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Letting Myself Off The Hook

This is the year I’m finally going to do it.

That’s been the mantra of every single year since I very first thought about self-improvement and had the smallest desire to make myself better.

Whether it’s losing weight, writing more, doing more community service, etc., every April I end up in a similar place. No closer to where I was in January and then all of the sudden it’s November.

NEXT YEAR is the year I’m finally going to do it.

I have a unique ability, a super power even, of living up to other’s expectations of me before my expectations of myself.

To put it more bluntly, I allow others to dictate my priorities. I allow outside forces to decide for me what’s important in my life and where I should put my energy.

I’m a people-pleaser by nature and really hate the idea of letting anyone down. I’ve read self-help book after self-help book about how to take control back without feeling like I’m letting down the people around me.

And after every book I put a new practice or system into place and one of two things happens:

  1. I go so far in the opposite direction that I come across as a dick who has more important things to do than meddle with the common-folk. I drive away people I really want to help.
  2. I revert back to my old ways immediately because telling people NO is just too damn anxiety-ridden.

I’ve yet to find a middle-of-the-road approach that helps people know that I’d like to help, but realistically due to constraints of both priorities and the Gregorian calendar, it’s not possible for me to say yes to their requests.

My Things Are The First Things To Go

Let me be clear. This is not a “woe is me!” blog post. I’m blessed in so many incredible ways and have immense gratitude for my life. But that doesn’t mean the way I spend my time is a reflection of what’s most important to me in this life.

I get a thrill out of helping people. Making a connection between colleagues or helping someone get past a technical hurdle gives me that endorphin hit that I imagine Alex Honnold gets every time he moves up another hold on a cliff face without plummeting to his death.

But I put me on the back burner every single time I say yes to free-soloing El Cap (or more realistically fixing a broken website).

And I’m also not talking about my responsibilities at my job or home either. I’m talking about literally everything outside of those times. There are so many extra things that I take on that put the things I say I want to accomplish at the back of the line.

But I’m getting older and hopefully a bit wiser and I’m spending more time looking inward than I really ever have.

And there are some things that are MY THINGS that I’m moving back to the front of the line.

Two Main Things in 2019

I have two goals in 2019 that I need to put out into the world so I can create some accountability from the internet and the people around me.

Both of these are things I’ll finish this year, before it’s November again and I miss my chance.

Can you help me follow through? I’ll tell you what they are and then you can decide. How hypocritical would it be of me to want to say No to more things and then subject you to a Yes without knowing the terms?

Anyway, in 2019 I will accomplish both of the following:

  • I will perform at an Open Mic at WiseGuys Comedy Club – I mean, I already created the menu item on my website where I’ll post the video, which I’d imagine is the hardest part, right?
  • I will get back under 300 pounds – Within the last seven years I’ve weighed as little as 260, which I know is still fat, but it’s a far cry from where I am currently. To hit the 300 mark I need to lose 6-7 pounds per month through December, which is extremely possible if I stay focused.

How will I Accomplish These Goals?

Step 1: I have to stop letting myself off the hook. It isn’t a negotiation anymore. If I get a request that’s going to keep me away from the gym or impede on my writing time for standup, the answer is no.

I’m capable of this. I decided when I was fourteen that I wouldn’t smoke or drink and I haven’t ever done either. And my cynical brain says “yeah you just replaced those two vices with tacos and soda” which is fair of my cynical brain (who is a real jerk), but I still know that if I’m determined enough, I have the mental fortitude to power through whatever challenge is in front of me.

Maybe I’ll link people to this blog post as an attempt to give some context for the struggle I face every day? It’ll probably be a case by case basis thing. The bottom line is I have to block the time out for these goals.

Step 2: I need to write every single day. It doesn’t need to be a lot, or anything terribly special, and it doesn’t need to be published; but it needs to be every day.

I know the funniest and most unique well I have to draw from is my personal experiences (I’ve had a pretty weird life in some ways), but I need to record them and hone them so I can turn them into something that will make people laugh for 3 minutes.

Step 3: Eliminate fast food. Exercise 3 times per week. Walk daily. I don’t need to elaborate on this really. When I stick to something this regimented and stay focused, I get results.

I simply can’t let laziness or the demands/requests of others get in the way anymore. I have to make internal peace with the fact that I’m not going to be able to help everyone with every request.

I’m also super optimistic and excited about both of these goals. And maybe being time-strapped will force me to be more creative so I can make better systems or tools for helping people that are asking me for similar things? Or maybe I’ll simply say no. I’ll have to see how all that goes as I get further down the road, but I gotta start with Step 1.

No more letting myself off the hook. Because this is the year I’m finally going to do it.