A few months ago I read The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. The general idea is that we find reasons every day to not do what we want to or should be doing. And almost everyone I know does it in some big or small way. I do it when I talk myself out of going to the gym because I walked to the copier 50 times at work and besides, I didn’t eat that bag of chips they give you with your sandwich at Great Harvest. I do it when I get home from work and brain dump via Solitaire for an hour instead of writing. A lot of it is laziness. A lot of it is fear of failure—if you don’t reach for the stars, you never have far to fall.

I’ve had conversations with friends that go like this:

“My boyfriend is such a rat,” she rants, staring at her fingernails.” He’s terrible to me. He told me I was fat yesterday. Fat. He actually said fat. Not curvy or even cushioned. Fat.”

“Sounds like you’re miserable," I respond, placing my hand gently on her shoulder. "Maybe it’s time to…you know…move on. Or at least have a serious conversation.”

“Weeeeeeeeell….,” she says. “He just gets stressed out at work sometimes. I should probably lose a couple of pounds anyway.”

Or there’s:

“I hate my job. My boss is a complete idiot. I haven’t had a raise in three years. In fact, I was demoted last year. Cutbacks, they said.”

Insert the rest of previous conversation here substituting “stay off facebook at work” for “lose a couple of pounds.”

 I know everyone’s been or seen someone caught in the whirlpool of helplessness—a desperate situation they can’t seem to get out of. Besides the aforementioned, there are excuses for:

Not going to college/the DMV
Not getting out of debt/bed
Not taking your car/body in for maintenance
Not losing that extra five/fifty pounds
Not spending time with your children/spouse
Not starting/finishing projects
Not quitting smoking/drinking/drugs/playing World of Warcraft

Seriously, the list is endless. You’re thinking of stuff right now that you never got around to starting or finishing. But the point is, at the end of the day, you’ve NOT done what you wanted to do.

There are so many times I’m headed home from work and I just don’t feel like going to the gym—I’m too tired or stressed or just feeling lazy—and the difference between me going or not going to the gym is just a matter of turning right or left at a certain intersection. If I turn left, I pull into the parking lot at the gym, I get out, I work out, I feel better. If I turn right, I go home, I play Solitaire for an hour, I spend the rest of the night being annoyed at myself for not turning left. I make these decisions all the time, for better or worse. E.g., I’ve been doing a juice diet since Monday (see the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead for inspiration http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/), and every day around 4 pm, I start craving all sorts of things—the other day, I started craving hot dogs, which is not really something that I ever eat in real life unless it’s the 4th of July and there’s a grill involved. But every day I make the choice not to run across the street to Wienerschnitzel and order their Chicago Dog with a side of chili cheese fries—and as a result, I’ve been waking up in the morning with more energy and cut my coffee intake down by 97.5%.

We all need some help getting there, though, so I’ve included some links that I found helpful.

Twelve tips for getting over that hump are listed here:

Eight tips are listed here:

And Steven Pressfield’s book is listed here:

The inspiration for this blog is this: I committed to writing a novel in 30 days last month and I didn’t. I have awesome excuses, but at the end of the month, I did NOT have a new novel. And that made me unhappy.

Blog off.