evasion. It was all too much.
Because I wanted a new life more than anything, I made a decision to cut out my social life for a while, shut off my cable TV service and stop everything else that I absolutely didn’t have to do until I got my life turned around. I would have to devote all my time to rebuilding my business and finishing my taxes. At this point I was mentally, physically and spiritually bankrupt so I was willing to do whatever it took.
The first thing I did was put my social life on hold for seven months. I told some of my friends what I was doing and didn’t care what they thought. At that point it wouldn’t have mattered because this was something I had to do for survival. You’re probably thinking, “Now wait a minute, there’s no way I’m going to give up my social life. I have to have fun.” No, I’m not telling you that you have to give up your social life at all, but consider this; If you’re not accomplishing what you want in life, look at how and where you’re spending your time. Remember I had to take drastic measures because my life was in such disarray and I was going down fast.
When you have too much on your plate these are some examples of how it can affect you;
1. Keeps you from working on what you want and accomplishing your goals because you’re spending time doing other things instead of focusing on what you really need and want to do.
2. Causes procrastination, not getting enough sleep in order to get things done which affects your health.
3. Not enough time to eat healthy so you pick up some fast food on the run which can lead to health issues and weight gain.
4. Not enough sleep which makes you irritable and tired, so you drink coffee or eat sugar to give you energy.
5. Not enough time to take care of yourself or have time to exercise which can lead to weight gain.
6. By the end of the day you are totally exhausted not to mention how this affects your mood and personality.
7. Not enough quality and intimate time with your spouse, partner or family.
8. Affects your relationships and friendships.
9. Affects your self-esteem and sets you up for failure.
10. It becomes all too much, is very stressful and can actually end up making you sick.
The list goes on and on - think about how much you have on your plate.
I used to think, “I have to do this and I need to do that.” The truth was, it was my choice to do what I did and I didn’t have my priorities in the right order. The fact is that most of us really don’t need or have to do a lot of what we actually do. Most of the time we just think we do and it’s a choice me make. A lot of things we do are what we want to do and not what we actually need or have to do.
Think about it - we don’t need to or have to socialize, go shopping, watch TV, always offering to help others when we really don’t have the time. We end up doing things out of obligation or we feel guilty if we say no. We also volunteer for every activity that comes our way, talk for long periods of time on the phone to family or friends, play video games, surf the internet or look at Facebook for hours. I’ve seen so many people sign their kids up for every sport or activity on the planet while they run themselves ragged. So much of the time we do some or all these things in excess which takes time away from the things that are most important which affects our sanity and health - what we do to ourselves is insane! Can you relate?
When you have too much on your plate it causes you to procrastinate because you flat don’t have the time to do the things you really need to do and sometimes, you’re just too tired. You tend to put it off until later and later usually never comes or if you finally get around to doing it, then you resent the heck out of having to do it. One reason we have too much on our plate is that we don’t know how to say no to others because we worry about what they will think about us and we feel guilty. If people put pressure on us and get upset, then they’re probably not our true friends. When we do this, we are the ones that suffer the consequences.
I’m all for being of service and helping people who truly need help because we all need help from time to time. However it isn’t a necessity to offer to help everyone you know who needs help with everything. This is one of the bad habits I had to change and still struggle with occasionally. Every time someone needed something for anything I would offer to help them even if I really didn’t have time. I finally realized that it’s okay to say no if they ask me to help and not to volunteer my help in the first place. I also found myself helping so called “needy” people. These are the ones who are always in crisis or constantly wanting help with something and they also will suck the life out of you.
I used to wonder why there were so many “needy” people in my life and then I realized that I had the “need” to rescue people. When I gave up that need, it was amazing how I stopped attracting “needy” people into my life. Can you relate?
Make a list of everything you have on your plate and the length of time you spend on each activity. What are you doing each day, each week and month? What are you saying “Yes” to? Include everything from the time you get up until you go to bed, even if it’s a once in a while thing. Include things like taking a shower, getting ready for work, talking on the phone socially to your family or friends, mindlessly surfing the internet, piddling around the house, cleaning, spending time on social media, Listening to multiple free “how to” courses etc. Seeing this in writing will really open your eyes and could be one reason you aren’t accomplishing some things. It will also show you some bad habits. This is one thing I have my coaching clients do that has been life-changing for them.
Start small; Figure out what activity you can do without and start with that one thing. After you have adjusted to that, take something else off your plate and keep going until you are down to what is workable. It probably won’t be comfortable at first, but you must get out of your comfort zone and not go back to what is familiar. Believe me, your mind and other people will try to convince you that you “should” be doing something else – stick to your guns on this. Once you get used to having less on your plate you will probably see how much better your life is and how much more you can accomplish. You will also see just how unproductive you have been and why it’s insanity!
What I realized by doing this was that I had more time than I thought I did. I really needed time to develop some good habits and work towards what was really important, but didn’t have the time because I had been wasting valuable time doing things that weren’t absolute necessary. This also kept me from accomplishing my goals and it was too stressful to add one more thing like a new habit even if it was a good one because I already had way too much on my plate. When my life starts getting messy, I usually have too much on my plate. Doing this was absolutely life-changing for me and I believe it can be for you too.
So what are you saying "Yes" to? “If you want to get different results, you must do something different.”