I had an epiphany this weekend.
I was stuffing my face with pizza and cookies, but only half enjoying it. The other half of me was trying to calculate how much extra cardio I’d have to do over the next few days to make up for the extra calories I was consuming. With already so much on my plate for the week (no pun intended), why would I be consciously participating in an activity that will add all this extra cardio (work) to my “to-do list”? That just makes no sense! I complain all the time about my ‘lack-of-free-time’, yet here I am, on my day off, doing something that will ensure more work for me over the following week!
And that’s when it hit me, the true reason it’s so hard to ‘get ahead’ for most of us..it’s because we spend most, if not all of our time catching up–making up for previous mistakes, errors or procrastinations, thus leaving ourselves very little time to get ahead!
The real way to get ahead it seems? Don’t get behind.
Sure, the pizza tastes good, but as I’m doing the math in my head, it just doesn’t seem worth it. I know there’s 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. That means to lose a pound of fat a week, I’d have to be in a 500 calorie deficit a day for 7-straight days. The pizza and cookies I’m eating could easily be 1,500+ calories, putting me 3-days behind, or half my week!
Think about that for a second..Instead of spending this coming week losing a pound of body fat, I’m going to first spend half my week just making up for Sunday’s dinner! That only leaves me 3-4 days to actually get ahead on my diet, but the truth is, even if I were to be in 1,000 calories a day deficit for those 3-4 days, I wouldn’t come out ahead. No. Instead, I’d be just back ‘on track.’
And here’s the worst part… after all the extra cardio and the extra caloric deficit I’d have to maintain for the week, I’ll feel like it took way too much effort this week to not lose any weight. After all that hard work, self-discipline, and ‘under-eating’, I’ll come out ‘neutral.’ I’ll be unmotivated to continue the following week, or even worse, I’ll feel the ‘need to congratulate myself’ on Sunday with another pizza! And so the trend continues…
Now this may be a simple example, but the truth is, we act this way with most things..
-How many times have you had to work overtime just to pay off a credit card bill?
-How many times have you returned from a vacation just to have to put in extra hours for a few weeks to make up for the extravagance you experienced while you were away?
-How many times have you treated your girlfriend/boyfriend to a gift only to make-up for a fight?
-How many times have you called a family member only because you ‘haven’t talked to them in forever’?
If any of those examples resonate with you, then you may be guilty of spending most (or all) of your time ‘playing catch-up’ as well. And if you’re spending all your time ‘catching up’, when are you getting ahead? And when you’re relaxing on a Sunday afternoon, eating that pizza, celebrating your accomplishments for the week, ask yourself,
“Did I really work towards my goals this week, or, did I work just to ensure that my goals don’t get farther away from me?”
My guess is, if you’re like most of us, then you spent most of your week working to ‘stay neutral.’ Most of us don’t exercise to ‘get in shape’, but rather, to avoid ‘getting fat.’ Most of us don’t work to ‘get rich’, but rather, to avoid ‘going broke.’ We work our butts off not to get the life we want, but rather, to avoid losing the life we have. And that is the issue.
Therefore, if you actually want to get ahead, don’t allow yourself to get behind.