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Do You Need To Tell Yourself To Stop Fucking Around?

I’ve spent a lot of my life fucking around.

Thinking about all the things I wanted to do or achieve.

Planning things out.

Talking about all my wild ideas and aspirations.

And you know how far that got me?

Fucking nowhere.

Because I wasn’t doing anything.

I wasn’t focused.

I wasn’t disciplined.

And most importantly I wasn’t taking action.

Spending most of my time dreaming about the life I wanted.

But not actually trying to live it.

I remember telling my manager at the pub I worked at that I was going to try yoga because I thought it would help with my flexibility.

My body was about as flexible as a brick.

And 5 years later I finally did my first yoga class.

And that was the story of my life for a very long time.

Ideas.

Plans.

Dreams.

And fuck all action.

NOT LEARNING A LESSON

You see I was pretty lazy throughout my teens and most of my twenties.

And it was only when I was sitting in a van at 27 that the penny finally dropped.

But before then I’d actually taught myself a lesson that I chose to ignore.

At 18 I was told I wasn’t going to get the grades I needed to get to my first choice university.

I was averaging B’s and C’s and achieving them without much effort.

Relying on my natural ability to get me through school. Coasting for years and being happy with achieving what I could without trying.

And yeah my results weren’t bad. I know a lot of people would be happy with B’s and C’s.

But approaching it with the mindset of doing the bare minimum to get through school was a pretty shit attitude to have.

Not because I feel getting good grades at school is the be all and end all.

But because I was wasting my potential to see what I was capable of doing. To put it bluntly I was fucking lazy.

And this permeated in to every aspect of my life.

It wasn’t just school I was half arsing.

It was my entire life.

So back to my story about grades…

So when my teachers predicted what my final grades would be, I was going to fall short of what I would need to achieve in my final school exams to get to my first choice university.

It was likely that I would end up with a B and two C’s rather than the A and two B’s I needed.

So as I entered the study period for my exams I had a choice.

I could either carry on coasting and end up in a place I didn’t want to go.

Or I could get my shit together, stop fucking around and do my best to get to the university that I wanted to go to.

But would 8 weeks be enough…

THE FIRST TIME I STOPPED FUCKING AROUND

So school finished and we went on exam leave.

I now had 8 weeks before exams started, so I sat down and made a plan.

I had every day mapped out for 8 weeks. Planning my study time around all my favourite TV shows.

I was a bit of TV addict.

And I locked myself in my room for 8 hours of solid study time each day.

And for every minute I planned to study for, I studied. No fucking around.

And for the fist time in my life I was disciplined and stuck to a plan.

There was going to be no room for regret.

Results Day

So when results day arrived a few months later, I nervously opened the results envelope.

And a massive smile swept my face. I’d achieved the results I needed to, to get to my first choice university.

I even ended up getting 92% for one subject that just a few months before my teacher was telling me that I’d be lucky to get above 60%.

Now I don’t say that to be some sort of show off.

Though I am pretty proud of that achievement.

But rather to illustrate a point of how much I was leaving in the tank because I’d been coasting.

And that if I bothered to put in some effort I was capable of far more than I was allowing myself.

Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar in your life?

Perhaps you’ve had a moment, or many moments, in your life when you know you haven’t put in enough effort?

Moments when you know you could have given more of yourself but didn’t?

And now you have that horrible feeling of regret.

Of disappointment

Of frustration.

Knowing that if you’d just put in some effort you’d be in the place that you wanted to be in.

And if you’re anything like I used to be, those feelings can sit with you for a very long time and that negative behaviour pattern can continue to dominate your life.

SUCCESS BUT NO CHANGE

But unfortunately it didn’t serve as the wake up call for me to get my shit together.

Not the first time I didn’t listen to a wake up call.

And for the next 10 years I went back to coasting through my life.

But when I did my first 10 day silent meditation retreat. Things finally started to click.

10 DAYS OF SILENCE CHANGED EVERYTHING

And just like my final school exams. I approached my first 10 day silent meditation retreat with the same attitude.

I would be there for 10 days and I was going to get the most I could out of the experience.

And just like with my exams, it took my life in the direction that I wanted it to go. Except this time I learnt the lesson.

That if I wanted to get where I wanted to in life I needed to apply effort. Albeit it took six months for this lesson to kick in.

STOP FUCKING AROUND

It’s taken time and consistent effort to change myself from a dreamer to a dream-maker.

From a planner to a do-er.

From aspiring to acheiving.

And it’s a path I’m still doing my best to stay on.

But there’s still the internal battles I have to face from time to time.

Obstacles I have to overcome.

Procrastination.

Fear.

Laziness.

Insecurity.

Doubt.

But if I want to get where I want to in life I need to put in effort.

Overcome the obstacles.

And take action.

To just stop fucking around.

sTOP FUCKING AROUND THE RIGHT WAY

While I want to push myself.

To see what I’m capable of.

To fulfil my potential.

I’m always conscious of doing it in the right way by not beating myself up or judging myself.

That’s just fuel for the inner critic.

Because approaching yourself with that sort of internal attitude is going to do more harm than good. I know because I took that approach for years.

In my view it’s about pushing yourself to see what you can do, but being OK if you don’t achieve it.

Being OK if you fail or you make mistakes.

It’s the balanced approach where you push yourself with compassion.

PUSHING YOURSELF TO THE NEXT LEVEL

So when I do want to go that extra mile, to take myself to the next level, I use the mantra of, ‘I’m not fucking around’.

It’s like a click of the fingers in my mind where I say to myself ‘Come on Joe. Let’s do this’.

It’s aggression but in a healthy way. A moment where I jolt myself internally to get me focused and moving towards the place I want to get to.

I got the idea from an Instagram post I read years ago, but I can’t remember who said it.

And since reading it the mantra has stuck in my head.

So if you feel stuck and you want a jolt to propel yourself forward. Try using these words to take you to the next level so you can tell yourself to stop fucking around.

Monday. I’m not fucking around!

Tuesday. I’m not fucking around!

Wednesday. I’m not fucking around!

Thursday. I’m not fucking around!

Friday. I’m not fucking around!

Saturday. I’m not fucking around!

Sunday. I’m not fucking around!

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