I am reading the book, "The Willpower Instinct" by Kelly McGonigal, PH.D. And I want to share just one tip from the book that I think will help all of us resist the demons in our lives. I am paraphrasing the good doctor, but she essentially says that we need to stop rewarding ourselves. What does that mean your sexy yet confused little mind wonders? Well let me take you back to a couple of your last temptations.
You were at the restaurant for lunch or dinner and you were looking over the menu. You see the appetizer list which is always full of healthy deep fried choices! And you say to yourself, "Self, I know I shouldn't, but I'm going to have the fried potato skins dipped in the heart stopping and inflammation causing cheese & bacon because..." Not connecting? Then how about this scenario, "I know I shouldn't have that margarita or beer with almost 300 calories, but I'm going to because..." It is after the "because" that you and I may be heading straight into a death trap (literally). And that death trap may sound like one of the following:
I'm going on a diet on Monday
I'm going to the gym later and I will do a little extra
I ran this morning before work
I haven't had very much to eat today, and I have done well all week
You and I tend to reward ourselves when we do the right things by doing the wrong things. And that includes rewarding ourselves ahead of time (i.e. I'll excercise later to make up for eating like sh#*! now). I can't tell you the number of people I have seen at one of my favorite restaurants drinking a Margarita in their workout clothes. And please don't think my saggy butt is judging them, but they have to realize that the reward is canceling out their hard work (assuming they are wanting to lose weight). Now, if your goal isn't weight loss and you have the butt of a Brazilian bikini model or bodybuilder then go for the reward from time to time. Just know that if you are trying to lose a few pounds where you are too round then your reward is sticking to eating healthy right now. We all know that the run later or the diet on Monday may not happen. And in fact, we don't do weird diets anymore, because we have chose to eat healthy for life.
This concept can be applied to other areas as well, such as procrastinating on applying for a new job, starting that book you always wanted to write, saving money, starting your own business, and etc. In this instance we defiantly need to live in the here and now...the power of now! Make sure the rewards are just that...a reward.
Tony Russell, MA, LMHC