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Why Instant Gratification Can Ruin Your Plans

The desire for instant gratification can lead to damaging all or nothing behavior.
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Why Instant Gratification Can Ruin Your Plans

All or Nothing Behavior – The Struggle is Real

You HAVE to give it 110% in order to see results! But why do we believe that in order to give it that 110% for results, it means giving up everything, a.k.a. going ALL IN and not living our normal day-to-day life, a.k.a. doing NOTHING? The answer for Jay is the desire for instant gratification via the numbers on the scale.

His thoughts, feelings and actions around this are completely understandable because it worked for him in the past, so it “should” work for him now. I go back to when I watched Jay’s first “let’s see how much they lost” weigh in on the Biggest Loser and remember thinking “WOW! He lost 26 pound, that’s amazing!” The look of surprise on his face as well as the HELL YEAH feeling he displayed provided instant gratification that what he was doing was paying off. The interesting thing is how because of this type of instant gratification, Jay’s all or nothing struggle manifests in many areas of his life. He is NOT alone, as this is very common for many people.

How you are in one area of your life, you are everywhere!

Tell me if this sounds like what you have done in the past.

You want to make a change in your health, lifestyle and fitness. On Friday, you decide that on Monday you are going to start eating better, going to the gym every day and get to sleep at a decent hour. “Eating better” means giving up all carbs, filling your lunches with salad, maybe having 1 egg for breakfast, measuring your chicken to 4 ounces for dinner and ultimately cutting your calorie intake to a range of 1000-1200. Your “going to the gym” means going to every class, walking/running on the treadmill, finding a trendy workout that you want to try and go at it alone resulting in feeling completely sore and exhausted. Being that you are exhausted and not taking in calories from carbs and enough protein, it’s very easy for you to sleep, except that you also want to sleep during the day, lose concentration and become very cranky. You also avoid going out with friends because you do NOT want to be tempted, you complain all the time about what you miss and even though you lost 5 pounds that first week, the instant gratification, you’re soon thinking how you HAVE to lose 10, 20 or 30 more pounds. Then you crash after a few weeks and feel it’s too hard to lose weight and feel good. Too much giving it your all and having nothing doesn’t work for the long term.

Why do we make it so hard on ourselves to create the healthy lifestyle we want, when it can be so much simpler?

Jay’s struggle with the above is a direct result of an assumption that it worked in the past so it’s going to work this time. The only challenge is that Jay has many distractions such as work, family, friends, temptations all around him and the normal daily stresses that are reality. We’ve been working on awareness and acceptance of what is; and what does he want to do about it. So far he’s said several times that he’s going to journal everyday, but has excuses as to why he doesn’t. My favorite last week was when I asked him where his entries were his response was, “all is well, just haven’t.” Then he follows up with the disappointment of the scale not moving.

[TIP: If you capture all of your thoughts, feeling and action during the good days, it helps you to move through those tough times when you are about to fall off track.]

Just to take a quick step back for a moment, Jay is also working with Thomas Madden, Owner/Partner of Heroes Journey Crossfit on nutrition, form, functionality, stability and strength. Thomas gave Jay a nutrition plan. Why isn’t it working for Jay just yet? His all or nothing mentality is preventing him from wanting to have “too many calories” that Thomas is asking him to ingest. His fear of having more than nothing is preventing him from simplifying and enjoying all that life has to offer. The only person preventing Jay from becoming vibrantly fit is Jay because he’s stuck in believing it has to be hard in order to be successful. Let me remind you that Jay values freedom tremendously and being stuck thinking that his life has to be all or nothing is a huge violation of this. Jay is the only one violating his own value, his team hold it at the forefront of how we work with him.

When the WANT to becomes stronger than the HAVE to, all or nothing behavior easily goes away.

While Jay is learning about why he’s making these conscious choices, understanding the difference between have to vs. want to, and redefining how his values work for him, he is slowly moving away from the all or nothing behavior. He’s beginning to trust the process that his team is working together to help him simplify his conscious choices and achieve the vibrantly fit life he desires. In the end, Jay will have life long sustainable results because of his desire to learn and be open to letting go of “what he knows.”

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