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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3 Valuable Lessons Learned from Marathon Training

3 valuable lessons learned from marathon training

In October of 2017, I was having lunch with my wife and we were talking about things we wanted accomplish during our lifetime.

It got me thinking there was so much left to accomplish.

Running a marathon was on that list.

Filled with a sense of urgency, I took out my phone and signed up for a marathon without hesitation.

My wife didn’t believe it until I showed her the screen.

The marathon I signed up for was in five months.  To be honest, I wasn’t exactly in the greatest shape.  Much less any kind of running shape.

Suffice it to say that there was a lot of work to be done.

Running a marathon has been on my list for a long time, but I had never gotten around to it.  After a while, it started to seem like I never would.

Like most things, it never got scheduled and I never got around to running one. I kept saying “one day”.  I realized that I’ve been saying that for a long time. A really long time. Then I thought to myself what is really stopping me from doing one? It was all me.  I was getting in my own way, procrastinating and making every excuse that I could think of.  So, I decided to push all that aside and I signed up for my first marathon.  As I prepared for the marathon, I learned a few lessons along the way.

Lesson #1: Commit

Five months of preparation was awaiting me.  It was something I was looking forward to.

I started digging up training plans and reading anything I could get my hands on about marathon training and I was underway.  Keep in mind, I don’t have any long distance running experience and I am far from a runner.  The furthest I’ve ever ran is six miles and I walked over half of those miles.  Nonetheless, I was already committed.

Lesson #2: Take it one step at a time

Once I found a training plan that suited me, I printed it out and posted it on my refrigerator, so I could see it every day.  My family would see it everyday as well and I used that as a form of accountability.  Looking over the plan, it seemed nearly impossible and it hit me like the first day of basic training. What the hell did I get myself into?

Day one came, and I ran.  I ran on day two. I ran on day three and I kept on running keeping with the training.  Logging the miles was not easy.  As they say, take it one step at a time.  Well, that is exactly what I did.  Every time that I ran I put a big black “X” on the run I had completed.  I found that with every day I was able to mark my training plan, I was inspired to run more and more.

Lesson #3:  It IS possible

Completing My First Marathon

Over 300 miles were logged during the course of marathon training.

Plenty of 5k’s, 10k’s and a few half marathons.

If you would have told me back in November, before I signed up, that in four months time I would have completed that many distance runs and a marathon, I would have laughed at the silliness of the thought. Yet, here I am having done so.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” —Nelson Mandela

I committed myself to running a marathon, I put in mile after mile taking it one step at a time and I didn’t quit.  The approach to marathon training is not much different from other aspects of your anyone’s life.  A career, studies, marriage, relationships and everything else requires you to commit to it, put in the work, and stick with it.  Like me, you will find that most things that seem impossible just aren’t.  You may be pushed to your limits and make you think of quitting.  Don’t.  Don’t quit.  Don’t give up because success, success is in that extra mile.

—Cruz

 

How to Crush Negativity and Stay Positive

When you do something different, something great, something positive, there will be resistance. 

There will be resistance when you begin something that you know will get you to the place you want to be and make you the person you want to become. 

Unfortunately, there never seems to be a shortage of negativity. 

There will be plenty of people who won’t like what you’re doing or won’t agree with it. 

They may attempt to keep you from doing so. 

When this happens, always keep in mind that this usually has more to do with their own insecurities and issues than it does with you.

Do not let anyone else’s negativity stand in the way of your pursuit of personal development, productivity, greatness and happiness. 

“Do not let anyone else’s negativity stand in the way of your pursuit of personal development, productivity, greatness and happiness.” 

Let them have their negativity. 

Ignore it and press on. 

You do not have the time to acknowledge the meaningless banter of close minded and negative individuals.

Now, I understand that it’s easy to say to ignore it, but it’s something else entirely to put that into action.

How to keep negativity away

Surround yourself with positive people

Fight negativity with positivity. positive people

Build yourself an army of like-minded people, positive people who will fight with you, figuratively speaking. 

These are the people who are going to pull you up rather than push you down and hold you back. 

They are the ones that will help you on your journey.

“Build yourself an army of like-minded people, positive people who will fight with you, figuratively speaking. 

These are the people who are going to pull you up rather than push you down and hold you back. 

They are the ones that will help you on your journey.”

Surrounding yourself with positive people means distancing yourself from negative ones. 

The tricky thing is that some of the negative people may be those closest to you. 

It could be your best friend, a family member, even your spouse.  But, this does not mean that you need to break up a friendship or get a divorce.

Please don’t do that. 

However, make your intentions for a positive life known. Communicate with those close to you.  It may be that you have to limit your time with some of these individuals.

So, scrub core group of friends, family, peers, co-workers, etc., that you are around on a daily basis. 

There is this saying, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  It means that if the five people you are giving your time most too are out of shape, negative, victim minded people, then the chances are extremely high that you will be all of the above too. 

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

The first time I heard this was from my favorite motivational speaker Jim Rohn.  Surround yourself with the type of people that match the person you are trying to become.  

It is not an easy task to remove people from your life or at least limit your time with them, but it is necessary.

Take in positive information

What if everyone around you on a daily basis are full of negativity and your options are limited? 

positive information with audiobooksTurn to books, podcasts and motivational speakers. 

There are plenty of reading lists out there that can get you moving in the right direction. Check out Tom Bilyeu’s reading list.  He has a great list. 

There are plenty of podcasts that you can listen to as well. 

Lewis Howes’ The School of Greatness podcast is a good place to start.  There many others that can help and I have them listed here.   

Limit your time with negative people as much as possible and start investing your time in positive things and positive people.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to people as well. 

You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to reach back to help.

Keep away from the news

Every headline in the news will either make you angry, make you worry or strike you with fear. 

That’s all it ever is.  How often do you see positive headline after positive headline on your local or national news?what it feels like to follow the news 

I would venture to guess probably never. 

That’s not the business they’re in. 

Watching the news on a daily basis will only take you in the opposite direction of positivity.  It can even put you into a depression.  

So, stay away from the news as much as possible.  If there is news important enough, trust me you’ll hear it.  Everyone on social media is a news anchor these days.  

The good news

Should you choose to watch the news, head on over to Tank’s Good News

You’ll read daily articles on news that will restore your faith in humanity.  It’s positivity all over the place.  

It’s hard not to leave with a smile after visiting that site.  

You can follow Tank’s Good News on Instagram  for your daily dose of positivity.  

Bottom Line

Be faithful and firm in your pursuit. 

Be relentless and don’t quit

The negativity you come across is nothing more than a speed bump on the journey. 

It’ll be tough at times, but you’ll get past them. 

Don’t sacrifice your time to acknowledge negativity much less dwell on it. 

Negativity will always be around, but you must rise and stay above it.  The world is waiting for your greatness.

Continue your pursuit and stay positive my friends.

—Cruz