The world is filled with liars, and the biggest one is you. Hey, hey, calm down, we don’t mean that as a personal attack. Nobody’s accusing you of lying to your friends or family or (heaven forbid) the IRS. We’re talking about those lies that you tell one and only one person: yourself. Yep, for some reason when it comes to your—and let’s be frank, everybody’s—internal monologue, it’s tough to be entirely truthful. Which is weird, because you think we’d be able to recognize our own baloney by now. And yet, most of us keep on believing our own fake news, even though we should definitely know better.
It’s okay once in awhile, but sometimes the lies we tell ourselves careen into self-sabotage. Here are the 40 most common. It’s time to stop the cycle of abuse before it inflicts some lasting damage. And for more hilarious lies, see the 40 Lies Everyone Over 40 Tells.
“I’ll go to the gym next week.”
Because you’ll feel more motivated next week? Or the gym will somehow feel magically closer to your home? Or you won’t talk yourself out of it yet again with any number of ridiculous reasons? If you keep putting off exercise until next week, it’s never going to happen. And for ways to get you motivated to move, check out the 100 Best Motivational Weight-Loss Tips.
“It’s my parents’ fault!”
It’s really not. Even if you have the worst parents in the world, they’re not responsible for your happiness. This excuse may work when you’re a teenager, but a full-grown adult is able to accept that Mommy and Daddy have only so much control over their life.
“I’ll have more free time when (fill in the blank) happens.”
Whether it’s finishing a big project at work or turning in an important assignment at school, we all create these mythical hurdles that are the only thing standing between us and limitless free time. Well, guess what? There’s just going to be another work project, another school assignment, another whatever that will pop up tomorrow and monopolize your time yet again. And if you find yourself in this particularly vicious cycle, be sure to bone up on the 25 Genius Ways to Conquer Office Burnout.
“Nobody cares what I think.”
Too often we look for big reactions from others. If our every opinion isn’t met with, “Oh my gosh, that’s the most spectacular thing anyone has ever said,” we think we’re being ignored or dismissed. People are listening to you and caring what you think, even if they don’t go out of their way to broadcast it.
“I’ll catch up on sleep this weekend.”
What are you, a bear? You can go a whole week without sleep and then “hibernate” with a big power sleep on the weekends? Sorry, but that’s not how our bodies work, buddy. And for more info on the repercussions of skipping out on your nightly eight hours, learn the 15 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep.
“I can change him or her.”
Spoiler alert: You probably can’t. Save yourself the trouble and get into a relationship with somebody you like as is. If you really think their personality just needs a few tweaks, you (and they) would probably be happier with somebody else.
“Work is supposed to be a drag. That’s why it’s called work.”
That’s the most depressing definition of work we’ve ever heard. You sound like a character in an Arthur Miller play. We don’t know what you do for a living, but one thing is obvious: You should quit your job immediately and find something else to do for a career that doesn’t make you so miserable. For ideas on a new career, learn the 25 Work from Home Jobs with High Salaries.
“I’m going to talk to somebody new at the party and not just the people I already know.”
Of course you are. Right after you say a “quick hello” to your friends, which evolves into, “Hey, I almost forgot to tell you…” which gradually becomes, “Oops, the party’s over!” Well, maybe next time you’ll introduce yourself to somebody new.
“I don’t deserve (fill in the blank).”
Why is it so hard to accept when good things happen to us? It’s like we’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Whether it’s a partner who loves us unconditionally or a job that we can’t believe makes us so fulfilled, we assume it was probably a clerical error and it’ll all be taken away from us eventually.
“Only cowards get scared.”
We love being our own drill sergeant sometimes, thinking that the best way to motivate ourselves is with intimidation. Well cut it out. Everybody gets afraid, and if you’re not at least a little afraid some of the time, you’re either not paying attention or stupid.
“Everybody is gossiping about me behind my back.”
They’re really not. Everybody has more important things to worry about, like whether you and your friends are gossiping about them.
“If I had more money, I’d be happier.”
We’re not saying that owning a mansion and a speedboat and your own private jet wouldn’t be cool. We’re just saying that even with all the expensive toys, it won’t change who you are under your skin. And if you hated yourself before you got money, well, then now you’re just a rich person who hates yourself.
It’s the kind of thing you only say when you’re really, really not fine. You don’t believe it when other people say it, so why believe it when you say those same words to yourself? If you’re fine, then you wouldn’t need to reassure yourself with “I’m fine.”
“I can do this alone.”
That may be true, but refusing a helping hand because you want the world to know you’re strong enough to go it alone is just plain stubbornness. If you turn down people’s help too many times, eventually they’ll stop offering.
“It’ll work itself out.”
Occasionally things do. But counting on that to happen every time is putting a little too much faith in the universe to solve your problems. Sometimes things work out on their own, and sometimes things are just royally messed up and it’s up to you to fix them.
“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Here’s something you start to pick up on if you’ve been alive for long enough: Tomorrow looks pretty much like today. You’re not going to be any smarter tomorrow, or more full of energy, or less distracted or annoyed. Don’t put too much faith in tomorrow.
“Just one more episode…”
You’re not fooling anybody. We all know you’re going to end up binge watching Game of Thrones till 4:00 a.m.
“Just one more drink…”
Be sure to mention that to yourself tomorrow morning, when your head feels like it’s in a vice grip and your mouth tastes like kitty litter.
