Will you outwork your addiction to misery?

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I have a friend who likes to complain.

He complains about his finances, his relationships and his work. Each time we talk it’s the same conversation,

“Yea, I really need to figure something out and make some changes.”

I can almost predict every word of our conversation before it takes place. What’s sad is that I can see the opportunities that are right in front of him, yet he continues to sit in his misery waiting for a change. I am not this person’s coach, I am just a friend who cares about him and really wants to see him live a kick-butt life! There isn’t really much to ‘figure out.’ He already knows what needs to be done.

Why he will never change

That’s a pessimistic outlook you say? Not really, here’s why.

I think he’s addicted to his misery and less than stellar situation. That’s it, plain and simple. He cannot imagine a future without his current pain. Sure, he will talk about how things will be different someday, but a first step is never taken. It has sadly become a situation where his current pain is not great enough to demand a change. He has created a habit of ‘misery’ by refusing to take action.

True change comes about when we really want something. I think about the people I know who say they want to quit smoking or lose weight. How many of them actually do it?

Seriously, how many of us actually get off our butts and take the necessary steps toward change?

I am guilty of it. I run my mouth from time to time and say I want to change something, but then I don’t lift a finger.  Why is that?

Because I view the change as more painful than the current crappy situation. 

I have a bit of a gut because the pain of changing what I eat is greater that the pain of holding on to my extra belly fat.

Maybe you have a lousy career because the pain or hassle of change is greater than the fact that you are allowing your gifts & talents to wither away as you walk through your work like a zombie.

How do we fix this?

Assuming we really want things to be different, how do we get off our tails and change?

1.  Promise to not moan about something that you really don’t plan on changing.

If you hate where you’re at, but deep down have no intention of outworking your addiction to misery, then don’t talk about changing it. Save yourself the added stress and guilt of not accomplishing the needed change.

2.  Hit one nail at a time.

how to set goalsImagine building a house. How much progress would you make it you tried to drive more than one nail in at once? Point here is that if you want to make a change, then commit to beating the crap out of one nail until it’s driven in…then, move on to the next.  Case in point: I have a business coaching client that was at the verge of disaster and about to close the doors of their twelve year old company. The owner put on her game face and focused on their overhead. The ‘overhead nail’ was hit, and hit, and hit until it was completely driven in. The pain of their situation was greater than the hassle of moving their shop. It was greater than the complaining she heard from staff about taking away certain perks. In short…she was willing to outwork the current misery ‘one nail at a time.’ The high overhead problem is now gone. Time for a new nail.

3.  Make a plan and do it.

I wish I had a secret for you, but not today.  Put your plan on a piece of paper, on the latest & greatest gadget or write it on a rock with a Sharpie…you need a plan and you need to work it. That’s the secret.

And when the plan gets derailed…you need to get back at it and keep fighting.

The real reason your life won’t be any better a year from now.

In a few days the new year will kick off and we will all make grand resolutions. Then, after a few weeks or maybe even a few months, we will stop making progress and then it will be back to business as usual. Then about this time next year many of us will feel insecure and guilty about what we didn’t accomplish.

The only reason your current misery will carry over another year is simple: You don’t want it.

If you want it, then you will be willing to sacrifice and be uncomfortable now.  If you want to hit a sales goal…then, you will need to put yourself out there and push yourself.  If you want to lose weight…then, you will need to know what it’s like to be hungry.  If you want something, then you will take the steps needed even when your tired, inconvenienced or afraid.  That’s what really wanting something looks like.

If your current misery is gone this time next year it will be due to an intentional, focused and relentless effort on your part.

Make a choice today to outwork the misery!