Trade Guilt for Goals

by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYWe live our lives constantly talking about what we “should” do or “have to” do or be doing. I should weed the garden instead of taking a nap; I should clean the house instead of going out to lunch; I have to go to this event, even though I don’t want to, etc. This attitude carries over into health and wellness and, in my opinion, puts a negative spin on the whole process.

When you “have to” do something or feel like you “should” do something, you don’t feel excited about it; it’s a chore. Chores have a negative vibe about them and we all try to figure out a way out of doing them. We use our ability to rationalize to help us feel OK about not doing what we “have” to or “should” do. For example, I know I should take a walk, but it looks like it might rain. Or, I should get the grilled chicken, but this is a special occasion, so the fried chicken is OK.

People are very good at playing this game of rationalizing your way out of should do’s and have to’s to escape regular exercise and a healthy diet. The unfortunate thing is that the only one that is hurt by this behavior is YOU. If you rationalize your way out of exercising (the gym’s too far; it will be too crowded) and a healthy diet (I’ll eat better tomorrow; it’s just one day) it’s you who deal with the consequences of this behavior. Whether weight issues, health issues or both, you have to carry the burden of your behavior.

I would like to give you another perspective that might make it easier to live a more fit and healthy life.

Instead of thinking in the “have to” or “should do” mode, change the paradigm and start thinking in the “who do I want to be” mode.

Stop focusing on what you think you have to do and what you should be and flip it around. Ask yourself what you want to be. What do you want your life to be? What do you want to do to achieve this? Give yourself the control and the power over your choices. Humans like to be in control of their own lives; they generally hate being told what to do.

If you see choices regarding exercise and diet as things that other people are telling you to do, you will be less likely to do them. Instead, if you think about who you want to be and how you want to live your life, you will be more likely to make your own choices to support your desires.

So, who do you want to be? Do you want to be someone that can choose between taking the bus tour through the Tuscan countryside or the walking tour, or do you want to be the person who has no choice but to ride on the bus? Do you want to be the person who can play with your kids/grandkids or do you want to be the person who sits in a chair and watches?

Do you want to be the person that is still active and independent in your 80s and 90s or do you want to be the person in the bed in the nursing home that needs other people to help you dress, eat, etc.?

Who/what you want to be is a very personal choice. You should be the one to make this choice; someone else should not tell you who you want to be or what you should be or do.

Not only should you be making the choice about who/what you want to be and what kind of life you want to live, but you should also embrace the personal responsibility of achieving this. No gym, workout, trainer, nutritionist, etc. makes changes in your life; you make the changes. Change comes when you decide you want to make it happen, not when someone else tells you to.

So, spend a little time thinking, imagining about who it is and what it is you really want to be. After you have a clear picture of this, then start thinking about what you WANT to do to make your vision a reality. Take control of your life and then use others to help you stay on track of your vision. Don’t seek out others to tell you what or who you should be.

I believe that people are who they want to be and that change comes when the vision changes inside, not when they get a list of have to’s and should do’s from someone else.

Who do you want to be?

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