Hello Fitness Reloaders!
Today’s post is about the “virtue” of patience…
We were told since we were little that we should be patient. We should learn to wait. That we cannot always indulge in instant gratification.
“No, you cannot eat the ice-cream now! You have to wait until you finish your plate, and then you’ll have it.”
“To get results from your exercise program, you need to wait for at least a month.”
“Money doesn’t grow on trees. You have to work, and work, and work, and one day you will have it!”
That is all good, except for there is something hiding behind all those words.
The fact that we need patience to counter…impatience.
Think about it: If we were never impatient, we would never actually need patience.
Patience as a word wouldn’t even exist, if all of us were ok with waiting. We just wouldn’t know that something different than our normal state exists. And we wouldn’t define our normal state as patient. Because we wouldn’t be able to recognize that there is something to talk about. We wouldn’t know what we wouldn’t know.
Ok, I do hope you got that.
So when we talk about someone who is patient, we usually mean that even though that person wants to get to their goal as soon as possible, they have the ability to suppress those urges until they get to their destination. Wow, they have really cultivated their willpower!
This is a perfect match to this definition I found online:
Patience: an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.
Here is why I hate impatience…and patience
Think about the last time you were impatient. Impatient about something big.
How did impatience feel?
How did trying to be patient feel?
If you are anything like me, they both feel awful, pressuring, and stressful.
Let me give you an example…
I will use imaginary Peter as an example. Peter wants to lose weight. He starts a diet and exercise plan and just can’t wait to finish it.
Of course, he takes no enjoyment in being on a diet, and in doing exercise.
But what is really on his mind is this question: “Will I really lose those pounds? Will it really happen?”
Deep inside he is afraid he won’t get to his goal. This is why he is impatient.
This is why he tries to force things to happen.
This is why he doesn’t enjoy the process of getting fit.
This is why he doesn’t give a sh*t about fitness, as he just want to get RESULTS.
This is why he is almost paralyzed, and cannot think of anything else, except for how much he wants to get RESULTS.
This is why he constantly worries whether he will get RESULTS.
This is why even though he may succeed in losing weight, he will gain it all back!
Now you may be wondering why he will gain it all back?
Because he never really cared about being fit. All he cared about was his ability to lose weight.
No? You disagree? You think he really wanted to get fit?
No he didn’t! If he did, he would actually care about fitness. If he did, he wouldn’t stop exercising once the weight goal was achieved.
If he cared about fitness, he wouldn’t hate his journey towards weight loss, he would enjoy it instead.
However, he did care about his ability to lose weight. Because this is what was driving him. He was scared he was not able to do it. This is what was on his mind through the whole journey.
That’s why he couldn’t focus on anything else but results.
That’s why he was dying to get to his goal as soon as possible.
That’s why he needed to be patient, and wait until his actions showed results.
He only cared to answer the question: “Can I lose weight?”
And that is all good.
Too bad that poor Peter will get the weight back, so that he has to prove he can lose weight once again (or just, believe that he is not good with diet and exercise and never try again!).
Peter will have to get back into this impatient (because this is how he feels) but patient (because he has no other choice but be patient) process?
Or maybe, he can avoid this stressful impatient but patient process?
Maybe there is another way to get to goals, without getting in this process?
But before I get into that, let me first explain why someone should look for another way (just in case those “whys” were not obvious already).
Because trying to get to any goal while being impatient:
- Sucks. It just feels awful.
- Wakes up your self-doubt.
- Wastes your days. Instead of enjoying yourself, you spend your time, your only true resource in this lifetime, worrying.
- Leads you to make decisions that are wrong and that sabotage your happiness. For example, let’s say that you are impatient to find your other half. What actions do you think your impatience will make you take? Maybe find the first possible marriage-able guy/gal and try to get engaged as soon as possible? Or maybe, you will be “patient”, but because you are focused on your ability to find someone worthwhile, rather than actually finding someone, opportunities will pass right in front of your eyes but you will fail to look at them! Aaagh!
First, I need to say that I too feel impatient. Especially with food – “I need that chocolate right now!”.
Other than that I have been impatient for many, many reasons…For example, once I was really impatient to make a certain supervisor like me, so that I would get to advance to the next level (because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do it)….Oh, and guess what happened. I messed up really bad! Like really bad! Like “I could never imagine that something like this would happen” bad!
Luckily, I realized that impatience (and patience) don’t lead anywhere, but only bring more pain. And I am working on shedding those qualities. And yes, I am improving! 😀
[Ok, except for the chocolate thing…No improvement there…(blush)]
How to avoid the cycle of feeling impatient (and then having to be patient)…
The answer to this question is really simple.
To avoid having to be patient, you have to avoid feeling impatient.
