Remember David After the Dentist? The adorable, toothless, drugged-up toddler (maybe he was a toddler – I’m bad at telling how old kids are) that made us all laugh til we cried? Literally, everything he said, we were all just like, “YES, DAVID, YES.” I personally loved to do the crescendo’ed AAAGHHHHHHH whenever I rode in the backseat of anyone’s car.
This post has nothing to do with any of that.
BUT! I love David and I’ll take any opportunity to re-watch the video… and his question at the end, “Is this going to be forever?” has been on my mind lately. A lot. A lot a lot.
I’ve been thinking about different healthy behaviors – what we eat, for example, or how active we are – and I’ve been wondering: Is this going to be forever?
As in, when I’m 80 years old, will I be waking up at 5am to go to spin class?
Or, when I’m old and wrinkly, will I be eating a mostly unprocessed plant-based diet?
Because sometimes, in the moment, or just like…on a Wednesday that hasn’t been going super well… these things seem REALLY HARD. And I start to wonder, is this something I’m always going to do, or is this a fad?
And some things – like sleeping in or pigging out on french fries or drinking one too many margaritas – are just so easy. And they feel really good.
In the moment.
They feel really good in the moment.
But then the next morning, you have a headache.
Or your face starts to break out and you feel bloated.
Or you’re late to work and have to rush all day to make up for it.
And over time, these ‘feel good in the moment’ behaviors, start to lead to things that feel not good. Like getting fired because you’re always late. Or gaining 50 pounds. Or being told that your liver is cirrhotic. But when we’re two margaritas in, we’re never like, “You know what, I should probably stop right here, because in thirty years I might get liver cancer.”
What? No. Literally no one has ever said that.
The hard thing about healthy choices is that they ALMOST NEVER result in immediate gratification. Yet, the world we live in is one of immediate gratification. Everything is ‘right now’ and we think that our happiness or comfort or wellness or acceptance or…everything… should be right now. Some things take time. You don’t just go to the gym one time and then BAM you’ve got Michelle Obama arms. Or like… eating spinach one time does not make you the healthiest person there ever was/Popeye.
That’s why, when we’re faced with the choice of a salad versus french fries, we almost always go for the french fries. (And when we do go for the salad, we feel deprived/victorious in our adherence to healthy eating, so we end up bingeing/rewarding ourselves later on). Because we don’t make food (or fitness, or sleep, or like…any) choices based on how it’s going to affect us long term, as a part of a whole, but how it’s going to affect us RIGHT NOW, as in, “Is this shit going to taste super good or nah?” We think of each little decision we make as something separate, as opposed to super connected choices that have a huge combined impact on our overall lives.
I ought to make one.
I guess it’s just… when we’re trying to be healthier versions of ourselves, it’s important to re-frame things for the bigger picture (that almost feels like a pun). It’s important to remember WHY we want to be healthier, instead of thinking about each choice as something small and individual.
And I don’t mean like, “Spring break is in a month and I want to look super hot in a bikini to make Brad jealous.”
(Oh Brad. It’s always a Brad, right?)
Maybe you’re turning 50 in a month, and you’re starting to realize that if you don’t take better care of yourself, you won’t be able to watch your kids/grand-kids grow up.
Maybe you’ve got issues with anxiety, and you’ve noticed that you genuinely feel more in control of your feelings on days that you exercise.
Maybe the feeling of accomplishment that you get from completing a workout fuels your entire day.
Maybe you have some extra weight you’re carrying around, and it impacts your ability to run/jump/play/be the person you want to be.
Whatever it is, remember it. Because it is a big picture idea. And that’s the only way you’re going to be able to make forever change.