I recently joked that I wanted to give a speech at a high school graduation in which I would site a bunch of depressing statistics about their likelihood to get divorced, dislike their jobs, go on anti-depressants, get addicted to social media, and be obese. I guess it’s not really a funny joke but laughter seems to be a pretty good coping mechanism for sad truths.
Why is that true though? Humans have a deep need to be loved and known so why do marriages that start off well end up loveless or divorced? Why do Americans who make more money than the rest of the world and have the greatest degree of freedom in career choice feel such dissatisfaction? Why, as creatures in need of social interaction, does social media make us depressed while also becoming addictive? Why, with more resources than ever, do we struggle to achieve adequate health and fitness?
There are three ways that I know can help with regards to health and fitness and I also believe they could be applied to other areas of need as well.
1. You’re in it for the wrong reasons, find the right ones.
When done correctly, with the right mindset, eating right and exercising isn’t difficult. If given the choice between all the positive benefits of being healthy and all the negative benefits of being unhealthy, everyone would choose the positive benefits. So why on a daily basis do people’s decisions reflect otherwise? Because we want instant satisfaction and we seek it from the wrong sources. The purpose of marriage is not to make you happy. The purpose of profession (or the money that it brings) is not to make you happy. The purpose of our gym is not to make people happy, it’s to make people healthy and fit. Happiness is a moving target and doesn’t allow for the realities of life. What makes you happy today won’t satisfy you tomorrow and if something doesn’t make you happy does that mean you shouldn’t do it? Of course not. The pursuit of health and fitness will involve doing things that don’t make you happy in the moment but when done correctly, the end result will be a much deeper state of joy and satisfaction than the momentary happiness.
2. Seek professional help
Somewhere along the line we’ve been taught that we should be able to just get it done. I recently had a talk with a man in his 20’s who was struggling to get to the gym and I suggested a personal trainer for accountability. His response was that he “shouldn’t need” a trainer. Well, maybe not, but if you’re an overweight mid-20 year old who isn’t married and doesn’t have kids and can’t figure out how to exercise regularly because of your current job situation, and you wait till you feel you should need a trainer, it’s going to be too late. If you’re struggling, don’t wait and make the situation worse. If you’re not struggling, seek help just the same. The best version of your marriage, job, and body isn’t going to come from you and you alone so start sooner rather than later.
3. Spend more time with people you want to be like and less with those you don’t
This is common sense but difficult for many people to follow through on. One of the best things for newly weds is to spend time with an older couple who has a flourishing marriage several decades in. Seeing what it can be like and gaining wisdom from those who have done it is invaluable. Too often we tend to get herded by the crowd into a direction that isn’t good. Social media has made this even worse (ie kissy duck faces). If all your coworkers are sitting around the water cooler bitching, being another negative voice in the crowd doesn’t do any good. Instead, find someone further along the path and soak up their wisdom. If you’re trying to get in shape, spend time around people with a couple decades of fitness under their belts (ideally with a level of emotional and mental health to go with it). See how its done and follow suit.
Life isn’t meant to be easy and neither is the path towards health and fitness. But when done right, the end result is good and life is too.
Want some help? Schedule a No Sweat Intro.