“I want to have some time to think or to plan, or to just take a day off,” Ron, a regional sales manager, recently told me.
“Can’t your assistant help take some of the workload off your shoulders?” I asked.
“Right now,” he responded, “I don’t have an assistant. Terri, my former assistant, left four months ago, and I haven’t had a chance to replace her,” he continued.
“Have you scheduled the time to search for a replacement?” I queried.
“Well, no,” came his reply.
I told Ron that he had just provided me with the perfect example of the distinction between wanting something to happen (a “WANT to”) and choosing to do something about it (a “CHOOSE to”).
“We WANT a lot of things,” I explained. “I want to learn a language. I want to exercise every day. I want to give more of my time to more of my favorite charities…”
“But until those things are on my calendar,” I continued, “It’s clear that I’m not CHOOSING to put them into my life.”
I explained to Ron that while he WANTED more time to think, plan, and play, he hadn’t yet CHOSEN to calendar the search for a new assistant.
“The ‘WANT to’ is there,” I told him, “But the ‘CHOOSE to’ isn’t.”
In the course of my life, I’ve talked with at least a hundred people who have been losing the same 20 pounds for nearly 20 years. I feel for them. There is no doubt they WANT to lose their extra weight, but for many, that want never seems to rise to the level of a powerful decision or choice to let nothing stand in their way. They join programs and then slowly work their way out of them. They monitor their food habits for weeks, but eventually stop. And they’re frustrated because nothing seems to work. Like Ron, they walk around unhappy and tell the story of how they can’t get what they want.
To be happy, they either need to choose to make what it is they want happen, or decide that it’s okay not to have it. If English is my only skilled language, I guess I could live with that. If the unsuccessful dieters can stop beating themselves up and just accept that they enjoy their lives at the weights they’re at, they will be happier! And if Ron could accept that he will never have time to think, nor plan, nor play, he might be happier, too…
Or…Ron can schedule time to recruit and train a new assistant, I can schedule language lessons, and those who want to shed tummy-pounds can find, start, and stick to a weight-loss program that’s right for them, once and for all.
It isn’t always easy, but it’s always up to you how firmly you’ll commit to attaining your goals. Sometimes, it’s as simple as taking the time to find expert help with the stuff that feels impossible. Want something to change? Choose to change it at all costs. Put it on your calendar. Enroll in a program. Seek advice. No matter how challenging, persist until you achieve it. Keep REACHING…