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You’ve wondered, right?

You thought setting and achieving big goals would make you feel better, happier. If we’re being honest, maybe even a little invincible.

There’s more to it though. Behind the thrill of setting big goals is also a little anxiety. You don’t talk about it much, but there’s that nagging voice. What will people think of you if you fail? What will you think of yourself?

It’s exactly that fear that keeps you head down and focused. You want to land that dream job. You want to finally pay off your debt. You want to lose fifteen pounds so you aren’t embarrassed to wear shorts in the summer.

You worry that any distraction, interruption, or lack of discipline is going to send those goals down the drain, never to be seen again–and your chance at a better life will disappear with them.

So you turn down invitations, but stay up late. You eat junk food to get you through the days you feel worn down. You’re crushed by all the things you feel need to be done that just aren’t making your list.

At some point, you might stop and wonder: is it worth it?

Congratulations. That’s the first step.

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Maybe it was because an awful lot of family members died before I’d even graduated from college.

Or maybe I believed my anxiety was really some sort of sixth sense.

But I always suspected I would die young.

So when my doctor asked me to schedule a follow-up in person right away, I knew my test results must have been fairly serious. I felt both scared and vindicated.

Prior to that appointment, I would have rated my health as outstanding. I rarely get colds, I’m moderately active (thanks to not having a car), and I sleep and eat pretty well. There were no obvious signs that my health was suffering.

So what was I doing at the doctor’s office in the first place?

I had just interviewed a rising star in the field of bioengineering for my book on overachievers. Over the course of that interview, he told me some pretty shocking things.

He admitted he hadn’t been to the dentist in six years. And although he’d been quite the athlete in school, he hadn’t been to the gym in years either. Instead, he found himself in the emergency room for extreme exhaustion and anxiety.

Then came the real jaw-dropper: he’d scheduled our interview for the day after his wedding.

It would have been easy to judge his actions and think, “Whoa. That’s intense. And nuts.” But instead, I chose to do something far more productive.

I asked myself if my own level of self-care was where it should be.

And of course it wasn’t. Yours probably isn’t either.

So why is self-care so hard to commit to? It turns out the follow-up with my doctor provided some interesting answers.

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One week you’re dead set on cooking for a living, the next you want to be a librarian.

The problem isn’t coming up with something you might want to do for a living, it’s committing to it. And the indecision is driving you crazy.

It’s not like you haven’t tried to nail it down. You’ve taken personality tests, read books on risk-taking, and completed countless personal development exercises.

And for a moment, you think you’ve figured it out. But only for a moment.

Then the doubt creeps in and you find yourself back at square one again. Are you really good at creating new recipes? Do you really have a passion for the Dewey decimal system or are you just an avid reader?

And then there’s the coup de grace, the voice in your head that says even if you knew what you wanted to do with your life, no one would hire you anyway.

Sigh. Better to just give up on the dream of meaningful work and make the best of what you have, right?

I see this quite often among my No Regrets clients, so if this sounds like you, know that you definitely aren’t alone. In my experience, the problem isn’t that you’re wishy-washy. The problem is that you’re suffering from one of three hidden psychological barriers.