After David’s post yesterday on starting to track again, I shifted what I was posting for today to bump this classic! We all need this as we work out and just do life. What is most important to you? Do you fall into impulse decisions for the here and now?
What is more important to you — your ideal fitness level or a hot fudge sundae? Which do you want more?
What is more important to you — being lean, fit and strong, or shutting your eyes again after the alarm goes off in the morning? Which do you want more?
So often we are faced with the challenge of an immediate desire vs. an ultimate desire.
Our ultimate desires are our long-term goals — be healthy, be fit, get ripped, see a 6 pack, jump higher, run farther, live longer, have more energy, see our grandkids grow up, etc.
Our immediate desires are entirely different — eat that dessert, sleep in, watch TV, veg out, supersize the fries, have a few beers, raid the cupboard, etc.
When asked what’s important to us, we always say it’s those ultimate desires — our long term goals. And yet all too often we sacrifice those ultimate desires to satisfy our immediate desires. We cave in to our cravings!!!! How foolish!
Have you ever heard the Bible story about Jacob and Esau? Esau was in line to inherit all the blessings of a first-born son (called the “birthright”) as the oldest son of Isaac. But what did he do? He gave it all up for a bowl of soup! He came in from the field hungry, and his little brother Jacob had a bowl of stew, and when Esau asked for it, Jacob said, “Sure, if you’ll give me your birthright”. Esau sacrificed everything for a bowl of stew! What an idiot! Right??
Yet we do it every day too! We eat that dessert, knowing we are giving up our “birthright” so to speak, one bowl of stew at a time. We skip that workout, and act just like Esau. Why is it so easy for us to see the foolishness in others and yet not see it in ourselves.
Why are we so quick to sacrifice what we really want in order to satisfy an impulse? Why is the life of most Americans dictated by impulse cravings? I believe it’s because we’ve lost our ability to discipline ourselves. We’ve lost the ability to tell ourselves NO!
Write down what’s important to you. Do it today! And name those things your ultimate desires. They can be related to your health, your family relationships, your career, your walk with God, your service to the community, your legacy. Write them down. And then realize that every day you will be faced with immediate desires (bowls of stew) that you will be tempted to give all that other stuff up for. Will you be like Esau and cave in? Or will you stay true to your ultimate desires? You can’t have both. Satisfying the immediate desires almost always makes it either harder or impossible to have your ultimate desires.
Here’s a trick that I’ve learned == Flip the desires. Let’s say your ultimate desire is to lose 43 pounds in 90 days (like I did in round 1). Whenever you are faced with an immediate desire, like that hot fudge sundae, flip it with your ultimate desire (losing the weight). Ask yourself, which would I rather have, that hot fudge sundae or to be 43 lbs lighter, RIGHT NOW! The hard thing about ultimate goals is they don’t happen fast, and they seem far off so they get overshadowed by an immediate desire, even if that immediate desire is much smaller than the ultimate desire. If giving up that sundae would make you lose 43 lbs immediately, would you give it up? SURE! But when you are sitting there, staring at it, inhaling that aroma, all of a sudden your mind starts playing all sorts of dirty tricks on you (“it’s only XXX calories, you can burn it off with a little extra cardio, you’ll get back on track tomorrow, etc”). It’s just like Esau and the dumb bowl of stew!!!
Don’t listen to your cravings. Don’t give in to impulses! Make yourself a promise that if you didn’t plan ahead to do something, you won’t do it in the heat of the moment. Do I have a cheat meal occasionally? Yes, I do. But I plan for it. I know that on Thursday night I am going out with my wife, and I will allow myself ________ (fill in the blank). That’s very different than being at the store, seeing that bag of cookies, and caving in and buying it and eating half the bag. That tells your cravings that they are in charge. Instead, tell your cravings that YOU are in charge. You make the decisions on YOUR terms, not based on an impulse.
My rule of thumb == ANYTIME you have an impulse to do something that you didn’t already plan ahead to do (skip a workout, cut a workout short, eat ______, etc). the answer has to be an automatic NO! Never let the impulses win or they will only get stronger. And impulses NEVER get you to your goals.
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