“Stop Apologizing”

Surely by now, you all know that I am a complete book nerd. Thriftbooks.com probably considers me one of their top customers! However, I am also a bit of a book snob. Although I will read just about anything, some books I read once and that’s it – I donate them after I’ve read them and move on. Others I keep with the intention of revisiting them when the time seems right. One of the books that I’ve recently revisited is a book by Rachel Hollis called “Girl, Stop Apologizing”. This is a beautiful book that everyone should read – (not just women). The way this woman approaches life and struggles is amazing. Her absolute vulnerability is refreshing. There’s so much of her narrative that can be applied to what we talk about with weight management – so I’ve grabbed some of the really powerful stuff and organized it into a cliff notes version to see if any of you can use it deep down inside…

Dreams are things you hope for, for your life – but a dream and a goal are two different things entirely.  A goal is a dream with work boots on.  A goal is a dream you’ve decided to make real.  A goal is a destination you’re working toward instead of an idea you’re only considering or hoping for.  Finding your goal takes some soul-searching and some clarity.  You have to know where you’re going and you have to know your why.  For those of you who start and stop, start and stop, start and stop, if you’ve gone off your resolution fifty times before, it’s because your why wasn’t strong enough.

The journey starts with the goal.  It starts with finding the direction you want to go in and then figuring out how to build the habits that will get you there.  But the goal is just a thought.  A powerful thought – but a thought. You’re never going to get to the place where you become good or better or best until you put your shoes on the starting blocks.  Turning the goal into a process is what takes you from A to B.  

Don’t be afraid of failure.  Be afraid of never achieving anything at all because you were too afraid of what others might think of you for trying.  If you aim at what you can hit, you’ll likely get there every time:  never any higher, never any bigger, never any better.  But if you aim far above your own head, even when you fail you’ll fly so much higher than you can imagine. Fear of failure stops so many people from trying to achieve their goals.  What happens too often is that you subconsciously decide that you’re going to fail before you even attempt to succeed.  You haven’t yet achieved the things you hope for, and so you decide that you’re unable to.  

This isn’t a question of whether you can do something well, because nearly anything can be learned; this is a question of whether you’re humble enough to suck for as long as it takes you to become better.  When you fall down while trying to learn to walk as a toddler, you don’t stay down.  You get right back up and try again.  We fail and slip up and screw up and fall down over and over again in our youth and yet we keep on going.  

And the world around you isn’t there to help you and support you.  The world around you is there to help itself.  Wellness and weight loss is a lucrative industry.  Americans spend over $33 billion each year trying to capture this elusive concept.  And here’s something to keep in mind – if brands and media and the news can confuse you, they can sell you more stuff.  This attitude of flitting from one possible solution to another like a drunk butterfly shows up in every single kind of consumer good.  Is it any wonder that you’re trying to achieve your answer, your goal, by trying something for a little while, then giving up when it doesn’t work and trying something else?  Is it any wonder you’re not making the headway you want to make?

There’s a great Chinese proverb that says, “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The second-best time is now.”  You can keep talking yourself out of the thing you’re hoping for, or you can decide that your goal is more powerful than your excuse.  

The equation for change in any capacity is always very simple.  For example, it’s so simple to lose weight.  It is so simple to get in shape.  It’s so simple to save money.  It’s all very, very simple, but it’s not easy.  It’s not quick.  It’s not a reward that you’re going to get immediately.  You usually have to choose a harder thing where the reward comes later.  The problem with most things in life is that the activity you want to do – the bad habit- offers a quicker reward than the thing that’s better for you.  

You have to change your habits.  You have to change your behaviors.  Your behaviors are the way you act day in and day out.  Your behaviors are your habits.  They manifest in the actions you take, the words you say, and the way you live your life.  What is most important to understand about your behaviors is that they are a choice.  

These are some of the most common excuses for not practicing healthy behaviors and habits and how Rachel addresses them:

“I don’t have time”  –  You aren’t going to find time to pursue your goals; you’re going to make time to pursue your goals.  No matter where you are or which season of life you’re in, there’s a solid chance that you struggle to find time.  The first thing you’re going to need to accept is that you are in control of your schedule.  Fact, there isn’t one thing in your life or your calendar right now that you didn’t allow to be there.  Being overscheduled?  That’s on you.  Not finding time to feed yourself?  You.  Spending two hours a night watching TV or scrolling instagram as a way to relax?  Also your choice.  If I want to achieve any new thing in my life, the question is never, Can I do it?  The question is always, what am I willing to give up in order to get it?  Make a timeline of your current week.  Once you’ve recorded an entire week, figure out where you have the time to add five hours a week to work on your goal.  These five hours are what’s in between you and something great, and if you can’t commit the time in your schedule to becoming the person that you want to be, what are we even doing here?  It’s not enough to simply make time for the hours; you have to also schedule them for when you’ve got the mental capacity to do them well.

“I’m not a goal-oriented person” – You’re missing a word in the sentence.  You’re not a goal-oriented person YET.  This is a choice.  To become a goal-oriented person, you have to have focus and be productive enough to get closer to where you want to go.  Those are not personality traits.  They are just habits.  If you don’t already have them, it’s only because you haven’t developed them yet.  Not because they’ll never be yours.

“I’ve made too many poor choices to turn around now” – Stop beating yourself up for being on the beginning side of yet, no matter what age you are.  Yet is your potential.  Yet is a promise.  Yet is what keeps you moving forward.  Yet is a gift, and you are enough to get to the other side of it.  Stop comparing your beginning with any else’s middle. You are enough.  Today.  As you are.   You believe that what happened in the past is who you are.  That’s BS.  Who you are is defined by the next decision you make, not the last one.

“I’m too stressed”  – The issue isn’t stress; the issue is the activity you are unconsciously choosing once the stress has been cued.  You can’t change that life is going to happen and that there are going to be times when you are going to feel scared or sad or anxious.  What you can change, however, is the action you choose to take in response to that cue.

We have to look at the big picture.  The problem most of the time is that you’re letting a short-term choice become your long-term decision. This is not just a thing you do.  This is who you are now.  Forever and ever, amen.  Embrace it.  Love the pursuit and openly celebrate who you become along the journey.  Personal goals are infinite…  and addictive.  Once you achieve one it makes you start to wonder what else you might be capable of.  Be the kind of person both your eleven-year-old self and your ninety-year-old self would be proud of.  Be the kind of person who shows up for her life.  You’ve got a zero-percent chance of being the person you want to be if you’re not intentional about it. 

Hope you enjoyed all of the Rachel’isms

Until next time….

Courtney Younglove, M.D.

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