What would you say if I tell you that very often, doing the right thing is not so good for you?
Yep, you heard me correctly. Often times doing the right thing is what gets us in trouble.
Let’s take weight loss for example. After being in the fitness industry for over 20 years, I’ve witnessed hundreds, if not thousands of people struggling to lose excess fat. Even with all the resources and products out there designed to help people get trim, they are still struggling to eat the food, and have the lifestyle required in order to make “weight loss” a life-long reality.
If this resonates with you, the problem is not the French fries, and not even your sedentary lifestyle. The problem is that you think you are doing the wrong thing. However, the fact is that you’re never doing the wrong thing. Allow me to explain.
Let’s assume you decided to go on a “diet,” hire a trainer and start a new exercise program. All’s well. You wake up in the morning, cook your egg whites and broccoli, and head to work filled with motivation and positivity. Then, surprise, surprise, your boss is still an asshole and your work still sucks. He didn’t get the memo that you are now trying to become a different person, leaner and stronger. Not like he would care, but your boss is not aware of your new lifestyle and what you are trying to achieve.
After 8 hours of work, you and your ol’ pal “the migraine” get off work and are heading back home. Of course, as usual, you encounter a horrible traffic jam that leaves you baking in your car for 45 minutes just to make one turn. As soon as you get in the house you say, “fuck it, I need a beer.” But wait, what happened to your new goal? Where did the new and positive person go?
Nowhere, and nothing happened. Your new goal, along with the new you, are still there. They just got pushed to the side to make room for your old problems, same asshole boss, your shitty job and lame commute.
You get home and, rightfully so, you think, “I deserve a beer after putting up with my asshole boss for 8 hours of this work that I hate.” Poor thing, you definitely deserve not one, but 3 beers and a bowl of pasta followed by a slice of chocolate cake for desert to make yourself feel better. Then a binge of lying still on your couch watching your latest Netflix obsession.
That is the right thing to do at that moment, in that situation. Drink some alcohol and eat some crap to make yourself feel better. You will feel a sense of relief, i.e. better, for 1 minute and 38 seconds while the food stays in your mouth. However, that is very short-lived. In the long term, it is not the beer, the pasta, the cake and the couch that get you fat. It is you putting up with your shitty job and boss that does. It is not your unhealthy choices that make you feel guilty and bad about yourself. It is your lack of strength to make a bold and hard decision regarding your work and relationships that does.
The same is true for any bad relationship you tolerate in your life. The consequences of staying in such a relationship (whether your boss, your significant other, or even a toxic friend) are often the cause of your weight gain, higher blood pressure, maybe even diabetes and a heart attack. The list of obesity-related illnesses and conditions is endless.
For people in harmful relationships, engaging in unhealthy behavior is the same as letting some steam out of the pressure cooker. It really is the right thing to do – I’m being serious here. Periodically, you absolutely need something to make yourself feel better when things are accumulating and become impossible to tolerate. That can be food, drugs, alcohol, lying around doing nothing, or even more work. All can legitimately be the right thing to do when you get yourself into certain circumstances.
Another example when doing the right thing isn’t so good for you. Let’s assume you get to the office and every morning you are welcomed by your favorite coworker with a basket full of pastries. Today it’s your coworker, tomorrow it’s your secretary, and the following day it’s another coworker who is so extremely nice and generous that they bring in pastries and donuts for you.
What is the right thing to do? Well, you don’t want to be that ungrateful asshole who turns down every single person who tries to do something nice for you, right?
So, you say thank you and you grab that delicious chocolate donut and shove it in your mouth. You have just done the right thing. Then you feel guilty for eating these pastries since you set a goal with your trainer to lose 20 pounds. That is another example where doing the right thing isn’t so good for you.
What do most people do in these situations? They go back to their trainer, or doctor, or friends and tell them about all the “wrong things” they have eaten or done.
Since we label these choices as “wrong,” we never bother to investigate them. We turn a blind eye and continue to do the same. It’s an easy way out, and most people do it.
By calling them for what they are, which is “the right thing to do,” we put ourselves in a position where we need to look into it and take responsibility for making some changes in our lives. I hope you will pause right now, and read that last sentence again. We need to look deeper. It’s very important, but it’s something most of us aren’t willing, or rushing to do.
Although we call it “the wrong thing,” it is really the right thing that so often gets us in trouble. Start calling things for what they are, and start taking some responsibility for all the right things you do, and I think you will find that it becomes much easier to achieve your fitness goals.
Thank you and good luck.
Leo Frincu is a world wrestling champion, author, speaker and performance coach for business leaders and athletes worldwide. To learn more about his training philosophy, check out his latest book, “WELCOME HOME, 3 Simple Steps On How To Reach Your Highest Potential,” available on Amazon and iBooks.