Everything we do in life is our own personal choice. And every choice we make has a consequence. We choose to drive to the speed limit, and if we don’t we might get a speeding ticket and 3 points on our driving licence. We choose to go to work every day, and if we don’t go, we don’t get paid, and we can’t afford to maintain our lifestyles. We choose to book a holiday and the consequence is that we have to save up our pennies to pay for it.
When it comes to improving our lifestyles, we also have lots of choices. But the ones that we find hardest to make the right decision on, are those that make us choose between instant gratification and our future goals. I wonder if it is because we live in a world of instant gratification. We want things and we want them now. We order goods online and they turn up the next day, or even the same day! We want entertaining, so we pick up our phones and scan social media, YouTube or iplayer for something to keep our brains busy. We rarely have to wait long for anything these days, but as the old adage goes, the best things in life are worth waiting for (and they are also worth fighting for!).
And these two themes run through to changing our lifestyles – we make poor choices about food and exercise, in favour of what will makes us feel good here and now, but it impacts on our future health and fitness, whether we achieve our goals and potentially our future happiness.
Choices and Sacrifices
With all choices that we make in life, there will always be an element of sacrifice. It’s this choice or that choice? And in choosing one, we sacrifice the other – we rarely get to have our cake and eat it (if you’ll pardon the pun)!
We want a house, so we sacrifice our social lives and holidays to save the deposit for the rent or the mortgage. We have children, so we sacrifice all sorts of things that we never knew we would (or even could) – lots of sleep, money and time – to keep our precious babies happy, healthy and content. We want qualifications, so we sacrifice our time to spend hours and hours studying for exams, writing essays, dissertations and theses. We want new clothes or shoes, so we set aside some of our salary or wages, and sacrifice a night out or another type of treat, to be able to afford them. We want a promotion, so we act above our pay grade, take on extra responsibility and work longer hours, sacrificing time with our families and friends, to prove that we are worthy of the next step up, and the bigger pay cheque. And when we have made that sacrifice, fought tooth and nail, and got what we wanted, we know it was worth it.
What have you made sacrifices for? Was it worth it?
When it comes to lifestyle change, whilst we encourage you to make small, sustainable changes, there will have to be some element of sacrifice. Because if you don’t change anything, how can you expect anything to change for you.
We are all capable of sacrifice. We know we are because we have done it in many areas of our lives. In the dictionary, sacrifice is defined as: ‘an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.’ Essentially, you give up something fairly important, for something even more important.
If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want will be the sacrificeAnonymous
So, I ask you, what is more important?
Being around longer for your loved ones or eating cheese?
Increased self confidence or choosing chips instead of salad?
Getting to the top of the stairs without being out of breath or not breaking a sweat in your workout?
Shouting ‘a size smaller please’ from the changing rooms, or taking an hour each week to plan meals and take a little longer to food shop?
Hitting goal weight or taking 20 minutes a day to track your food?
Being able to chase your children and grandchildren or exercising for 1 hour, 3 times a week?
Being a healthy role model for your children and grandchildren or Pizza Friday?
Reversing your diabetes or a starter, main and a dessert at your favourite restaurant?
Feeling happy and content or drinking pints of beer instead of pints of lime and soda, or a spirit and diet mixer?
You know what the answers to these questions are!
So next time you are staring into the fridge at the blue cheese dip, to go with the family pack of Doritos, a tub of ice cream and a 4 pack of fruit ciders, whilst you are settling down for a cosy night in, think,! ‘Do I want to enjoy this now and sacrifice my future goal, or do I want to sacrifice this now and bask in the glory of achieving my goal, just a few weeks from now?’
It might be an internal battle at first (or even an external one, depending on how well supported you are in this) but you win the battle once, and next time it will be easier. Make the right choice now and your future self will be so proud of you!
If you have been tracking your food, work out what your quick wins are, and choose to sacrifice the foods that are doing the most damage.
If you haven’t started tracking yet, sacrifice 20 minutes a day to start, and see what you can learn about the food you love, and how you can make it fit, so that you achieve your goals.
Think about every single choice that you make when it comes to your lifestyle, and make sure you pick the one that your future self will thank you for.