Make choices, not excuses!
“I wish I’d gone traveling more. I can’t, now I have Grandkids.”
“I would love to lose weight, but I look awful in lycra!”
“I wish I’d learned to knit, but I don’t have time”
We all do it. We talk ourselves out of things.
When I moved onto my boat (a wonderful blue widebeam narrowboat that has been my home for the last year and a half) I was really surprised at how many people said that they were going or wanted to live on a boat at some point. And the reasons why they didn’t. When I suggested that it is not too late, people generally felt that it was.
I know that not everyone wants to live on a boat. In fact, most people don’t want to, and some people are just being polite. Some people will say ‘Oh yeah, I looked at doing that’ to show interest and make conversation. But there were a few people who genuinely felt they wanted to live aboard but couldn’t. And their reasons were odd. ‘I couldn’t because work changed.’ ‘I had grandchildren.’ ‘And now I can’t because I’m too old.’
I don’t ever want to be too old to do the things that I want to do, but I know that I will get older. So I am doing what I can, now.
I have never traveled out of Europe. I would like to, one day. But it is not practical at the moment. I could take a loan and book a ticket to Laos to leave straight away. I am choosing not to. I would rather be able to pay for it upfront. I want to work on my writing at the moment. And I don’t fancy Laos, right now! My choice — not life dictating to me. If I never make it to Laos, I will have chosen not to go.
I couldn’t live on the boat when I had little children. I had to wait until they were older.
Actually — I could have done if I chose. It would have been hard in some ways. I would’ve had to be moored near a school and not move the boat very far during term time, but I could have done it. The kids would have probably loved it!
I chose not to.
I brought my children up in a house. Not because I had to, but because I chose to.
The other thing people sometimes say to me is ‘We can’t all just float about on a boat. We have jobs and responsibilities’. So do I. But we also all have choices.
I made a choice to stop a job in pet care and start a career writing. It meant I’ve had to work quite hard and some odd hours. It was my choice and I am happy with it.
I made a choice not to travel around the canal system. It is not the right time for me. I am choosing not to. I might rethink that choice in the future. Choices are like that. They are not forever.
At the moment I am choosing to look after my health. I am working in a coffee shop, where I have eaten a bowl of soup for my lunch. I have chosen not to have a cake. I am aware that I may rethink that decision in an hour or two. It depends on which is most important to me; cake or health.
The human mind is like an over-clever computer. Everything can be reduced down to a boolean decision. True/false. Yes/No. On/Off. But we overcomplicate the decision and convince ourselves that we are trapped.
Let’s test my theory with some examples.
I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Decision 1: It will cost a lot. Do I want to spend that much money on it? Yes/ No.
Decision 2: I will have to train for ages. Would I rather spend my time training than watching TV? Yes/No.
I make the decision not to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I want to spend my money elsewhere and watch TV!
I want to walk 10,000 steps each day.
Decision 1: It is raining. Is it more important to walk than to stay dry? Yes/No.
Decision 2: I have to leave earlier to have time to walk. Do I want to leave earlier so I can walk? Yes/No.
I decide I would rather walk. That is more important to me and is my choice.
Inertia is the killer to activity. And apathy is the feeder of inertia.
We don’t do things because we can’t be bothered. And we tell ourselves that we couldn’t do things. We had no choice. It was the situation.
Then we don’t want to do things because we feel comfortable and the effort involved in changing things seems too much. This backs up the feeling that we can’t do things.
So we tell ourselves that we can’t do things. Because of XYZ. As if we were victims with no choice.
It isn’t true. We make choices. Then we make actions. Or we chose not to act. Either way, it is our own choice.
No room for apathy!