It’s impossible – those dreams we have and the ideals we want to live up to – those things which we know we ought to do but don’t do. And knowing we deliberately avoid these things says something – that we know what we are avoiding and make other poorer choices. Well, our choices now may lead to problems later.
The Cost of My Choices
Let me start out by saying that I do consider myself fortunate in many ways. First of all, as of the date of writing this, I have lived a total of 58 years. Not bad. More than some and fewer than many. And I would prefer not to end anytime soon. However…
Two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It’s controlled with pills and diet (although I still need to do better with my eating habits.) The thing is, this was a preventable disease, but throughout the 56 years leading up to my diagnosis, I chose things that would increase my risk of contracting the disease. Like eating, smoking, not exercising, and being overweight.
These were all preventable and even though I knew I needed to take better care of myself, I didn’t. It always happens to someone else, right? I’m invincible, right? Not so much.
Here’s an interesting journal entry a week after I was diagnosed:
One week as a diabetic. Eating healthier than I ever have. Starting to exercise. But these suck because of the reason. Eyesight diminishing – can only see the shapes of what I’m writing here, not the actual letters; it’s frightening. Feet still tingling. Injuries could be deadly – I don’t want to lose a foot.
Read today that Type 2 diabetes was preventable – I did it to myself; unlike those born with it. They’re blameless; I’m not. Sort of like smoking – my decision, my health – society’s price tag.
I’m doing better, but I’m still on the pills and could do better with my diet. Let’s call me a “work in progress.” But, I recently quit the gym and left my personal trainer because I realized (besides the high price tag) that I needed to do this on my own or not do it at all – and watch my health continue to deteriorate.
What Can You Do?
You can go to a million seminars, read a million books, follow a million people on social media, or heck, even win a million dollars and, while these might help (don’t focus on the money), there is still only one answer – and that is you.
Here are some things that might help:
Pen, Keyboard, Mic – You Pick
The point here is that you take the time to write or record your ideas, dilemmas, and choices. Get them down and then stand back and take a good look. Write your pros and cons if you must but note what your options are and make your choices deliberate.
I know from experience that writing things down helps me understand whatever it is that’s in front of me. It might be a school choice, a career choice, a partner choice, or whether or not I should go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s.
Writing, or recording helps with choices (listing things in columns are one of my favorites) because then you can brainstorm and even go back later and “listen” to your thoughts. The answer is often staring you back in the face – it’s maybe that you don’t like the answer you see because it demands more than you wanted to give.
Take Action on Your Thoughts
It’s great that we write things down, but what do we do with them now? I have a bunch of journals with great ideas, grand plans…and a lot of morose ponderings (a phrase I’ve substituted for depression – like it?) But here’s something I pulled out from over 30 years ago. See if it applies to you today:
As I sit here alone behind my four walls, I see exemplified on my bookshelf that which I desire to be:
- “The Complete This…
- “The 10 Steps To…”
A literary reflection of what I wish to be that makes me realize I’m not whole.
Don’t just “wish upon a star,” make a plan that gets you to where you want to go and to who you want to be…and be ruthless in your intent to follow through.
That Little Small Voice
Another great way to know what it is that you need to do or change is to listen to that little small voice; that gut-feeling if you prefer. It’s there, and it’s banging loud from within. The problem is that life pounds louder on the other side. And in between the two is you: that debating, rationalizing, and sometimes foolish self that fears moving forward with anything because it’s too hard or requires that we give up things that are pleasurable – in the moment.
And sometimes that’s exactly the problem: we are sensual people and live mostly from our senses; those things that we can see, touch, smell, taste, and hear. Far too often we base our decisions on pleasing our five senses, yet knowing that it harms only one person – you!
Find your way to listen to your small voice. Whether it’s a walk, a boat ride, meditation, talking with a friend – don’t shut that voice up. Let it speak and learn to listen. Often, what works as well is to ask yourself: “If I had to choose right now I would…”.
It’s On You!
That’s what I realized when I left my trainer – it’s on me. I was either going to continue with the exercises she developed for me, or I was going to return to my couch-potato mindset, gain weight and know my health would continue to deteriorate. And that’s why I wanted to write this post. This is not an “I think” moment but an “I know” moment – the choice, meaning the success or failure, is for each of us to make.
Don’t pretend it’s not. Don’t ignore what you know you have to do. Don’t do those things that harm you; they may not catch up to you now, but they will catch up to you.
Do what you know you need to do – Do what you know to be right.