While reading The 4 Day Win (a book I heartily recommend for the life advice if nothing else), Martha Beck points out that we all know how to lose weight: we just have to eat less and move more. And then she asks, reasonably, “And how’s that going for you?”
I want to make this phrase my new life motto, because it’s brilliant. I’m all for grit and sticking out the difficult parts of life, but I’m also all for changing your life so it’s less teeth-grittingly terrible. So the next time you say, “it should be so easy to get myself to [respond to all of my emails/cook dinner every night/eat more vegetables/go moose hunting with my dad],” slow down and say to yourself, “huh. And how’s that going for me?”
Also, I do not recommend moose hunting. That sounds like a lot of accidents waiting to happen.
As a recent example from my life, I have decided to start lifting weights. There are a couple of reasons for this, one of which is that I feel genuinely great after lifting weights, especially on arm day. I may be lifting 10lbs, but I feel like freaking Superman, and it’s hard to beat that feeling. However, the other reason is that my firm belief in the power of cardio wasn’t working for me. Cardio needed to be a part of my routine, not all of it.
Want another example? I’m currently writing a manuscript in a world I am completely in love with. The problem? I’m absolutely paralyzed by the idea of messing it up, so no amount of telling myself, “just write five chapters” is actually going to work. I needed to try something different, and by doing that, I found my winning strategy: telling myself I only need to write a sentence. It usually leads to a lot more than just the one sentence, and the marginal progress does a lot more for me than the self-hatred and paralysis.
So, this week, if you find yourself beating your head against the wall on a persistent problem, stop your internal monologue about how you just need to [whatever] and ask yourself, “How’s that going for me?” and open yourself up to making some changes!