4 Steps That Will Get Rid of Your Life’s Crutches

We all have crutches or had crutches at one time in our lives.

Not literal crutches but metaphor crutches.  Basically, the excuses we tell ourselves to justify why we didn’t, can’t, or shouldn’t.

I’m a husband, a father of four and an active duty Air Force NCO.

Life is busy and it gets hectic on a daily basis.  At times, it feels like I’m a lot busier at home than when I’m at work.

Once I leave work, the fight against traffic begins as I go get the kids at three different locations.

When we get home we start on homework then dinner, then time to get ready for the following day.  Somewhere in there, we manage to squeeze a workout in.  It gets even crazier when after-school activities and other school functions get thrown into the mix.

It’s not easy, but my wife and I somehow make it happen.

My crutches

In the past, I would use this craziness as an excuse to not do anything.

For a long time, I used my family as crutches to justify to myself that they were the reason that I wasn’t able to do anything.

Basically, I was putting the blame on them for my shortcomings and not taking any of the responsibility. That wasn’t fair to me and it especially wasn’t fair to my family.

However, I was doing it and I’m ashamed of that.

Everything was put on hold and I wouldn’t work out, read, have a guys night or any of the things I used to do that would make me a better me.

Convinced I didn’t have time because of family responsibilities, I would tell friends that I couldn’t hang out because I was too busy.  That was the furthest thing from the truth.

Honestly, I was only being lazy.

That’s the best way it can be described and not wanting to admit it to myself, I used my family as a scapegoat.

As a result, I was going crazy.

Not literally, but I wasn’t headed in a good direction.

Depression hit me, out of shape became my norm and I would get easily frustrated.

The change seemed to happen quickly from fit and productive dad to out of shape, full on dad bod with an irritable attitude.

Not to mention unproductive and going through the motions which included work, marriage, and every aspect of life really.

Something had to give.

Change needed to happen immediately if I wanted a better and happy life.

Change is exactly what I did.

The same responsibilities as a husband, father and work are still there.  Those will never go away nor do I want them to ever.

And like everyone else, I still have the same 24 hours in a day.

What changed?

Letting go of my crutches

For starters, I made the decision to stop using my family as a crutch.

They are not responsible for my self-sabotage.

It’s utterly amazing to think back about putting them in that position in the first place.

Prioritization became a key in my change.  Prioritizing important things over comfortable things made all the difference in the world.

The 4 steps to getting rid of your crutches

1. Make time for yourself

It was mandatory that I made time in my day to work on myselfPersonal development became the foundation for my success.

Whether that’s reading and writing or working out.

That time is made so I could be the best version of myself.  This makes me better for my family and anyone else really.

This meant giving up a few things as well.

Giving up the comfortable things that really weren’t moving me in the direction I wanted to go.

These things included late nights, binge-watching television shows or getting lost in the world of social media scrolling.

The weekend bender became a thing of the past, and video games are now something I miss dearly.

If you only knew how much I love to watch movies and play video games, then you would understand how difficult it was for me to drastically limit those.

2. Wake up earlier

For me, this meant returning to my morning routine waking up at 4 am.

Waking up this early gave me at least an hour myself because my day usually starts at 5:30 am.

This time is specifically for personal development.  This is not to say that I’m running on 3 or 4 hours of sleep because I’m definitely not.

That’s because I’m going to bed earlier.  So, I get 6 or more hours of sleep a night.

3. Set goals

Goals are a must have if your life is to improve.

This can’t be stressed enough.

It must be known how important goals are and the importance of writing them down.  Make them part of your daily life and put them where you see them every single day as often as possible.

Having goals and writing them down gives you purpose.

Without purpose we have nothing.

Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning details how purpose and having a “why” gives life meaning.  If you haven’t read this book go out and get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

Having goals gives me purpose and they are written down on note cards that I look at every single day.

Some I’ve accomplished and some I’ve missed but I continue to work on them no matter what.  Having goals and viewing them every day helped me tremendously.

Evident in one of my most recent accomplishments where I ran my first marathon on my 34th birthday.

That and becoming debt free was another one of the goals that I accomplished last year.

That took some time but I made it happen.

4. Find support

You will not get through this life successfully without help.

Many will say that they are self-made but it’s doubtful that anyone is.

Somewhere along the way, somehow, help was there even if it was not seen as help.

Knowing that I needed help, acknowledging that changes needed to be made, I enlisted the help of my wife.

She’s a rockstar and I needed her support if this was going to work.

I’m not great at asking for help and I’m not sure if anyone really is, so it wasn’t easy to ask.

However, I did ask.

Pushing the ego aside I asked for her help.

She has given me 100% support of the changes and I have given her mine.  Far from perfection, but we know what we’re working for and do so as best we can.

Fast forward to the present day and life is a lot different without crutches.

It’s a hundred times better.

Days are still hectic and busy is still a word you can use to describe our home life.

The difference is it’s all surrounded by growth and happiness that I choose to make for myself.  The way I feel about myself and the direction that my life is going is something to be excited about.

Since all the necessary changes made, I’ve been promoted,  I’m back into good shape, I’m reading and writing every single day.

Our marriage has improved and I’m still getting better at this dad thing.

There are still ups and downs as there will always be, but knowing that life is headed in a good direction lets me enjoy the journey.

None of it would have been possible had I never acknowledged the responsibility was mine and taking these steps to get rid of my crutches.

Bottom Line

Let go of the crutches in your life.  Take responsibility.  Make the changes necessary to make the most of your life.

—Cruz

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Why Being Selfish Can Be Good

It’s not about you. Don’t be selfish.

