This post is a spin-off of Supersize Your Cup, and the topic was one of the suggestions I made for increasing your capacity to make room for healthier habits in your life.
Most of the time, Making Ourselves Happy is not at the top of our To-Do List. How did the world (our culture) come to this? When did we decide that the ultimate goal in daily life should be to work ourselves to the bone and sacrifice our own health for the sake of getting things done and making money?
I don’t know the answer, but I suspect it falls in the same category as the answer to the question of how we gain weight and wake up one day realizing we’re 40 pounds heavier than we want to be. It clearly didn’t happen overnight. But because we were on autopilot for so long, and got wrapped up in just keeping things going, we didn’t see what was going on until the effect was overwhelming.
How can we change it?
When you tell me that you can’t eat healthier because you’re too rushed in the morning to prepare, and after work you’re too tired to put in the effort to make a salad or healthy dinner…well, I believe you.
Some of you just want me to validate that you don’t have time. I’ll do that for you.
And then when you’re ready to try something new, I’ll help you come up with ideas for what you can try to fit into your day. But in the meantime, before you’re ready to buy the ingredients for a smoothie or salad, or pack your lunch at night, you can do something to help you increase your capacity for doing those things.
What is it that makes you happy? What do you do for fun? Do you even know what it feels like to have fun? Did you forgo your own fun when you had kids (or career, or marriage, etc), and now it’s all about life demands and others’ ideas of fun?
You have some questions to ask yourself if you want this to work. Think of something you could do that would make you feel good, even great. Is it needlepoint? Reading a book for fun? Going swimming?
When you gradually work to bring fun and happy things into your life, you’re also gradually increasing the Size of Your Cup (your capacity for stuff). When you don’t focus on forcing yourself to be healthier (because forcing is never a great feeling!), but instead focus on bringing happy and fun things into your life, all of a sudden you will catch yourself having the capacity for making healthier choices!
One day you’ll wake up and going to the gym will feel manageable.
You’ll decide to go to the grocery store and buy veggies and fruits that you’re going to use to try new recipes with.
You’ll catch yourself not feeling stressed out at work when the intensity and pressure goes up.
Call it misdirection. Call it cheating. Call it whatever you want to.
In the end, it’s a magnificent way to ease yourself into health.