As much as I love my hashtag #ItMatters and believe in what it represents – healthy choices matter, self-acceptance matters, happiness matters – I’m going to propose another one with an equally important message:
All too often, in the face of a difficult choice, we become paralyzed. When it comes to our healthy living goals, we might be afraid to let go of eating our favorite foods. “Wait … eating healthy means that I can NEVER have cheesecake again???” That seems impossible to imagine, and we turn away from that choice.
Or maybe we set a goal to establish a daily workout routine but feel overwhelmed in the face of our already jam-packed lives. “I’m too tired this morning … I’ll start next week,” is our response and we hit the snooze button, endlessly postponing our commitment.
“I’ve put it off this long, so what’s another day?” we tell ourselves.
But what are we waiting for?
Y’all know how I feel about “motivation,” right? Well, if you don’t, I’ll tell you: our standard notion of motivation is complete and utter BS. Motivation isn’t some external force that washes over us, like a wave in the ocean crashing onto the shore. In all the years I was obese I always imagined “if only I could muster the motivation to eat right, I’d be able to stick to my diet and lose weight.”
What I didn’t know then is that motivation is an entirely internal force.
Motivation isn’t something we can sit on our beach towel waiting for. That wave isn’t coming, or if it does, the tide goes out all too soon, leaving us stranded there once again, motivation nowhere in sight.
Whatever it is you’ve been putting off until you feel more “motivated” … do it anyway.
I’m gonna say it again: Do. It. Anyway.
Do it even though you don’t feel like it. Do it even if it makes you uncomfortable. Hell, do it because it makes you uncomfortable. Do it because you’re pretty sure you’ll fail. Do it in spite of what everybody else does. Do it even though some people will tell you that you can’t. Do it even though that voice in your head is telling you to hit the snooze button and start next week.
When you do it anyway, over time that action becomes a habit. Habits are a funny thing. We aren’t born with them; we learn them. We practice them. They become engrained and we do them without thinking about them. We brush our teeth because it’s a habit (and it feels gross not to). We don’t expend a bunch of mental energy asking ourselves if we “feel like” brushing our teeth. On those occasions when we’re exhausted and just want to go to sleep, we stumble into the bathroom, put the toothpaste on the toothbrush and git ‘er done. We do it anyway.
I am not exaggerating when I say that healthy living habits are the same damn thing. As we launch that daily exercise commitment, we lace up our shoes, grab the car keys, head to the gym and git ‘er done. We stop overthinking it, hemming and hawing about whether or not we “feel like it” … we do it anyway.
Motivation comes and goes like the ocean tide. Instead of waiting for the tide to come in, let’s tie our commitment and resolve to the knowledge that we deserve nothing less than our very best lives. Nobody, not me, not anybody, always feels like living up to that standard. But know this: we have the power to affect every single change that we want to see in our lives. Is it going to be easy? Pffft, don’t be ridiculous! We have to put that change into action and the way to we do that is to … (you guessed it) do it anyway. So let’s set the bullshit excuses down. It’s time to #DoItAnyway.