In life coaching and in counseling, visioning and goal work are an important part of laying the foundation for a plan that facilitates long term success and sustainability. Anyone who has lived a few days should be aware that there is an enormous gap in between good information and good action. When I know my why, I am much more likely to cross that gap.
Why am I out in my garage lifting weights in 25 degree temperatures? This one better be good, or the gap will not be crossed. For me, it’s because I believe in the benefits of resistance and mobility training on the body, soul and spirit. I see this as one ingredient in my long-term plan of living well. I also appreciate the character development that happens when I follow through on a personal commitment, no matter what the external circumstances are.
Why am I am making such a big deal about saying no to Isa when she tries to eat Bailey’s dog food? It’s actually not because I think that eating dog food is completely gross. In fact, we have a stash of dog food in our basement, in case some sort of catastrophic event would take place. The actual reason is that I believe whole-heartedly in the long-term benefits of drawing and enforcing boundaries. Because I believe in it and I have chosen to direct my actions from long-term vision, I am able to take a step that is temporarily painful (who wants to see that cute face go from a smile to a frown).
(On a side note, we haven’t really stock piled dog food, nor should you. That’s gross and non-sensical.)
Why am I sitting here writing a blog post? Rusty, my fellow dad-co-owner of Cheeky Bums, is a big guy with some background in martial arts and he told me it would be good. Yeah, well, what exactly does it would be good mean? …Which brings us full circle to the other reason why I was out in the garage lifting weights earlier.
The why that we often don’t spend enough time thinking about is the why we do things that hijack or derail our long-term success. Sometimes understanding this why is the thing that bridges the rest of the gap for us between information and healthy action.
Why did I eat so many milk duds at work this week? Well, my father-in-law gave them to me for Christmas and what am I going to tell him if he asks how I liked them. I mean really, I have to eat them, right? Besides, milk is good for you. Also, one milk dud probably has like 15 calories (nobody better respond to this post and tell me it’s more). What’s another 15 calories? Now some wise guy is going to pull a but those 15 calories add up. Yeah, but I already ate the other ones, so we’re really only talking about the next 15.
So, we can see that in this case the why is a whole bunch of rationalization. My why has been exposed.
Let’s compare and contrast some hypotheticals:
Why did I eat a whole bunch of milk duds today? Because it felt sooooo right.
Why did I only eat a moderate number of milk duds today? Because I believe in the long term benefits of moderation and balance for body, soul and spirit.
Why did I let Isa eat dog food today? Because she’s adorable and it makes me feel good when she smiles at me and seems to like me.
Why didn’t I let Isa eat dog food today? Again, in the long term, understanding and submitting to firm boundaries will save Isa much pain.
Why did I smell that Isa had a full diaper, but wait for Gretchen to notice it and change her? Because I was lazy and cared more about my own comfort than Gretchen’s.
Why did I take care of Isa’s diaper when I noticed it was full? Because I believe that it is better to serve than to be served and to bless than to be blessed.
I try to be conscientious about my whys. I want for the better why to win out more than the worse one. I believe that if this happens, I and my family will reap long-term benefits that outweigh in-the-moment gratification.
If it helps, get a credit card sleeve and write what’s my why? on it. Put up some sticky notes. Let it get ingrained in your mind as a habitual way of evaluating behavior and action. I’ll say similar things in other posts, but I have yet to hear someone say I really wish that I had favored instant gratification and not planned so much for the long-term. Then I would have to put up with so much success.
Why are you choosing to be conscientious about the way you run your household?