Off The Hook

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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

I'm just going to come out and say it: I let myself off the hook all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.

Some examples:

I have intentions of trying a new workout or yoga teacher, but I quickly forfeit the effort and proceed with my usual routine. I know the Splenda that I drink every morning is artificial and terrible for me. I vow to give it up, but then I just don't love the way my tea tastes without it and I'm right back to it. I say I am going to eat healthy this week, but by Wednesday, I have a Pop Tart (strawberry frosted). I promise a friend or acquaintance that we will get together soon and forget to follow up. The list goes on and on.

I'm not full of shit. I'm really not. The idea of trying new things sounds lovely to me. Having a "chemical-free" diet is something that I know I should be prioritizing. I really do WANT to see that friend and spend quality time chatting and catching up. My intentions are good.

It's also important to note that I'm not flakey. In fact, I am the complete opposite. I am grounded, organized, and structured. I workout regularly. I eat a salad most days for lunch. I have very strong, close relationships in my life and my friendships are a priority to me. Just like everyone else, I am busy. I work part-time (mostly at nights on the weekends) and I have a husband who works full-time, so we cherish the nights and weekends when I am not at work. I also take care of my baby girl. I have sisters and nephews that live on opposite ends of the country that I make sure to stay connected to.  My grandmothers are in their 90s and require assistance, time, and energy. Again, the list goes on and on.

But what I've noticed is this: Due to a busy life and a bunch of little goals/intentions, I have made a habit of letting myself off the hook. I think it's for a few reasons.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. I can justify it.  "Life got in the way. If Splenda is my greatest vice, then so be it. My life is not my own anymore now that I'm a mom."

2. I'm not being completely honest with myself. Do I WANT to give up Splenda or do I think I SHOULD give up Splenda? How important is it to me, really?

3. I'm saying "YES" without thinking it through. If it sounds good, I'm in.  "Let's grab a drink." YES, FUN!  But if I hesitated more often with my "yes” then I'd probably find myself having greater integrity.

So, as you can see, I am making little promises to myself and then letting myself off the hook. Constantly. And this is the danger in it: it becomes a HABIT.

It's like showing up 5 minutes late.  You KNOW the people who are always 5 minutes late (by the way, I'm one of them [insert girl with hand on face emoji here]).  They aren't sometimes 5 minutes late. It's every time. An eventually, it just becomes who they are. It's in them. You expect it from them.  

If I am constantly letting myself off the hook with small things in my life, it becomes a habit. It becomes who I am. I will do the same thing over and over again, no matter what the task. And eventually, when I am really passionate about a larger goal, completing that goal will feel like I am lifting the entire universe, because my "completion muscle" is weak. I’ll figure out a way to let myself off the hook.

Having said that, in an effort to NOT let myself off of the hook, here is my declaration:  This is the first of many blog posts that you will see from me in the future. I am going to stay committed to my new website. I will continue to have new and exciting career goals that I will share with the world via this website and it will be a priority for me. I’ll also admit that making this declaration is both exhilarating and terrifying but I’m doing it anyhow. I’m going to get stronger in my follow-through in all areas of my life and this is where I’m starting.

Amy Schneider