Ann Cannon: Here’s the truth, I’ve got to stop lying to myself

First Published      Last Updated May 06 2015 03:45 pm

Do you ever lie to yourself?

If your answer is "no," then I'm guessing you're lying to yourself right now.


I'm sure it's possible for people to be completely honest with themselves 24/7. It's just that I'm not one of them. No. No, indeed. In fact, I've been thinking about this subject a lot because of a little lie I told myself last fall.

You remember last fall, don't you? The sky was a cerulean blue. The air was crisp. The frost was on the pumpkins, because that's what frost does in the fall. It gets on all the pumpkins.

Fall is also the time that gardeners put their gardens "to bed," i.e. they pull everything up and cut everything back and turn the soil over. Then they sing the garden a few lullabies and say goodnight, sleep tight, and we'll see you in the spring.

I've put my own garden to bed in October for years now, except last fall I didn't feel like doing it. Nope. I'd had a trying summer, and I was exhausted. So I told myself I'd clean everything up in the spring because — here comes the lying part — I'd probably really enjoy it then! I'd be all energized and hopeful. I'd go full-on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in my garden, whistling while I worked and exclaiming ain't life grand to everybody who cared to listen.

Well, OK. Fine. It's spring now.

In fact, it's been spring in Utah since January this year. And guess what. I'm not all that energized, and I still don't feel like working in my garden, which is a real problem because my garden is a big hot mess. The dead leaves I should have raked up and bagged in the fall are there, waiting for me. The dried-out perennial stalks I should have cut back are there, waiting for me. The myrtle against which I wage endless war has called in reinforcements so now there's an entire army of myrtle just bivouacking in my front yard, and every bit of it is there, still waiting for me.

I've been out in my yard working like a maniac all week, and gah! I'M SO NOT ENJOYING IT. In fact, I've been cursing that woman (me) who stood on her front porch overlooking the garden last fall and blithely said, "I'll take care of this in the spring, because I'll feel like doing it then." Which turned out to be a lie.

Here are some other lies I've told myself in the past.

• I'll start my diet. On Monday!

• I'll start exercising again. On Monday!

• I'll clean out the fridge. On Monday!

• I'll get to work on time. On Monday!

• I'll grade all those papers. On Monday!

• I'll cut up my credit card for good. On Monday!

Why do people lie to themselves? Because it's super easy to do. And it feels good, like a hit of dopamine to the brain. You tell yourself you'll start dieting on Monday and boom! You already feel like you've lost 5 pounds!

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