Few questions to think about…
1. Do you think underperforming students who are paired with students who excel in school (even though at times, they might feel inferior compared to the better student) do better or worse than those underperforming students who aren’t paired with anyone?
Wow, that was a long sentence. Here’s another one for you…
2. Do you think small business owners (who want to own a large business) who are paired with successful large business owners (even though at times, they might feel inferior compared to the big business owner) do better or worse than those small business owners who only hang around other small business owners?
In Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project – she set all sorts of resolutions for herself in order to try to make herself happier. (Spoiler alert: it worked!)
However, towards the end of her one year project she noticed that in some ways, she made herself less happy. How so? Well, because she was trying to improve, she was more aware of her faults so she felt more disappointed when she slipped up.
In her wonderful book, she writes, “Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy, and a heightened awareness of my failings, though salutary, wasn’t bringing me happiness in the short term – but in the long term, I was sure, I’d be happier as a consequence of behaving better.”
She was comforted by the words of Benjamin Franklin:
“On the whole, though I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet as I was, by the endeavor, a better and happier man than I otherwise should have been had I not attempted it.”
I’ve said many times ignorance is bliss. Because once we’re aware of something, it’s hard to ignore it.
Sure, it’d be “easier” to eat whatever we want all day.
Especially, if we don’t know any better. But we all do know better. Obviously!
And when there’s a knowing and/or a desire without action, unhappiness ensues.
When we’re trying to improve something, we become aware of everything in that aspect.
So, when we do make the inevitable indulgent choices (we’re not robots!) we feel extra bad about it because we’re so aware of it.
And that can lead to feeling unhappy or frustrated. “Ugh, why bother?” we think.
This is why so many people quit.
They’d rather “not care at all” than have to deal with frustrating feelings every now and then. (Of course they’re totally forgetting about how they feel when they “don’t care at all” — like when they don’t love how they feel and look and when that nagging feeling of wanting to be healthier and fit pops up in their head.)
Keep in mind: The desire to be healthy and fit doesn’t go away. It’s always there. It’s that we cover it up with rationalizations when the going gets a little tough. When the going gets a little uncomfortable.
Human beings will do anything possible to avoid discomfort. This is what we humans do. Knowing this is a huge first step to becoming who we want to be.
All this to say, these feelings don’t mean trying isn’t worthwhile. I’m convinced (along with many, many others) trying will lead to far greater happiness than just accepting where we’re at with our health and fitness.
So next time we feel bad, and next time we point something out to you (try eating this or that, etc.) realize it’s only said with love. Truly.
And, next time we feel bad about indulging unplanned a) remember we. are. not. robots b) we truly do care about our health and fitness and that’s a wonderful thing and c) let’s use that feeling as motivation to make our very next meal on point. How we don’t want to feel can sometimes be more powerful than how we do want to feel.
There’s no such thing as perfection anyway. Only progress, and that feels awesome.
More awesome than just hoping and wishing. More awesome than trying to convince ourselves we don’t want to be healthy and fit because we’re frustrated in the moment.
As they say in many circles, never quit on your worst day.
Last Monday night was the Home Run Derby – a fan favorite. The only goal of the Home Run Derby is to hit as many balls out of the park as possible. If it’s not hit out of the park it doesn’t count.
Sure, it’s fun to watch. But relying on Home Runs to win games is fools gold.
I don’t write enough about celebrating small wins. In fact, the only way to create BIG wins (weight loss, dropping sizes, baggy clothes, more energy, etc.,) is by creating small wins.
Getting the body we want is about the accrued power of 1000′s of meals, and 100′s of workouts. Each one counts just as much as the next one.
Like with anything in life, it’s unrealistic to expect rainbows and butterflies all the time. Dealing with the lows is the hardest part. And that’s why staying consistent is so challenging.
But, even in a bad situation there can be a win. Really!
Let’s say we’re in the middle of a binge, and we typically eat a pint of ice cream. Leaving even a few bites – is a win nonetheless. That’s progress!
Bonus: Getting a lower calorie indulgence such as frozen yogurt.
Let’s say we don’t feel like exercising. Typically, we would be inactive all day. Instead, we do 20 jumping jacks before we shower. That’s progress. It’s a win nonetheless!
Bonus: If we feel like doing nothing, how about going for a 5 minute walk? Heck, why not walk in place while watching TV? Something is always better than nothing.
And movement energizes us. Too many of us feel that if we can’t train like an Olympian why bother at all? Rationally, we know this is silly. Done is better than “perfect”. Why? Because the perfect day or workout doesn’t exist. Chasing the “perfect” day or workout is like chasing the wind.
While these can be seen as negative things, they can also be seen as wins.
No, it’s not perfect. But it’s progress.
Besides, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a progressive one.
Although change can seem daunting at times, it’s very doable. It takes a lot of effort. And lots of courage.
But mostly, it takes a willingness to be vulnerable.
And part of that is not only celebrating the good but also how the not so good is getting better.