Why do we knowingly procrastinate doing things that make us feel better?
I have made every excuse on the planet for why I haven’t practiced yoga consistently for a few weeks. The show season was finishing, we are getting settled at Blue Moon Farm, we have clinics, we are on the road every weekend, it is the holidays and people have limited schedules…
All of these are true yet concurrently all of these are very the reasons I should have been practicing even more.
Why do we do this?
In short, we are addicted to being addicted to pain. We make excuses for being in pain; it is tremendously hard to step away from that self-negative mentality. It is much easier to sit and entertain our negative self-talk than to step outside of ourselves and be accountable for our own growth. So many of us would seemingly rather go on hating ourselves for grabbing that ice cream container at night rather than grabbing a cup of tea and feeling better about ourselves.
Yes, one could say that ice cream tastes better than a cup of tea. I wager than anyone who has stopped eating ice cream for a lengthy period of time would disagree… taste buds are relative to usage. If you haven’t eaten ice cream for years then you decide to have it again, it is almost offensively sweet.
Don’t get me wrong, it is ice cream! We suffer through that initial disdain because we have attachments to the memories of ice cream. In the past, we went to birthday parties and enjoyed eating it therefore it must still bring us joy, happiness, fulfillment and other fabulous false truths.
Ok, ok settle down. You can still eat ice cream. It’s just an example.
My meandering point is, we seem to have a hard time with personal accountability for what we KNOW will make us feel better.
Change is difficult, but knowingly suffering is excruciating. Have you ever experienced being around an addict? It is tremendously difficult to watch a loved one continue on a path of self-destruction, isn’t it? It is immensely painful to watch someone open a bottle a whiskey, a pack of cigarettes, a syringe and not be able to help.
Yet, we do this to ourselves in small ways every single day. Our daily seemingly non-consequential acts of mindlessness lead to the same downward internal spiral. Examples include: not doing yoga, not meditating for a few minutes, thinking about 100 things on our to do list instead of focusing on washing the dishes, standing at the sink while eating on the run, grabbing a soda midday instead of water, sitting on Facebook mindlessly for a few minutes (hours) instead of reading/writing, junk food, etc…
You get the point. The little things matter. You have a coke at lunch, you feel gross afterwards then since you already blew your diet you have an bag of cookies, then you don’t get on your yoga mat because you are now having a cheat day, then you have a glass of wine while cooking dinner, which turns into drinking wine and sitting on facebook, then dinner becomes leftovers instead of cooking that butternut squash that is going to waste on the counter…. And on and on and on.
So it goes.
How do we change this? It takes time and you have to be kind to yourself.
Awwwww… is that a little too esoteric for you?
Fine, I was thinking about how folks that go to rehab or 12 step programs have a support system. When they want to reach for a bottle or cigarette or needles, they call a friend. I quit smoking 6 years ago… that shit helps. There is something about being accountable to another person that helps you get out of your head for a minute. It’s sometimes just long enough that you can ignore that nagging negative self-sabotaging voice that we all know too well.
Now, I’m not saying you call a friend every time you start daydreaming about Rocky Road Ice Cream (you’re welcome), though you certainly can. What if we flip the situation around and have a self-care buddy?
Did I lose you yet?
What if every morning at 6 am (or 7) you had to call/text a friend to say, “Get on your mat!” “Are you on your mat yet?” Do you think you would be more accountable???? I bet so.
No one wants to be the reason someone else “fails”, right? Let’s change the way we look at our habits, our addictions, and our communication with each other. Imagine the power of communicating with someone every morning to improve their health instead of texting to complain about your boss? Think about the ripple effect it will have.
I look forward to hearing from you.