And I’m not just trying to safeguard you against making a lot of crappy movies.
Remember that movie, Click, where Adam Sandler had a remote that he could use to fast-forward through monotonous parts of his life but then learned that those parts were actually really important and he realized he’d fast-forwarded through so much that he missed out on his life?
Life doesn’t begin when you reach a certain goal or accomplish a certain milestone; it’s what’s happening in the meantime. If you structure your life in such a way that you enjoy the day-to-day – that you enjoy the process – you’ll find that although those goals and milestones are still sources of pride, they are no longer the end-all-be-all. And when they lose the life-changing mystique, you lose the pressure of feeling like you aren’t really Living until they’re accomplished.
This pertains to living a healthy lifestyle, in particular. So many of us think “once I lose 25lbs, then I will…”
…do that 5K
But what happens when we lose that 25lbs and this still isn’t us?
Maybe we start to feel like we just need to lose another 25lbs and then that’ll be us! Or maybe we start to feel like it wasn’t worth the effort it took to get healthier because it didn’t transform our lives. Regardless, wouldn’t it have been better to find happiness, take up running, and be open to love while we were on that journey, instead of assuming it would be waiting for us at the end?
There is no “end” of the journey until the end of your life. And what kind of thing is that to look forward to?! Everything is a process and if you enjoy the process, you enjoy…everything?
Ok, maybe not entirely.
Will there still be mundane or frustrating aspects? Of course. But if you’re able to seek pleasure out of your day-to-day life, even in the midst of trying to make changes, not only will you be happier, but you’re more likely to be successful, too!
So what can you do to enjoy the process?
- Do things you enjoy. Instead of exercising in a way that you find dull or monotonous and end up dreading, try a variety of classes and formats to keep yourself interested. If you find one you love & want to pursue more, have at it!
- Don’t wait for anything. Do it now! Now, that doesn’t mean to approach things hastily, you can still plan ahead, but don’t put things off because you’re waiting for (insert excuse here). If you’ve always wanted to do a 5K, or a mud run, or walk the Great Wall of China, set a date, recruit some friends, commit, and make it happen! Committing to it will help keep you motivated to take the steps necessary to prepare, and odds are, you’ll have a blast doing it and wonder why you’d put it off for so long.
- Include your loved ones. There’s no reason to go it alone when you can incorporate friends and family into your new, healthier lifestyle! Invite the whole family to help cook a healthy meal. Ask a friend to catch up over a walk in the park. You may pleasantly surprised by how eager they are to be involved.
- Celebrate the small, along with the big. Instead of focusing only on big milestones, appreciate every marble in your jar and the work it took to get it there. The big outcome goals won’t feel like any less of an accomplishment, but you’ll be keeping yourself in a positive mindset by focusing on the small behavioral goals that are essential to reach the larger goals.
Discussion: Has there been a time in your life that you found yourself too focused on the outcome? Tell us about it. What are some ways that you use the strategies above to enjoy the process?