I recently joked with my friends that the best day to go to the gym is December 31st and the worst day to go to the gym is January 1st.

This morning on my New Year’s workout, I am not sure I’ve ever seen the gym so busy. A plethora of new faces eager to get started on their resolution to get fit. Whereas just 24 hours before there was no massive clutter of people, no waiting for equipment, no bumping into people between the machines and benches.

What happens between January 1st and the end of the year in gym activity is a micro example of a macro issue. It is the same thing which causes projects to fail, new business ventures to fizzle and goals to never be achieved.

It is the comfort we have in deniability. That is, the denial of our ability to do something, anything.

In the previous 12 months there were a lot of things I could have denied my ability to do.
– I don’t care for what my personal trainer is telling me to do, perhaps they don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t think it is a wise idea to go through with the men’s physique competition.
– This publication already has a group of photographers they like to use. No sense sending in samples of my work as there is no chance they’ll publish it.
– People probably don’t really want to hear what I have to say about marketing or personal development. I don’t need to be doing this two-hour presentation.
– My friend dropped out of running a half marathon with me. There is no sense in me doing it now.
– It is pretty expensive to self publish a book, and I doubt anyone will want to see it anyway. I think I should scrap this project.

You can see how easy it is for fear to lead us to develop what seem to be logical excuses to prevent ourselves from doing something new, something different, something that has the potential of being amazing. Deniability consistently shows its ugly face to add in speed bumps, detours and dead ends.

It is deniability when that person in the business meeting starts asking a bevy of questions to protest the project. It is deniability when someone short changes their dreams by calling it a hobby. It is deniability when responsibility for success or failure is pushed off to someone else. It is deniability when a venture or pursuit is minimized to what is easily achievable.

In overcoming deniability it is important to to recognize it for what it truly is. It is not saving logic. Deniability is nothing more than the offspring of fear. The proof behind that? Notice how the urge for deniability gets strong the closer you get to a goal and the harder the path gets.

The person who on January 2nd is so sore from the first day of working out that they chose to rest for the next 364 days. The business person who says nothing until the project is already in the works and then throws in protests, excuses and eventually the towel. The entrepreneur who chooses to stay home rather than go out and drum up new business.

Once we can recognize deniability as what it truly is, we get one step closer to overcoming it. Knowing that our excuses are not truly logical, but based in fear – we can begin to navigate through them.

Looking back to my year. It was not my frustration with my trainer that had me hesitant to do the men’s physique competition, it was fear. So in March I got up on stage. It was not thinking the publication wasn’t actually hiring photographers, it was fear. So I pitched my work and got three international covers. It was not that I really felt people didn’t want to hear my marketing presentation, it was far of standing up in front of people. So I gave two large seminars this past year. It wasn’t that my friend dropped out of the half marathon that had me hesitant to go through with the race. It was fear that I wouldn’t be able to do it. It wasn’t the price of publishing my own book that had me pausing. It was fear that I couldn’t finish it – which I did.

And once you look at deniability for what it is, and do what it is you were hesitating doing, you realize that there was no sense in holding yourself back, or slowing yourself down. Then the next time a challenge is presented to you; it becomes easier to tackle it head on.

So for 2013… perhaps the best resolution we all can have is to fight deniability and overcome fear.

James Patrick