“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
This is such a great quote. I think we can all admit we have done things that we might not be too proud of when we think no one is looking. Aren’t all the great quotes the ones that demand a little more from us?
Character, like our minds and bodies, is a product of our experiences, decisions, and actions. What you are today is the resulting combination of these things. If you want to look at where people have the most difficulty in character development, look no further than online marketing ads.
Ads with the new magic weight-loss pill, the pill that will help you perform sexually, the pill that will add 20 pounds to your biceps and all the rest. Applications that will help you invest better, live longer, be happier.
Why do you think New Year’s Eve resolutions fail? The things we want are hard to achieve. They require us to be disciplined. They require us to stretch beyond our current capabilities. More importantly, they require us to commit, even when no one else is looking.
A buddy of mine approached me about exercise and losing weight a while back. Like most, he jumped right in with both feet. Then, after a week, he admitted he stopped exercising. He also admitted that he had 4 pizzas, two boxes of Cheese-Its, two bags of potato chips, and a family-sized bag of Fritos—in one weekend!
This is why you can only provide advice to people when they ask and let them do with the advice what they will. This is why you can’t compel anyone to do what they should want to do themselves. This is also why, YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE “WHY” behind your motivation to do something, whether it is to lose weight, exercise, eat right, meditate, write, or whatever.
I don’t care what goal you set for yourself. You will have a real challenge getting to the finish line if you do not know you’re own personal “why”. The “why” cannot come from outside of you. The goal must be yours and yours alone and you have to know why you want it.
I worked out with my brother for a few months a few years ago. The same result. He wanted to feel better, get into better shape, but he did not want to pay the price as badly as I did. He is eating better and avoiding foods his body knows aren’t good for him, but his exercise routine is drastically different than mine. That’s ok. He found the sweet spot for his personal exercise plan. The key is this exercise plan works for him and satisfies his “why”. His “why” was to just feel better and it is working.
If you really understand your “why” and you’re not lying to yourself, you will achieve anything you want. You’ll be willing to pay the price. Your “why” will be stronger than any price you have to pay. You will succeed. You won’t cheat on your diet, you won’t eat foods that are unhealthy or off your diet plan, you’ll do the exercise deliberately, and you won’t miss exercise days. You will be true to yourself because you have a compelling reason to do the work.
If you don’t have a “why” for a goal you are pursuing, put it aside for a while. Don’t torture yourself. Admit that you are not willing to pay the price it requires and feel good about that decision. You can always pursue it later. It is better to do this than attempt to do something you are not truly motivated to do. You’ll feel bad when you fail, you’ll beat yourself up, and you will still fail to accomplish what you set out to do. Leave it alone. If it’s important to you, you’ll discover your “why” and execute. If you don’t, that’s ok. Pursue another goal—a goal you really have a drive and the ability to complete. You’ll feel great and may be in a position to return to a previous “dream” and make it a reality.
I wish all of you the very best in achieving your dreams, whatever they may be.
Until next time…