“Life isn’t fair!”
Not necessarily a lie—as many of us can attest, life is indeed unfair—but this becomes an untruth when uttered as a complaint. What exactly were you expecting? Life is not like baseball. There are no umpires making sure everyone is following the rules. When life treats you unfairly, you get up, dust yourself off, and get right back in the game.
“I can pull an all-nighter and be totally fine.”
If by “totally fine” you mean looking like Charles Bukowski after waking up in a dumpster after drinking all night in a rainstorm, then sure, maybe.
“Calories don’t count on the weekend.”
So you have one of those metabolisms that sleeps all week and wakes up on Friday night, ready to party?
“I’m quitting Facebook!”
Whatever. See you tomorrow! Or in a few hours! However long you can stay away before it drives you crazy not knowing what everybody’s talking about on Facebook.
“I’m going to start putting half of my paycheck into savings.”
It’s actually a good instinct to set a little bit aside from every paycheck, but be realistic about what you can afford to lose. When your available funds for the month are suddenly half what you expect, your savings account will end up getting depleted pretty darn quickly. If you’re struggling in this department, be sure to learn the 40 Ways to Seriously Boost Your Savings After 40.
“I’m sure he didn’t mean it.”
No good can come from making excuses for the mean people in your life. If it looks like a jerk and talks like a jerk and acts like a jerk, then it’s probably a jerk.
“Mimosas are made with orange juice, which have lots of vitamin C, so it’s basically a health food.”
That’s like saying ice cream is the best way to get your daily source of calcium and vitamin D.
“My vote doesn’t matter.”
Listen, we’re not going to tell you who to vote for. That’s your business. But don’t be one of those “my vote doesn’t matter” pinheads. It does matter. Please don’t make us explain how math works.
“My boss will respect me if I work weekends and holidays and never take a vacation.”
Actually, just the opposite. The employee with no boundaries who will take on any additional workload, however unreasonable, and without any clearly defined financial benefit, is just confirming to his or her boss that they’re just a yes man who will probably burn themselves out from exhaustion eventually. In what way does “yes man” equal “promotable”?
“This is absolutely the last time I eat junk food.”
Unless it’s your last meal on the planet, you know it’s just a matter of time before you’re back at the Dunkin’ drive-thru.
“A fourth cup of coffee should perk me up.”
If you aren’t feeling perky by the third cup, you’re not doing yourself any favors by drinking more. There comes a time with caffeine where you’re basically beating a dead horse.
“I just don’t have enough time.”
There are twenty-four hours in a day. Take away sleeping, that still leaves you with at least sixteen. If you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to accomplish in a day in sixteen hours, you’re either A) overcommitting yourself, or B) really, really awful at time management. If you need more time in your life, learn the 60 Ways to Buy an Extra 60 Minutes Every Day.
“I don’t care what other people think.”
The problem here isn’t the sentiment, it’s the smug certainty. Even Mahatma Gandhi cared what other people thought. Why not just amend it to something believable like, “I’m trying to care a little less about what other people think, especially the stupid ones?” That’s at least an achievable goal.
“I’m too old to do that.”
Unless you’re talking about hanging out at college kegger parties, no, you’re in no way “too old” to do anything.
“I’m too tired to think about it now.”
That’s just another way of saying “This topic is too scary or complicated or emotionally distressing, so I’m going to feign fatigue and put it out of my mind till tomorrow.” Not convinced? Okay, we’ll prove it to you. Has anybody ever said, “I’m too tired to think about it now,” when asked, “Who wants chocolate cake?” or, “Can I interest you in a hundreds dollars in cash?”
“Sweatpants count as pants.”
No. And the same goes for leggings. Neither of those things are pants. Wearing them in public is announcing to the world, “I’ve decided to stop trying.”
“I didn’t go to the right school, so my career options are limited.”
We’re all for college, but let’s not get carried away. Your life is not dependent on your degree. There are many, many, many successful people in this world who didn’t go to an Ivy League school. Tina Fey got rejected by Princeton, Steven Spielberg got turned down by both USC and UCLA, and Barack Obama never got into his first choice: Swarthmore. The best and brightest aren’t always the ones with diplomas from brag-worthy schools.
“I’ll never text them again!”
An entirely believable statement, if you’re planning to submerge your phone in a large body of water in the immediate future.
“I’m just too set in my ways.”
That’s a nice way of saying “I’m a stubborn fool!” Not being able to compromise or adapt to different circumstances is not an adorable personality quirk. You could absolutely change if you wanted to. You just don’t want to.
“Everything is great!” or “Everything is awful!”
The world does not exist in absolutes. Nothing is ever all great or all awful. It just seems that way to you. But the emotion is fleeting. Trust us. Give it a few days or a few weeks—whatever it takes to let your anger or elation pass—and life won’t seem as black-and-white.
“No need to write it down, I’ll remember it.”
If only our brains worked like that. As much faith as you may have in your photographic memory, you’re probably going to forget whatever you’ve been tasked with remembering, likely within a few seconds. Just invest in a pen and save yourself the heartbreak.
“I’ll just have a salad.”
Good luck with that. But we all know that when 2:00 a.m. rolls around, your hunger pangs will have convinced you to wolf down a barely defrosted Hot Pocket.
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