That’s what we always hear, right?  It’s not about you.

And to be honest, it really isn’t.  We live our lives for other people.  Whether you believe that or not.  We live our lives to love someone, help someone, take care of someone, etc.  Rarely we are doing something only for ourselves.

Listen to star athletes, celebrities, and high-profile personalities during their post-game interviews, talk show appearances, and award acceptance speeches.  They always talk about how they do it for their family or they do it for the fans and so on.

When do you hear any of them say that they did it for themselves?  If you do hear it, know that it’s as rare as Big Foot being spotted.

What all those people don’t say in their interviews is that to do it for everyone else, you must be selfish.

As Karen Baquiran said, “make yourself a priority once in a while.  It’s not selfish.  It’s necessary.”

“Make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish.  It’s necessary” —Karen A. Baquiran

Put your mask on first

If you have ever taken a flight from then you’re probably familiar with the safety briefing that they give to passengers prior to take off.

The flight attendants stand at different sections of the plane so that they are clearly visible to everyone.

As one of them speaks through the intercom giving directions on how to buckle your seat-belt properly, the other flight attendants are demonstrating.

They also do the same for the oxygen mask that drops down from the overhead compartment in the event of an emergency.

And for the flotation devices usually located under the seat.

The interesting thing that they tell everyone is when these oxygen masks drop down, ensure that you properly place your mask on first before trying to put anyone else’s on.

“The interesting thing that they tell everyone is when these oxygen masks drop down, ensure that you properly place your mask on first before trying to put anyone else’s on.”

If you have someone like a child with you, then you can help them with theirs afterward.

At first glance, this may seem wrong because any parent’s instinct is to ensure their child is safe first.

When you think it through though, securing your mask first is what must be done.

Here is the logic behind it.

You can no longer help the child if you put their mask on first and something happens to you because you failed to secure yours.

You will reduce your child’s chance of safety if you don’t put your mask on first.

The reality is that you must get your mask on first so that you can help the child or anyone else that may need help then continue to help.

Why you should be selfish

It’s no different in everyday life.

You must be selfish and help yourself first.

The fact is you will not be helping anyone if you have not helped yourself.

It’s crucial that you do what is right for you because you cannot do right by anyone else if you don’t.

“How do you make someone happy when you are not happy?

When it comes to love, how do you love someone when you do not know how to love yourself?

How do you teach someone else when you have not learned anything yourself?”

How do you make someone happy when you are not happy?

When it comes to love, how do you love someone when you do not know how to love yourself?

How do you teach someone else when you have not learned anything yourself?

Therefore, you must be selfish.

So that you can go on and teach what you’ve learned, love without limit, and make others happy because you know what happy is.

Be selfish for others

be selfish for othersOnce you have been selfish for yourself, it frees you up to be selfish for others.

Be selfish in passing on what you were once selfish for.

Teach others what you have learned.

Love others the way that you love yourself.

Brighten their day, every day, and make them happy.

This life is meant to be shared.

We as human beings are meant to have relationships.  Deep and meaningful relationships.

You cannot have those meaningful relationships and will not share your life with another if you are not the person you need to be.

“We as human beings are meant to have relationships.  Deep and meaningful relationships.

You cannot have those meaningful relationships and will not share your life with another if you are not the person you need to be.”

So, I tell you to be selfish.

Be selfish so that you are prepared to build strong, fulfilling relationships and can continue building them for as long as possible.

You must be selfish in sharing your life with another.

And be selfish in sharing with the world your ideas, creations, love, and happiness.

What Does Being Selfish Look Like?

Being selfish for yourself, for your better self comes in many forms.

This can look like taking time away from friends and family to do something that is going to better your life.

But it can impact your relationships in positive ways.

College is a perfect example.

Men and women leave home every year in pursuit of higher education for a brighter future.

They hope to gain the necessary tools, skills, and knowledge to one day provide for those they love.going to college

It’s not only young men and women either.

Older men and women that are married, have children of all ages are returning to school.

They attend classes, stay up late working on papers, and spend hours on research for various projects.

This is all time that could be spent cooking dinner for the family, watching a movie with the kids, or taking their significant other out on a date.

But they forgo this time because they know that if they selfishly stick to the work in the now to make themselves better, their future will be better.

Spending time at the gym is a form of being selfish.

In my case, I’m married, we have four children, and I usually spend an hour a day at the gym or out running.

I take that one hour from my family to work on myself, putting in that sweat equity so that I can be as healthy as I possibly can.selfishly running

It’s a must for me because I want to live long enough to be there for my children well through their adult years.

Having the privilege of seeing my grandchildren would be amazing and having the ability to run around with them would be icing on the cake.

That is why I take that selfish hour to workout.

Selfish in love

If you are married or in a relationship, be selfish in your marriage and in your relationship.

Many marriages fall apart and relationships end because the today’s way of thinking goes something like this: it’s all about the children and they come first no matter what.  When the children come first no matter what, that means that spouses and the relationship come second.

It’s no longer the priority.

Then we wonder why spouses grow apart, marriages and relationships fail.

Be selfish in your marriage.

Your relationship with your spouse should come first.

“Be selfish in your marriage.

Your relationship with your spouse should come first.”

My apologies if this offends you or this makes you uncomfortable, but its the truth.be selfish in love

The children are a product of your relationship, not the other way around.

Remember, put your oxygen mask on first.

Having a strong marriage or relationship will only make you a better parent giving your children a better life.

Bottom Line

Be selfish so that you can be better for others.

If you want to make others happy, make yourself happy first.

Love yourself first so that you can love others without limit.

Help yourself first so that you can help others the best that you possibly can.

—Cruz