|I have to admit that lately I’ve been a little frustrated with myself. My diet hasn’t been quite what it should be and I’ve felt lethargic. Poor diet puts me in no mood to exercise, which leads to even more lethargy, more craving for comfort foods, etc. It is a vicious cycle indeed.|
I’ll also admit to being a bit of a rebel in my youth; in the seventh grade, the entire Williams Jr. High School was assigned a book to read – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. I was, and remain to this day, a voracious reader, so I tore into it. I got three pages in, and decided that was far as I was going to go; this was my first introduction to the “self-help” genre, and my final farewell. To this day, the sight of self-help books makes me a bit nauseous.
I know that there are probably plenty of these “self-help” books out there that are very well-written and insightful, but that’s never been the way that I’ve felt most comfortable dealing with the complexities of living in the modern world. My method always works in this order – define the problem very specifically (including the root cause of said problem), gather information about said problem, apply gathered information by making a plan, and finally enact this plan. If that plan doesn’t work, make a new one until one works. Sometimes, I’ve had to realize that certain things are out of my control, but other than that, this method has worked well for me.
I write all this to say two things – This is NOT a self-help post! NEVER will I write anything resembling self-help, motivational speaking, anything within that genre. It just isn’t me. I am saying this though. One of my best friends growing up had a saying that he has lived by and that he was never shy to share if I was complaining about something. He would look at me and say, “If you don’t like it, do something about it.” There is simple wisdom those 9 words. Doug echoes that same meaning elegantly in his oft repeated saying “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” These phrases share two key words – the words “you” and “do”.
You can distill the meaning of these two phrases – you do (something) or you don’t do (something). Which leads me back to my opening sentence. What is going to happen to me if I do nothing about my current situation? You guessed it – I’m going to keep feeling the way I do. But what if I don’t like feeling this way? Well, I suppose I must do something about it.
This might be why I dislike the self-help genre – every self-help book in the world boils down to doing something or not doing something. You don’t need a book to tell you that if you do nothing that nothing will change – that is simple cause and effect! This is the essence of taking control over your own health. Doing something. If you don’t like the prospect of succumbing to cancer, to getting senile, to developing diabetes, to becoming crippled by arthritis, to suffering from dementia, do something about it. Don’t sit and do nothing, and leave everything up to your doctor, or your genes or chance. I’m speaking to myself above all people.
I hope you find this simple idea as helpful as I can. You can tell your friends to skip the last few paragraphs and just read this – do something. Thanks for reading – I’m going for a jog!