Friday, May 8, 2009

Your Pants Are On Fire

I was looking back through some old articles I've written over the years and came across one that was published in P.O.W.E.R. Magazine last year. When it first came out, my mother vowed to stop talking to me if I was going to keep putting our conversations on blast!

Well, I've decided to post a modified version of the article here (especially since the weather is once again warming up). Sorry, mom. You know I love ya!!

Are You A Liar?

When the weather warmed up in the DC area, my mom and I took the opportunity to walk in the evenings to get some exercise. She told me she had also been walking at lunch at a mall near her job, so walking with me would double her exercise for the day. After about 10 minutes of brisk walking that first evening, my mom wanted to slow down and catch her breath.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"Yes", she said. "I just need to get back in the groove."

"I thought you said you've been walking the mall at lunch?"

"I have."

"It just seems to me that if you've been walking for about an hour almost daily, you wouldn't be so winded now."

"Well," she said, searching for the right words. "I have been walking, but I might stop into a store or look at what's new in the windows."

"Oh," I said, "So you haven't been walking, you've been shopping."

At this point, I could see her eyes start to roll heavenward and she gave me the "don't try that life coaching stuff with me" look. But that didn't stop me from pointing out that walking for exercise and shopping were two very different things.

"Mom, if you've been telling yourself that you've been exercising at lunch, you've been lying to yourself."

As we continued to walk, I began to wonder what other lies lurk in her life – and mine. Which naturally leads me to ask you: Are You a Liar?

The question seems simple enough, and your knee jerk answer may be a resounding “NO!” But I encourage you to take a minute and really think about whether you fall into this category.

Do you tell yourself you're paying off your debt, but continue to eat out and make unnecessary purchases (magazines, shoes, lunch, vacations)?

Do you tell yourself you're getting healthy, but continue to skip exercising and eat the wrong foods?

Do you tell yourself you deserve a promotion, but rarely get to work on time, miss deadlines, and have the "when they give me (more money, bigger office, more help), I'll work harder" attitude.

Do you tell yourself you're raising children of integrity, yet you fail to keep your own word?

Do you tell yourself you’re going to stay away from negative people and those that drain your energy, yet you can’t seem to break away?

It’s so easy to see the hypocrisy in others, while rationalizing our own behavior. If you’ve realized you are liar, take comfort. You are not alone! Here are some steps you can take to become open and honest – with yourself.

Step 1: Keep Quiet

You’ve heard the saying “All Talk, No Action”. Don’t allow yourself to remain in that category any longer. The fastest way to do that is to simply stop talking. Until you have mapped out a doable plan and are ready to take tangible steps towards your declarations, keep them to yourself. While it’s perfectly okay to share a goal with someone who will support and encourage you, there is no need to shout from the rooftop all that you plan to do. Let your actions be your loudest words. Besides, the people you keep talking to about what you are going to do don't believe you anyway!!

Step 2: Be Realistic

Set goals for yourself big enough to have a positive impact on your life, but break them down into smaller goals. For example, if you want to pay off your debt, choose one credit card and focus on putting all your extra money toward it. Once that balance is zero, you can move on to the next debt. You know I'm all for playing big - but every huge success begins with a small step.

Step 3: Focus on the Rewards

Don’t just focus on the “what”, focus on the “why”. The things that keep me going when I want to give up is imagining the way I'll feel and the impact I will have when the goal is met. The rewards of what you do make the process that much easier. I want to give up on running my half marathon almost daily, but the roar of the crowd cheering me on as I cross the finish line (and the look of pride I know I'll see on my husband's face) is what keeps me putting one foot in front of the other!

Holding a mirror up to ourselves and taking a closer look at who we really are is never easy. However, if you are brave enough to face the truth, you are well on your way to achieving your goals.

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