I've been thinking about this post for a while. It's a pretty important one so I want to make sure I say it right. I want to make sure you understand what I'm saying. Unfortunately I know only some of you will get this because you do need to be at a certain place in the process to grasp this concept. To those of you who are not quite ready to understand...hopefully this will plant a seed for you and later you can come back and read this again. But to those of you out there who are ready for this, here it goes.
Eating right, living a healthy life, exercising daily, all of these things are not about will power or self-control. Let me say it again: these things do not require will power or self-control.
Did I just blow your mind?
Let me explain.
We always look at people who are thin or who eat healthy and exercise and think, "Wow, now there is someone with a lot of will power." If you see someone turn down cake at a birthday party you probably think, "Look at that self control, I wish I had that much self control." We think that to be healthy we have to be constantly "battling" with ourselves. In fact, I think that is a word many of you use to refer to you relationship with eating and exercise-"it's a battle." Well it's time to lay down your weapons. It doesn't have to be a battle.
Don't get me wrong, it CAN be a battle and when you are trying to do it all with will power and self-control it will be. But the sooner you realize that's not what it's about, the more likely you will be to have a lifetime of success.
So if it's not about will power or self-control what is it about? The answer is simple. It's about wanting something else more.
That's it? you're thinking. Don't toss the answer aside too quickly. Think about it.
If someone hands you a plate of brownies and you smell them and think, "Oh man, I want to eat this whole plate of brownies sooooo bad." And in your mind eating those brownies is what you want most but you're going to white knuckle it, try to exercise some "self-control" and say no. What just happened to you inside? Most likely you feel jerked around. You feel cheated. You feel like you don't get to have what you want and it's not fair. You can only last so long before you break when that is how you are living. It's a rough way to live.
If, however, you have a goal...even better, a specific goal...when you are faced with choices your experience will be completely different.
Let's say someone brings you that same plate of brownies and while they may smell good, if you want something more than satisfying your immediate appetite you will actually be more satisfied in the end. If you can think past the moment to your higher goals then you will remember that it's actually not brownies you want...it's something else-something more. And you can choose accordingly. So then what just happened inside you? You feel calm. You feel in control. You feel like you got to choose exactly what you wanted, because you did. It was a choice. It always is.
Does this mean you won't ever feel tempted? Of course not. Temptations will most certainly arise, but when you know what you want, what you really want, you are armed with the right frame of mind to ward them off.
Do you see what it's about? Living a healthy life is a state of mind. It's about how you face the choices, how you view the choices. Because how you feel when you choose makes all the difference in the world.
It's not about self-control; it's about knowing what you really want.
So what do you really want?