Food for Thought

Just Do The Thing

I have been reading a lot of posts on social media these days. It is one way I keep on top of the struggles people have all over the country. I frequently see this issue: The person writing the post has been eating healthy and maybe working out. They usually report that they have had great success with their healthy eating and workout plan. They may even show before and after pictures pointing to a tremendous weight loss during some recent stretch of time. However, for some reason, over the last several weeks or months, they have lost their commitment, focus, or motivation. They write that they have slipped back into eating more junk and not working out. They are usually pretty distressed, and they are always asking for advice.

If you’ve never found yourself losing motivation and watching your hard-won results slip away, count your blessings! On the other hand, if this situation sounds familiar to you, great! That means you are in the right place, and I chose the right topic for this article.

Hang on. Let’s dive deeper.

First. There we are: fumbling along, looking for “the right thing” for us. Once we find the workout, the way of eating, the lifestyle, the practice, or the meditation that “works,” we seem to do it effortlessly, without whining or complaining. We see benefits and results! We talk to our friends about it. Our friends notice our progress. That part of life affects other aspects of life, and Wow!! Suddenly, LIFE LOOKS GOOD! It is easy to think that we will never give it up. Why would we? That would be crazy, right?!

So, we keep at it, exceeding our own expectations. Eating well, meditating, exercising, practicing the scales on the guitar, or whatever the thing is that we are working on. We overcome the challenges that we encounter. We have this thing! Our goal may be distant but in sight!

Then one day, we wake up and think, ‘Anh! I can take today off. I am ____________________ (fill in the blank. Ex. doing great, too much in love, on vacation, excited, tired, sore, sick, rushed, out of protein powder, sad, cold, hot, craving fried fish, etc….). It will be OK if I skip today.’

Then that day turns into 2 or 3 and then 5 or 10.

Before long, the mind is supplying all kinds of curious justifications that stop us from doing the thing that gave us such great results. Maybe we practice our thing once or twice during that time, but we’re not deeply connected to it like we were before. Actually, when we do our thing, we kind of just go through the motions without really getting the kick out of it that we used to.

Sadly, the thing has become something to endure rather than something to enjoy. Since it is our “choice” TO DO or NOT, we “choose” NOT. We lose our fire and go back to our old comforts. Sometimes we get stuck right there.

But…But…But….What if we want to stop the slide back to those old ways of being? What if those ways were making us sick, weak, depressed, or unproductive? What can we do? How can we rekindle that burning desire?

Excellent! These are the questions. When we start asking these questions, it is a signal that we have arrived at the re-starting point!

Here are a few fire re-starting suggestions. I recommend all of them.:

  1. Practice Gratitude like your life depends on it. Cultivating Gratitude has an almost magical and utterly unpredictable effect on life.
  2. Remember why you began your journey. Our WHY is critical to the HOW committed we are to the outcome.
  3. Say affirmations daily. Tell yourself you can do the thing and be successful.
  4. Set up your environment for success. Remove temptations. Make it as easy as possible to act on and keep your commitment.
  5. Work with a coach or a trainer who will hold you to account for your results.
  6. Take a class in anything you find inspiring and make sure you do ALL the assignments.
  7. Find a community of people on the same journey. In-person or online, either one helps. Reach out for support. Then accept the support when offered.
  8. Do a Kickstart program to get re-focused.
  9. Rehearse your responses to peer pressure and the crazy talk in your head because you will need to know how to talk back when it starts.
  10. Create a Vision Board to paint a clear picture of your goal.
  11. Go for therapeutic bodywork with the intention of getting unstuck.
  12. Keep in mind that working toward a desired outcome isn’t always easy. It isn’t supposed to be.

Any of the above mentioned options can help rekindle that inner fire. Also, it is important to remember that we all face obstacles, even the most talented among us. The only difference between elite athletes, scientists, and artists, and the rest of us, is that they practice their thing even when they don’t want to. They realize that there is a benefit from facing whatever stops them, and they push to get past the barrier. They understand that can require hard mental and physical work!

So, ultimately, it is a matter of showing up and applying pressure to breakthrough whatever stops us from doing the thing, no matter how we feel about it.

As the famous tagline goes, “Just Do It!” I’ll add, “Every day, even when you don’t want to. Remember, it is a practice, not a perfect. Keep doing the dang thing!