The “fat free” revolution swept grocery store shelves several years ago and became our license to instantly have the “proverbial cake” and eat it too. We could maintain our discipline around dieting AND enjoy the foods from which we had been deprived.
However, it didn’t take long for the bubble to burst. In order to maintain the taste, high amounts of sugar are substituted for fat, which means that fat free foods are often HIGHER in calories. So much for a quick fix.
It is the same in life. Quick fixes are not the panacea, and consistency and discipline still seem to be the best path to attaining goals.
However, being rigidly disciplined is a complete drag. Going to extremes may help you achieve your goals, but life can become a joyless series of “have to’s” as you get caught up in the inflexible “rules” you set for yourself.
“I have to exercise 90 minutes every day to lose weight.”
“I have to work 80-hour weeks if I hope to get promoted.”
“I have to forego buying anything new to save money.”
“I have to schedule something every second of the day to be productive.”
While some sacrifices are necessary to achieve goals, when life becomes a series of “have to’s”, it ceases to be pleasurable. It is nearly impossible to enjoy being in the moment when constantly adhering to a mental checklist.
This is not to say that you should give up making choices that align with your goals. Instead, trust that you can attain your goals by making smart choices while also skipping a workout once in a while or sneaking out of the office on a sunny afternoon now and then.
Life is complex. To simplify, we sometimes resort to making things black or white. Good or bad. Yes or no. Yet few things in life fit into these rigid categories. When we try to mold our daily choices into these classifications, it feels artificial and any sense of joy escapes us.
The truth is, life is not meant to be lived completely “fat free.” We THRIVE on taking breaks, playing hooky, sleeping in, eating cheesecake, and splurging on shoes once in a while. It is all a balance and rigid discipline can actually be more harmful than good by causing us to derail down the road.
Case in point, science proves that we need fat in our diet to promote optimal brain functioning, absorb other nutrients, have healthy skin, and feel energetic. So, have a homemade chocolate chip cookie once in a while. Ironically, it can be the thing that keeps you moving forward TOWARD your goals.