Monday, June 22, 2009

You Choose the Priority

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately on the concept of priorities.
Particularly when it comes to the things we “want” or “like.”
I’ve come more in touch with this as I work with myself, clients, and even friends on physical habits and goals.
There is often this frustrating contradiction between the ultimate goal and what a person is willing to do. But then when you zone in on the behavior, there is always some “reason.” I used to think of these reasons as excuses—the perplexing thingis why would someone be finding excuses to continue to do something that keeps them from what they want?

Just simply reading the runner’s world nutrition forum, you see a trend of people striving to eat better, yet stuck in their ways. They “want” to revive their metabolism, better fuel their running, but when it comes down to it the overall trends of action are the same, with perhaps a few token changes that make little difference in the big picture of things.
Often in discussing things with a client I find the person so excited about what they want, so determined to achieve a goal. Yet when I address a key behavior that hinders this, there’s always a reason for it.
I frustrate myself with this—how can I “know” something could be better, have the tenacious spirit and guts to do things “top notch style” and yet repeatedly do something I know holds me back?

Lately I have stopped looking at this as making excuses and faced it for what it is:
There truly is a need/want/like for the behavior.
To use eating habits as an example, you/me/she/he truly does “feel like that” or “like that” or “feel full” or “it’ working” with certain things.
At the same time, this is coming from those of us who would like to see an improvement, whether it be seeing how much more potential we can have in running, have better digestion, or a speedier metabolism.
This means change. If changing habits were something we felt like, we probably wouldn’t be in the old habits in the first place. We truly do like something about the way things are.
So it comes down to prioritizing: do we want the bigger goal or not?

I love ice cream, and right now the freezer is full of weight watchers ice cream sandwhiches.
I also love South Beach bars—they taste better than candy to me.
High fiber cereals are my favorite.
This morning I had one of those days when I could run forever—or at least a good 10 miler.
Here’s the thing: none of these choices would “hurt” me per say,
and they truly are something I like and can work with:
I'd a million times rather have a bar than a sandwhich. Kashi over rice crispies.And you know what? My stomach can tolerate a bit of lactose [I’m lactose intolerant], I could say I still eat way less fiber than the person next to me, and I can get enough calories despite eating diet-geared food, to do my running and whatnot.
I could have run 8-10 miles this morning without gimpifying myself, even still being at less than my average mileage this spring.
-- I have to ask myself what matters most: am I satisfied with okay or do I want to maximize my results, prioritize the big picture goals?
I've decided the latter to be true.
Fiber one sat in the pantry untouched, same with the bars and ice cream.
I ate PBJ which I happen to dislike and cereals I less prefer--becaue I know what I'd really "like" out of the choices.
I ran a solid hour on cruise, putting the rest in the bank for peak performance overall.
None of these choices were made because doing otherwise would have hurt me—
--it was done because I want to be the best I can be.

I love ice cream, and right now the freezer is full of weight watchers ice cream sandwhiches.

I have to remind myself that it's my life and ask myself what matters most:
Am I okay with what "works" or would I prefer maximum potential in my goals, my dreams?

This applies to all situations. You can eat what you like or feels safe, you train as makes you fulfilled today—but each choice I yours to decide: what do I want most?

While I’m talking about choices, another important thing to keep in mind as we write each page of our book of life, as we paint the future one stroke at a time.
Try replacing “I can’t” with “I won’t.” Instead of “I can’t give up this way of doing things because…” get real: “I won’t do it because….”
Then replace “won’t” with “will” and ask yourself what that would be:
“I will do this because…”

…and then it’s up to you to decide which I more worth it.

For example [using a common scenario when the fear of weight gain rules habits]:
“I won’t eat something with more calories when there is something lower calorie that’ more filling and tastes better.”
“I will eat the higher calorie item because I want the change in how my body uses calories for metabolism, muscle, and fuel so I’m leaner, stronger, and can get more out of my life and athletics. As a bonus I want to face a fear to eliminate it so I don’t have to carry it haunting me the rest of my limited life.”
…and decide which way you’d rather: which do you want more:
something that tastes better and feels more secure, or the long term dream/goal?

This really helps you get real with yourself: It’s up to you but you do make that choice.
It’s your future and your life—you make the choice about what matters most for the long haul


Okie said...

Hi girlie! What a great post this is! Truly inspiring. :) It really goes to show that we have to keep our "eyes on the prize" so to speak, if we want the ultimate goal! I love your breakdown of it, lovie. You are so smart! :)
Talk to you soon!

Elizabeth said...

I was thinking a lot about this very thing today. In fact, probably the whole last week. I have this attitude that certain things need to change and I'm not working hard enough to change them. Instead, I'm finding excuses. I was told that saying, "I'll try..." is a cop out. You need to say, "I will." Great post!

p.s. I gots some bagels sitting in my fridge with your name written all over them! :D