“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
Today I decided to go on a complaint purge and excuse exorcism. I am true believer that what we focus on is what we manifest in our lives to some point and I’ve learned from many different sources that living a life of gratitude and positivity really is the key to our happiness. Yet… I still complain. When I come home from work and see that there dirty dishes left on a counter, garbage sitting on the kitchen table, or dirty socks on the floor, my complaint detector goes off, my eyes squint into my “resentment evil eye” and a loud sigh probably comes out of my mouth- or something else comes out. Sometimes my aggravated complaining has been an effective tool for getting things done, like when the house needed to be painted but most of the time, it just frustrates me and gets me nowhere.
We all have things that we can complain about if we focus on them, especially the things that are repeat offenders (see above complaints). Although I am a wellness professional and I know doing things like creating a gratitude journal or list is one way to help focus on the blessings in life and to keep the mind from obsessing in a pity party and finding excuses for not reaching our goals or not being happy, even I couldn’t just go “cold turkey.” Anyone that knows me will tell you I have no poker face, I can’t pretend nice, I ooze annoyance if I get agitated. So I decided for day one, I would not complain for week starting with no complaints….out loud. I started a list of things that annoyed me when I walked in the door once I got home. And yes, all of the usual daily culprits were present. But although I was still annoyed, I didn’t say anything, just wrote it on my “if I was going to complain” list. That seemed to help. My next step is to focus on the things that I am grateful for. Then to be accountable for things I can do something about and to accept the things that I have no control over.
Chronic complaining is the reason many of us don’t reach goals that we set for ourselves in fitness, at work, in relationships. “I’m too tired to workout,” “I’m too busy,” “All men are (fill in the blank),” “my scanner didn’t work so I couldn’t complete my project (this happened today too, but I found an alternative scanner).” Fill in your complaints here that lead to excuses as to why you haven’t reached your goals.
Take a few minute and have a complaint purge. Write down all the things that bug you. Now write down all the excuses you have for not reaching your goals (bad genes, kids take up too much time, unsupportive spouse, work too much, etc.). Get it all out… let the excuse exorcism come forth! Tomorrow take that list and decide what you have control over and what you can take accountability for. Really own it, empower yourself to make changes. The day after that, begin the gratitude list. Try it for a week and if you find complaints keep coming back up, go back to step one. Let me know how it goes and what results you get!
Liz Jones is the Wellness Coordinator for the City of Mesquite and a wellness professional in Rockwall, Mesquite, Wylie and surrounding areas. She is a writer, certified yoga instructor, personal trainer and wellness coach. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership. Her undergraduate studies included communication, business, writing, art, fitness, and dance. Liz Jones can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.