Discomfort Now or Misery Later?February 18th, 2010
When faced with a challenge, whether good or bad, many people have a long list of excuses why they don’t fully dedicate themselves to overcoming it. While the need to make changes may seem unpleasant or overwhelming, the long term consequences of not doing so are often far worse. There are few things that this applies to more so than your health.
Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, you only have one chance to make the best of the life you’re currently living. If you fail to address the many challenges that modern life poses to our health, you may find yourself physically or mentally incapable of living the type of life that you’d like to live. In short, you have the choice of dealing with discomfort now or increasing your chances of having to endure misery later.
Why You Should Think Like a World Class Athlete
Many of the world’s best athletes talk about their determination and how they do everything they can each day to improve themselves. They’re willing to overcome the immediate discomfort of training in favor of avoiding the misery of performing poorly when it matters most. They also realize that overcoming the temporary discomfort of training will greatly increase their chances of enjoying the fulfilling experience of accomplishment. Instead of a gold medal, the goal you’re training for is the good health that will allow you to more thoroughly enjoy every moment of your life.
I pride myself on being very determined, and in regard to my tennis game, I’d much rather experience the discomfort of training in the gym than the disappointment of performing poorly on the court. In fact, this incentive can even make the discomfort of training pleasurable, and it’s something that I apply to all aspects of my life, especially my health. I’m motivated to be disciplined with my lifestyle choices because I know it will result in a better quality of life that’s characterized by higher levels of energy, mental clarity, and emotional stability. For me, the fatigue, irritability, and depression that often results from unhealthy habits simply isn’t worth the temporary and superficial enjoyment that indulgence or laziness may bring.
You have the choice right now to stop making excuses and start addressing your health related challenges. Having the determination to do so can very easily be the difference between living a vibrant and happy life and succumbing to illness and regret.
Will You Be a Statistic?
Most experts agree that many of today’s most prevalent and debilitating health conditions are very much related to lifestyle choices. Some of the more obvious examples include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, thyroid disease, and multiple sclerosis. These conditions weren’t nearly as common just a century ago as they are today, and if you read the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, you’ll see that the primitive cultures he studied were virtually free of these illnesses and enjoyed vibrant health. Where did we go wrong?
Over the course of just a few generations, the quality of our food has become significantly worse and the amount of stress, chemical toxins, and electromagnetic radiation that we’re continuously exposed to has dramatically increased. These factors have become such common aspects of modern life that the thought of living any other way seems drastic and uncomfortable. For example, it should be obvious that natural whole foods are the best source of nutrition, and the people who realize this and live by it typically have vibrant health to show for it. However, many people instead opt for the ease and comfort of continuing to eat unhealthy processed foods that are high in sugar and contain potentially harmful chemicals. When they encounter poor health, many of them will be quick to blame their genetics or other factors that are out of their control instead of taking accountability for themselves and considering their negligence as a possible cause.
Embracing change and living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t guarantee happiness or the avoidance of disease, but it greatly improves the odds. Even if you do encounter poor health despite your efforts to live a healthy lifestyle, you can at least spare yourself from regret by knowing that you did your best and that without your effort, your health may have declined sooner and more severely. Besides, by already knowing what it takes to implement healthy habits, you’d be in a better position to regain good health. No matter how you look at it, taking good care of yourself puts you in a better position to get the most out of your life.
Even Blindness and Amputation isn’t Enough to Motivate Some People
Type 2 diabetes is a common disease that is very much related to lifestyle choices. It can often be reversed or easily kept under control by minimizing the consumption of foods that are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, or starch. Failure to properly control diabetes can lead to kidney failure, blindness, and amputation, but the prospect of making significant dietary changes is so undesirable or overwhelming to some people that they’d rather not do it. Instead, they’d prefer to risk losing their eyesight or their feet in favor of avoiding the discomfort of change.
How to Overcome the Discomfort of Change
In most cases, change is not nearly as difficult or painful as it’s originally perceived to be, and if it’s a change worth making, the benefits will often outweigh the difficulty by a significant margin. One of the most common reasons why change seems so difficult is the panic of not knowing what to do or how to do it. Fortunately, the solution to this is simple. Read! It can truly change your life. Chances are that many people have been through the same challenges that you’re experiencing and have taken the time to write about it. By taking advantage of this opportunity to learn from others, you’ll acquire the knowledge you need to take action, and once you do, the prospect of change will seem much less daunting. In fact, you may even come to enjoy the challenge.
Even with the appropriate knowledge, change can still be intimidating, especially if it’s one that will require a lot of work. One of the best ways to alleviate this is to break it up into smaller steps and pursue only one change at a time. Make the change as simple and easy as you need it to be, and once it becomes a routine and thoughtless part of your life, move on to the next one.
Most importantly, you need to have a strong source of motivation. Without this, there’s little hope. If the changes you’re looking to make are associated with something that you value deeply, then motivation will come more naturally. However, sometimes it takes a bit of creative thinking to make this connection. For example, it wasn’t until he realized that he could use his athletic ability to help others that Andre Agassi fully dedicated himself to tennis. For me, simply knowing that I want to be mentally sharp and physically active well into my old age is more than enough. It also helps that I’ve experienced what poor health is like and want no part of experiencing it again. I’ve come to realize that optimal health maximizes my enjoyment of life, and this is something I’m not willing to sacrifice.
Perhaps you don’t understand yourself well enough to know what truly inspires you, or perhaps you simply take your health for granted and don’t realize what you’re missing. Given today’s poor standard of “normal” health, nearly everyone has room to improve their lives by improving their health, and you at least owe it to yourself to try.
For more information on living a healthy lifestyle, sign up for my free course 7 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Happier and Healthier You.