“Willpower is trying very hard not to do something you want to do very much.” ~ John Ortberg
Things have been going well and not well all at the same time. Is that even possible? I’ve been pretty sad lately because a knee injury has sidelined my workout and running efforts. I probably could have worked out this week, but it was hard to motivate myself knowing I was going to be in pain. Running was simply out of the question, as it hurt just to walk sometimes. I got back on the scale and was happy to see I had not gained anything, especially during my crappy eating binge of our snow days. There were times I should have said no when I whole heartedly said yes and it was reassuring to see that the healthy band wagon didn’t get too far ahead and I am still able to jump back on.
I realize, though, especially during these snow days, that I have a terrible problem with willpower. The fact seems to be that I don’t have any, or at the very least, I seemed to have misplaced it somewhere around the end of spring. I’ve tried finding it, but have not had any luck. I was doing so well last winter. Eating healthy, working out, letting myself have random treats when I needed them, but for the most part saying no to those things that were going to harm me in the long run (I only ate a small piece of a homemade red velvet birthday cake last year, so that should tell you something). I had gotten to the point where saying no felt good. I wasn’t doing it to be pretentious or show that I was better than anyone else or that I could say no when others were saying yes. I simply knew what that piece of cake/glass (bottle) of wine/cheeseburger was going to cost me in the long run and how I was going to feel if I gave in to the fleeting wanting; to that small dose of happiness I would feel during, but not after. After, of course, I was going to feel like utter crap.
But lately, the “cravings” are getting the best of me and while I still feel like crap when I give in, I keep going back for more anyway. Part of the reason I deleted my Facebook account was that I was spending too much time on there when I should have been concentrating on other things (work, family, in-real-life friends). I was wrapped up in this world of needing to know what someone ate for dinner last night, who went out with who, looking at photos, and spending too much time in the past. And you know what? Every time I did it, spent way too much unconstructive time online, spent too much time on profiles that I have no reason to be on anymore, read conversations that had absolutely nothing to do with me, I felt gross. Almost as if I had eaten an entire chocolate cake. I’d get upset because I wasted time, jealous because I wasn’t invited somewhere, hungover on information I did not need.
I spent too weeks off Facebook and really did manage to get more done. My basement is spotless. My bed was made everyday. I read three magazines. I was amazed at my willpower. I couldn’t believe that I, a self-proclaimed Facebook junkie, had kicked the bad Facebook habit.
But you know what? I hadn’t. I had deleted my Facebook account, I had deleted the apps from my phone and iPad. I had deleted the book mark from my computer. There really wasn’t an easy way for me to get back on without having to re-log in or re-download something. Essentially it wasn’t willpower. Willpower would have been having access to it, but making the conscious decision not to get back on. I made it close to impossible for me to get back on. Willpower would have been keeping my account, but forcing myself to limit my interactions and time online. I made it so there was no choice to make. I took the easy way out, the cowardly way out.
And really, the whole Facebook issue is reminiscent of most of the issues I have with my life. I lack the willpower to say no or make a better decision. Even when I know that what I am doing is the wrong choice I simply do it anyway because I can’t say no. And really, I can, but it’s hard and sometimes I don’t know what I want.
But instead of taking the easy way out, I need to “man” up. I need to learn to do what is best for me in the long run, not what is going to be a fleeting source of happiness. I have to stop being so blind sided by what is right in front me and begin looking at the big picture. I have to realize that pretty much everything is OK in moderation…but I need to make sure I am moderating (food, time online, time with family, etc.)
I’ve seen what I can accomplish when the challenge was easy. Now let’s see what I can do when we up the ante.