This post follows on from our January Article about Goal Setting, which you can read here - "You know you're going to fail anyway, so why bother?"
"The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it" - Jordan Belfort
So, it’s March 2020, and all those New Year’s resolutions seem to be long forgotten and you’re back into the old, comfortable and familiar routine. Well, there’s always next year I guess, so long as Corona Virus doesn’t wipe us all out.
But don’t you want things to be different?
At some point in your life, you are going to have to stop making excuses, stop looking at the world around you and blaming everyone and everything else for the situations you find yourself in.
It is so easy to sit around and wallow in self-pity. It is so easy to find excuses why not to do things. It is far too easy to surround yourself with people that enable you to just stay in your lane and achieve mediocrity. After all, it makes those closest to you feel uncomfortable when you break from the pack and try to be better. It makes them feel uncomfortable and somehow inadequate.
We have so many conversations with people who find themselves in this limbo area, where they might not have depression, but they certainly show signs of being depressed, or at least flat. Others may not have anxiety, but they certainly let fear of failure or other fear based insecurities hold them back. In both instances, people are not willing to put in the work or set and stick to the goals that are required to put them in the best situation possible to actually make positive change.
When will everyone actually start to prioritise their own needs, wants and desires over a distorted perception of ability and expectation?
What is it they say when the masks drop on an aircraft? Fit your own mask before helping anyone else? There is a lot to take out of that analogy – if we don’t look after ourselves then there is no way we can look after anyone or anything else to our full capacity. Your kids, your partner, your business, none of it gets the best of you.
That is why YOUR goal should be to become a selfish prick!
Becoming a selfish prick doesn’t mean turning into a complete asshole by any stretch. It simply means making yourself your own priority and understanding what fills your cup.
We need to be filling our cups physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, personally and professionally. By consciously attending to all these things, we start to carve out a path to achieving mental wellness, and when we understand what keeps us mentally well, we become far better equipped to deal with things when the ground becomes shaky and the masks drop down.
The best way to become a selfish prick is to set goals that have your best interests at heart.
Physically – There is no perfect, but some form of exercise as part of a broader routine is good for the mind body and soul. If your goal is to get fit or just generally to lose weight, this will probably not work as it’s too broad. Make your goal to get outside for three walks a week. 45 minutes is all it takes and is not a long period of time in the scheme of things. Don't focus on the weight, or even the weight loss - focus on putting on those goddamn running shoes and getting your ass out the door.
Other things we need to be doing physically include getting our sleep right, improving our diets and going for regular medical check-ups (I know that might seem scary but it’s the old prevention is better than a cure approach).
Psychologically - Going and checking in with a mental health professional is great. If the thought of that scares you, then that means you’re ready. If you think you’ve got nothing to talk about, even better. Make an appointment with a councillor or a psychologist, rock up and see what happens. Do it as an exercise. You might even get something out of it. The worst possible outcome is that down the track, you end up having a conversation with a friend who is struggling, and you can confidently reassure them that seeking professional help is a good thing to do, from your own experience.
Other things we need to be doing psychologically include self-reflection, meditation (this is proven to work beyond doubt), something creative is great for the mind too (try writing, or even gardening is great).
Emotionally – When is the last time you had a proper belly laugh? Why or why not? Everyone loves to laugh. It just feels good. We need to do it more. Do activities that make you laugh a lot. Losing control when laughing is a great thing. You to let your guard down and let out a snort, it is contagious for everyone else around you and it’s healing for the body.
When is the last time you cried? Why/why not? Allowing yourself to cry is a healing process too. To many people try to muffle their crying when they are on the edge, when really, they should probably let it all out. Crying also brings out people's empathetic sides. Emotion evokes emotion from others. We don’t allow ourselves to experience this enough. This needs to become a goal for everyone.
Spiritually – Why do you think Aussie blokes love getting out into nature so much? Things like camping, fishing, four-wheel driving, standing around a camp-fire? Because time in nature allows us to reconnect with the world around us, and with ourselves. We are so often too caught up in our fast-paced lives, we forget that all we really need to do to survive is eat and find shelter. You won’t read about it in a 4x4 or a fishing magazine, nor will you hear too many blokes talk about it like this, but all those activities fulfil us on a deeper, spiritual level. Think of the way surfers talk about their connection to the ocean. It’s like that.
Other things that can fulfil us spiritually are music, both playing and listening, dancing, yoga or even practising forgiveness. The proof is in the pudding that all of this stuff makes us feel better. Make it a goal to implement this shit.
Personally – More people need to approach every situation in life with the mindset that they may not be the best at something, they may not be perfect the first time, and they will make mistakes, but we are always learning, growing and evolving. And we can always be getting better. Setting realistic goals can help with drive and motivation across so many levels. Want to buy a house? Great, set a budget. Don’t focus on the end goal, focus on the weekly process to get there. Want to learn about something that interests you? Awesome, jump on Amazon and buy a book about it for $15. Make it your goal to read the book by allowing 30 mins a day to read it. Feel like you’ve lost touch with friends? Pick up the phone and call. Organise a beer or see if they’re keen to get spiritual with you on a fishing trip *lol* These are all practical and achievable goals that are good for the soul.
Professionally – Make it you goal to take your full lunch break and do it outside the office. Get into this habit and stick to it. Eating lunch at your desk will not lead to better productivity. Also, you have sick days for a reason. If you’re feeling stressed, take a mental health day. Not only do this, but actually tell your boss that it was a mental health day. Don't make up some bullshit excuse as to why you took the day off, just do it. Maybe use it to go wet a line (but don’t post it all over social media), go see your GP for a check in or make that appointment with a psychologist. If your boss has any dramas, tell them to ring the TradeMutt boys. Just don’t pretend that you had the Flu. This will be counterproductive to what we’re trying to achieve here.
The only other thing I will say here, is if you’re not happy with your job, if you hate getting out of bed every day to go to work, do something about it. Only you can change things. Sometimes life is hard or situations can make it more difficult, but I can guarantee, there is never a perfect time to change things. Either do something about it or stop complaining.Collectively, we need to be better at prioritising ourselves. This is how we can best equip ourselves with the tools, resources and understanding we need to deal with life when shit happens. And that is what this is all about. Because the reality is, if shit hasn’t happened yet, it definitely will soon enough. When it does, wouldn’t you like to be able to manage yourself as best as possible?