Post #6 Healthy Thinking #5
I remember it like yesterday. I was perched on the couch pounding potato chips and diet Pepsi watching The Biggest Loser. By the end of the show I was more motivated than Rocky Balboa seconds before he knocked down the Russian, Dolph Lundgren. I was overcome with emotions and grabbed onto the hope that if a fellow morbidly obese person could lose over 20 pounds in a 40 minute episode thenI sure could too. I would be so fired up the next morning I may have even eaten a rice cake on the way out the door. I was feeling great aside from being a bit hungry. As I was driving, those beautiful golden arches would appear in the sky as if the angels themselves put them there for me. Before I knew it I was washing my second sandwich down with a diet Pepsi and for some reason seeing the empty, grease filled wrappers always made me feel a little guilty but it was too late. The next week the cycle would repeat. Even if I would lose weight it would only be a couple pounds and comparing myself to the biggest losers just made me feel like, well, a loser. I think sometimes motivational videos, memes, before and after pictures, and transformation stories do the complete opposite of what we expect them to do. Many times I would think that being motivated was actually doing something, but in reality I was only feeling something. Everybody loves to see a good before and after photo but we get a false image because of what is missing. We fail to see the big “picture”, the during or the process. By looking at the beginning and the end we ignore the part where the work happened, and that is exactly where the magic is. The during is where change actually takes place, lessons are learned, and small steps are taken . Losing 20 pounds in a week, working out for 8 hours a day with a trainer, and competing in a crazy event are unrealistic and unattainable. Sure, it may give you a temporary high watching the show but the high is short lived at best. The problem with motivation is that it plays on our emotions and most of the time emotions are erratic and temporary. It is common sense not to make decisions with our emotions yet for some reason we think we can change our lives with them. I am not saying that motivation is useless. I purposely set my playlist up so that the “Final Countdown” is playing when I cross the finish line. Before I go to the weight room I love to watch a couple motivational videos on YouTube. Motivation is not at all bad as long as we understand that it is a short term boost that will be gone in minutes. If you try to get real change in any aspect of your life and it is built on emotion, that lasts minutes you are going to fall. I did this over and over and I still battle it to this day. So if motivation isn’t the solution what is?
In a word,…….. work. Duh, that seems obvious and I bet most people would consider that common sense. Here’s the million dollar question, how do I stay motivated to keep working regardless of the outcome? This is going to get ugly and I’m not saying this is for everyone but this was a huge change in my perspective and to this day I focus on seeing things in this new way. This ones a bit rough to put into words but I’ll give it a shot.
Here’s the idea. If you (myself included) are not continually trying to better yourself, you are being selfish. Let me say that again, If you are not continually trying to better yourself, you are being selfish.
If I would have continued to use motivation and inspiration to change my life I would still be on the couch in a food coma with meat sweats. Furthermore, the idea that I wanted to take my life back to make it better for myself wouldn’t work either. If it would have, I would never have been in this position in the first place. Honestly, I really didn’t care how fat and sick I had gotten myself. What hit me like a freight train was the idea that although I didn’t care, there are people in my life that did. My friends and family were watching me get sicker and sicker. I was having trouble breathing, I was losing my mobility, I was very close to not being able to fit in my truck anymore, and most mornings I had trouble getting my socks and shoes on. Poor me, but what about my wife? Our life had been reduced to work and couch. If I wasn’t at work I was on the couch. We couldn’t even go for a drive because I couldn’t sit in the vehicle for more than an hour without being in excruciating pain. It was inevitable that in a very short time she would be taking care of me. I was heading down a terrible path and taking her with me. This idea isn’t rocket science, if I were to get myself better it would make everyone else’s life easier around me and everyone will be happy and blah blah blah. I think any reasonable person knows this and it’s definitely nothing new. For me this idea wasn’t enough.
So I had to take it a giant step further. This will blow your mind. I have to say it just one more time, if you are not continually trying to better yourself, you are being selfish. Think about what kind of things bring the most happiness and joy to our lives. Most of us would agree that some of the happiest moments include things like: having a child, or a child’s first steps, or a graduation, or seeing a family member kick a game winning goal, someone beating cancer, a child landing an awesome job, getting a new home for your spouse to enjoy, or whatever you can think of. The common theme to the majority of the things that bring us happiness is that they are rarely things that happen to us. Most people would agree that they get more satisfaction out of seeing a spouse or child being successful at something rather than themselves. If that is true than it only makes logical sense that the best way to make my wife happy is to become a better person and be successful at what I’m working at. If you think about it, the more you better yourself the better you make everyone around you feel. Simply put, I have seen the pain in my wife’s eyes as she watched me hobble around in pain from doctor to doctor and I have also seen her eyes as I crossed the finish line of my first 5k, she literally sobbed with joy for me. She was happy. The harder I worked to better myself the more I accomplished. The more I accomplished the happier I made her. As a result both of our lives changed. We started doing and experiencing things we never thought possible. So I guess you can say the best thing you can do for your wife, kids, friends, and family is be a better you.
If you sincerely want to change where you are, whether it’s you marriage, health, addiction, fitness, relationship, education, spiritual life, or overall wellness the answer is not on your couch getting motivated by a success story. You have to get to work. You have to be willing to work even if you don’t feel like it. Even if there’s no motivation. Even after you totally screw up. Most importantly, you have to work even when you are not seeing results. Get over yourself and be a better you for someone that cares about you. Get up and do something, read a book, go for a walk, take that someone on an “adventure”, spend some time with your Creator, go for a jog, spend time with your kids, do something. Just be a better you, people are counting on you. When you are telling yourself how badly you want to quit remind yourself how little this has to do with you and how big this impacts the people that care about you. If you can grab that idea motivation turns into purpose and if the purpose is genuine you will be unstoppable.
So in the end, you’re not trying to be less of a nuisance, you’re trying to succeed for those people that find genuine happiness in your accomplishments.
I think she looks happier!
“Eat plants, move your body. All ya got to do is a little more than ya did yesterday 😉 ”
Until next time,