To avoid feeling impatient, you have to avoid feeling the fear that what you want won’t happen.
To avoid feeling this fear, you have to avoid falling in the trap that if your goal does not materialize your life will end.
Because you know what?
When we are impatient the stakes are really high. Actually the more impatient we are, the higher the stakes, the more important our goal is for us, the more desperate we are.
That’s why I said that not getting your goal may feel like your life will end…
Because that goal…is THAT important.
Luckily for us, there are rare times that if we don’t get to a goal, our actual life will end. Thus, the stakes may be perceived as life-or-death, but they are not really.
For example, our imaginary friend Peter won’t really die if he does not lose weight. He may keep feeling uncomfortable for having extra pounds, but that is nowhere near to actually dying!!!
However, losing weight is THAT important for Peter.
But if Peter really wants to lose weight, he has to draw his attention away from himself and from his ability to achieve his goal or not (“Will I really lose weight?”)…
…and take it to the joys that exercise and diet bring to him.
“Oh, it feels so good to stretch! I will do one more.”
“Ok, I know that being on this diet feels strange, as any change would feel, but this is normal. I am enjoying the fact that I am moving towards a healthier me! I am enjoying the fact that I don’t feel heavy from eating all those pizzas and burgers as I used to. Even though I feel just a little bit hungry, I do enjoy feeling light!”
“Ok, everybody is better than me in this gym. That’s just because I am newbie, so it’s perfectly normal. However, the more I do it, the closer I get to being as good as all these people around me! Wow, will I actually ever be as good as them? That possibility had never occurred to me. WOW, that is SO exciting!”
“Gosh, I really need a chocolate right now. I will eat it, but first I will eat an apple.
Hmm, I don’t really want a chocolate anymore. Hey, did I just say that I don’t want to a chocolate? WOW, I could never see that coming!”
You see, the difference in Peter’s approach now?
Instead of worrying whether he will get to lose weight or not, he focused on the good stuff that is surrounding his new decisions. He still wants to lose weight, but he is no longer clinging to it as he used to. With his new attitude, he is actually playful! 😉
Therefore, if you are impatient about achieving a goal, here are a few steps to follow:
- Understand that you are not really impatient to get to your goal. You are impatient to prove that you CAN get to your goal.
- Try to focus a little bit less on your own ability to get to that goal, and a little bit more on the joys that the process to goal gives to you.
Yup, it is THAT simple! Just 2 steps!
But how do I get to feel playful when I feel that my life will end if I don’t get to my goal?
Ahh…The more you focus on the positive stuff that surround yourself, the less you will feel that your life will end if you don’t get your goal.
Let’s use Peter again as an example.
Peter doubts his ability to lose weight. He feels that he is a failure for not having done so. He does not like himself.
He can change that.
He may think…
“Wouldn’t it be nice if I was a few pounds lighter?”
“I deserve to lose weight, because this will make me so HAPPY!”
“I am not hurting anyone by losing weight, so why should I not get it? Contrary, I will be a good example for everyone who also wants to do this! If I can do it, they can too! And I will do it, as other people have done it before me”
“I have achieved similar goals in the past. When I was in 5th grade, I thought I couldn’t climb on that tree. But I did! I was on that tree while every other kid was afraid to even try. I was on top, looking at them staring at me from the ground. That was an awesome feeling!”
“Ok, I may have some extra pounds, and my knees are hurting a little bit, but apart from that millions of cells in my body work perfectly right now! My heart beats, my lungs take in air, my digestive system works, and my muscles are super-ready to be trained with some exercise! Million and millions of cells do their job right, right now!”
You see, Peter is not trying to tell himself that his goal is not as important as he believes. Thus, Peter is not thinking:
“I should not feel like this about losing weight. It’s not a big deal after all.”
This would be counter-productive. If something feels important, then it is, and no matter how long you spend reasoning with yourself, it will still feel super-important (and you will feel exhausted and demotivated and powerless).
In other words, when you feel that a goal is THAT important to you, don’t try to fight it.
Instead, focus on positive stuff. There are millions of positive stuff around you that you don’t notice!
Every day, try to focus a little bit more, and little bit more on them.
You will gradually start feeling better about your situation.
You will gradually start worrying less about whether you will get to your goal or not.
You will gradually start enjoying life more, and more…
And isn’t this what we all want? Enjoy life?
And, maybe this is why in the end…
I may like patience and impatience. Because whenever this duet is present, it’s a signal I am not enjoying life as much as I could.
“STOOOOOP!” I say to myself!
“Time to change direction. 180 turn please!” I command.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if….?”
…and the cycle of finding joy begins!!!!! 😀Photo Credit: thinboyfatter