I want to go for a walk, dammit.
My only problem is that I don’t really want to go for a walk because, well, Netflix.
And Netflix has seasons and seasons of Friends.
Netflix usually wins. It’s the frozen dinner version of a home-cooked life, the quick and easy way to spend my time instead of investing that same time and much more effort on myself.
Typically, when Netflix wins, that means I lose. I may immediately feel the relief of not having to think while my favorite characters entertain me, but ultimately, I know my health suffers with every hour I choose to sit, inactive.
Yep, that’s me—the sloth on the sofa wearing comfy yoga pants, scarfing fries (with a side of ranch, please!) as I watch six fake people live much more interesting “lives” than I am living right now. Nothing truly exciting happens on my couch. Go figure.
There’s nothing wrong with a few days spent like this infrequently. We all need down time. But I should admit a couple of things: 1) I work from home 85 percent of the time doing a mostly sedentary job in front of a computer. 2) For weeks, when I have logged out of work, I have been tuning in on the couch.
If I keep it up, I know it’s eventually going to negatively impact my quality of life one way or another.
My inactivity and poor diet choices can’t be blamed on anyone or anything else. It all boils down to this: my brain knows I should do one thing, but I ultimately choose to do another.
This concept of wanting to do something because we know it’s the right thing to do, but then not doing it is called cognitive dissonance. According to Google:
cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance (noun): the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.
Essentially, we don’t agree with our own actions.
It can apply in any area of our lives. Right now, I’m tired of resenting every time I choose the cake mix over the mixed greens or the extra fries over exercise. I’m sick of being mad at myself for these choices later. This is not me, this is not mindful living. I can choose better for myself.
I’m so grateful for what I have, my abundance. I certainly don’t hate myself or my body—so why am I choosing long-term life and health effects just so that I can spend the next 30 minutes dipping my arteries in ranch dressing while wondering if Ross and Rachel will ever get their sh*t together?
Time to take a step back and examine myself and my choices.
First, why do I choose TV? For me, there’s only one reason, and it’s no longer a good enough one—because I want to be immediately entertained. Why do I choose the junk food? Again, there’s just one reason: only because it tastes good.
When I look at it from the perspective of why I’m choosing what I’m choosing, it gets really easy to see what’s best for me.
The key is all in my misplaced focus. I’ve been so much more attentive to what I want to do in this moment instead of what I truly want out of my life. No surprise here, instant gratification is instantly gratifying after all. But—reality check—my moments make my life. Today’s instants are tomorrow’s past. Every singular choice represents a portal for potential change.
Our job is to see past this instant, keep our why in mind and make our decisions from that place of greater good, knowing we have the chance to better ourselves with every choice.
What’s your why?
When I think about mine, it’s simple. I want to feed my body the nutrients it needs to help me grow stronger—I’m a traveler and hefting aptly-named luggage takes strength. I want to maintain a healthy weight for my frame so I can run to catch that plane when my layover is cut short. I want to keep my feet versus losing one or both to complications from diabetes, so I can traipse around places I’ve never seen. I want to live to see my life unfold and conquer my big dreams instead watching fake lives on my big screen.
Excuse me while I peel my bum off the couch and pick the Cheetos off my chin. Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler and Joey will understand.
I’m fortunate to have my health and my life ahead of me; I can’t afford to trade it for anything, not even good Friends.
Author: Kristin Bagwill
Editor: Catherine Monkman