THE UNHAPPINESS TRAP: HOW TO ESCAPE
When it comes to healthy habits (e.g. being active and eating well) we know what we should do.
DOING is the hard part
We’ve all made bold resolutions in a surge of motivation. But then, we don’t keep them. Why not?
What stops us from taking action, is the fuzzy monster in our mind. Fuzzy, because we don’t see it clearly, and it looks a lot bigger than it is.
When we build up this “fuzzy monster” it becomes easier to rationalize and justify poor decisions. Essentially, we build it up to the point where we tell ourselves:
Sadly, when there is this disconnect between between our desires (health and vitality) and our actions (procrastination and poor short term decisions), we end up in the “unhappiness trap”.The “unhappiness trap” gets more painful as time goes on … And we get more desperate, because every day, escape looks harder and harder.
So we look for big, magic solutions, that are, unfortunately, doomed to fail. So, desperate for some form of relief from this misery, we then turn to food for brief moments of comfort and pleasure. Do this often enough, and we begin to mistake pleasure for happiness.
The sad thing in all of this is, not taking action on something we truly want, feels awful.
It wears us down, it’s demoralizing, and it doesn’t matter how much we try to rationalize and convince ourselves, at our core, we can’t be happy, when we consistently act against our best interests.
On the other hand … Starting on a new path, getting more active, eating to nourish rather than soothe … We start to feel really awesome.
Is it just the food and exercise?
No. It’s because we’re finally taking action on something that matters to us … Our own well-being.
This is why small actions matter.
They point to something bigger, the driving mindset behind the actions.
The switch from: “What’s the point, it doesn’t matter”
To: “Every choice contributes to a growing sum of actions, that when added up, become something big”
One way to think about our actions is that any one action, by itself, is almost meaningless, yet on the other hand, that same action, repeated many times,is very impactful.
We can choose focus on the single action (“this one time”), or the growing sum (Our repeated daily habits), and the one we choose to focus on … will shape our behavior.
It’s true, any single bout of activity is inconsequential, but the habit of being active daily is invaluable.
Focusing on “this one time” is a way to avoid feeling conflicted about our values: we’re not choosing between our desire for Fast Food or a healthy meal … because eating one junk food meal is an insignificant act.
But when we consider the accumulated cost of eating junk food daily, the result looks very different.
It’s so easy to discount the significance of one action, isn’t it? That’s why it’s important to remind yourself that your health is shaped one choice at a time.
One healthy choice, made day after day, is how you get life-changing results.
Focus on your next win. Every choice matters.