Why I Tell Myself NOT to Do Anything Scary

Too lazy to read? Scroll down and watch it on video. 

Two weeks before I was scheduled to step on stage for a bikini competition, I sat on my bed contemplating who the first person would be that I would tell I was backing out. I had been preparing for that contest for nearly four months. I spent hours in the gym and eating carefully measured meals out of tupperware. I had my bikini customized. I went tanning regularly. I practiced my posing routine daily. But I didn’t think I could do it. 

Before I made any calls, I sat on my bed and made a list. I thought of every reason I could why I couldn’t or shouldn't compete. I poured out everything I could think of that was making me unhappy that I could attribute to the competition. I don't look like I'm ready to step on stage. I'm lonely because my prep left no time for me to have a social life. I can't afford it. And so on and so on. 

At the end of the list, I went back to the beginning, and I thought of everything I could to negate each statement. It looked something like this: 

  • I’m not ready. I will never feel ready. My physique has improved from the last time I competed, and I have been preparing for this show for months. My coach would pull me out if he thought I wasn’t ready. I’m not perfect but I’m enough
  • I’m alone. I have the support of all of my friends, members at my gym, my coach, and people that followed my prep online. (I actually listed each of their names.) 

A few months ago, I really wanted to quit my job. So I did the same thing, because I was afraid to put in my notice. I knew that I would be sitting in my desk, telling myself to go in and talk to my boss, but I would make up a number of reasons not to do it. So the night before what I decided would be the big day, I made up all the reasons the night before. 

I sat at home, and I imagined myself at my desk at work the next day, and I came up with all of reasons I could imagine that my future self would use to wimp out. I don’t have enough money saved up. Work has been busy. There are things I do that no one else can do. We have special events coming up that I need to cover. 

I debated myself on each point, and I proved to myself that every excuse I could come up with was invalid. That way, when it came time to put in my notice the next day, I literally had no excuses. So I had to get up and do it. That list is the reason I'm coaching today. 

I’m curious how you go about making major decisions. Have you ever used a similar technique? Do you have one of your own? Let me know in the comments!

My unconventional technique for making major life decisions.