Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gumption for Good Things

Why is it so difficult to do things that are good for us? Eating healthy, doing exercise, staying in touch with people, saving money, etc. We know these things are beneficial and will make us feel better down the road somewhere, but they require additional effort and gumption, which often keeps us from being fastidious about it.

Conversely, why do we continue to do things that make us feel less-than-amazing? Drinking, fast-food, staying up late, watching hours of TV, shopping sprees, etc. Are these options "too easy" and play to our temptations? Or maybe they lure us in by promising "short-term" happiness and instant gratification.

Logically, we know we should do more of what makes us feel good and less of what makes us feel like crap. Yet, we keep skip the gym and/or stay out late at a bar. Is it a willpower issue or lack of discipline? Or is it that we don't make it a priority to change our habits? Maybe we don't have a compelling vision or goal to help keep us on track.

I think part of it is that we quickly forget how much better we feel after doing something "good". I know that if I could bottle up the "post-biking" and "post-yoga" feeling and remind myself of it, I would be a lot more consistent at doing it.

As with most things, much of it is controlled by our perception; what we tell ourselves can either fool us or help us. I know many times I've convinced myself that I'd have more fun going home to relax than hitting the gym. It's in that split second where you can intervene in your thinking. Remind yourself about how you good you feel after a workout or how blah you feel sitting on the couch.

About a year ago, I was doing weights next to this guy in the gym and saw that on his weight belt, he had written the following inspiration:
"I don't like lifting, but I love having lifted."

I think this saying is adapted from writers who have the same sentiment towards sitting down and putting words to paper. Interestingly, his mantra stuck with me for a long time and I now think about it when I need a little gumption of my own.

I think it was especially memorable because the guy was totally ripped. It's nice to see that even the people who look like they don't need motivation, still need a little help to get 'er done.

  • What are some of the "good" things you'd like to do more of?
  • Do you have any sayings/mantras you use to help yourself do it?


SB said...

I wish I had the Gumption to not overeat unhealthy food. The burrito at Baja Fresh just sounded so good and so easy to have to for lunch; until I ate the entire thing. That was about 30 minutes ago and I still feel sick form it Anyway, I think it’s important to do some of the not-so-good things that were listed: watching TV, shopping, drinking, eating baja fresh :): the more important thing is that you do those “bad” things in moderation. I think its good to enjoy those things everyone once in awhile and to remember that even the “good” things can become bad if you don’t do them in moderation. For example, I have a friend that is obsessed (too much gumption?) about fitting in her workout that when we travel together, it can become almost unfun b/c we have to work the day around the workout and she’s not in a good mood if she has to miss it.

aha said...

"Good habits beget good habits... bad begets bad"

This is what I think of all the time-- it's a lot easier to choose the healthy option when I've been eating healthy, and when I've been a slug it's a lot easier to not go workout. It's a lot easier to do those dishes NOW when the kitchen has been clean for two days than if the kitchen is and has been a wreck...