Recently I joined a group of business owners that gets together once a week to help each other out. One of the members of this group, a chiropractor, told a great story last week that I want to pass on – so here it is.
Suppose you are walking along and you notice you have a pebble in your shoe. You are able to shift it out of the way, but it keeps getting back under the ball of your foot and starts to get annoying. What do you do?
You could ignore the problem - keep trudging along in discomfort and hope that the pain goes away. Maybe if you ignore it long enough you'll forget about it.
You could go to your doctor and get a prescription for some heavy painkillers. Then walk yourself to the pharmacy (annoyed with the pain) anxious for that medication that will finally allow you to deal with your problem. After all, if you mask the pain it's not really there anymore, right?
You could make an appointment with a surgeon to get a little hole cut in the ball of your foot so that pebble can rest in there and not bother you anymore.
Or you could just take off your shoe and dump out the pebble.
I know, this story is a little ridiculous but it makes a great point. So many people acquire health problems for one reason or another, but instead of removing the thing that is causing the problem they go to incredible lengths to deal with it.
Let's suppose you have slowly put on an extra 30 pounds over the last couple of decades and it is starting to get on your nerves. Everyone has a different metabolism and some people put on weight much easier than others. But the bottom line reason is that you take in more calories than you burn or put out – that's it.
You can take the first approach above and ignore it. Maybe your metabolism will change and you will all of a sudden start losing weight – not likely. Or you can just accept the fact that you are not as young as you used to be and gaining a lot of weight is just a normal part of the aging process, except that it isn't.
You can take the second approach and find that magic pill that will allow you to eat whatever you want and burn off the fat. Or find that pill that just makes food look disgusting and destroys your appetite. I know you see these advertisements on TV all the time, but do they really work? No.
You can take the third approach and go to the surgeon for gastric bypass surgery. Get them to cut out part of your stomach so that you just can't eat much anymore. This may work for the very small number of people that are morbidly obese for genetic reasons, but not for most of us.
Or you can address the problem. Eat less and exercise more. Just take off your shoe and dump out the pebble.
I know it's not that easy to reverse decades of habits and lifestyle choices, but this is really the only approach that directly addresses the problem without simply masking the symptoms. I know many advertisers tell you what you want to here – that you can lose weight without really trying – but they're just playing your emotions to lighten your wallet, not your waistline.
Start small by replacing one bad habit with one good one. Don't try to do it all at once. If you drink soda, replace one soda a day with one bottle of water, then two, three or however many you drink. If you eat huge portions, start using a smaller plate at one meal, then two and three. If you watch too much TV, start walking in place during the commercials of your favorite show, then during the whole show, then other shows. Hopefully, you'll eventually want to walk outside away from the TV. The point is to start small.
Denis Waitley, former US Olympic Team sports psychologist says “There was never a winner who wasn't a beginner". Don't expect overnight changes. Start addressing the real problems that got you to the place you don't want to be and change something, one thing. Keep it up and you will eventually find yourself where you do want to be.
The need for instant gratification is the enemy of success.
Copyright (c) 2007 The Brain Code LLC
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