Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Treadmill Approach

When I go to the gym I often run on the treadmill.  All the treadmills are lined up in 2 long lines, and many people are running at once.  When I get on the treadmill I have my own goal of how far I am going to run that day, and at what speed.  Everybody else is doing this as well.  We all have our own personal goals for exercising.  I never feel pressured to run at the speed of the person next to me.  I never feel bad because I am not running as far or as fast as someone else.  I have my own personal exercise goals, and I just focus on that.  Everyone else seems to do the same.  

Why is it that I do not tend to do that in other aspects of my life?  Why do I look at others around me and feel like I am less, like I should be doing more, going bigger or better.  Why do I compare myself to others in many aspects of my life when I do not do this at the gym, even though I am surrounded by people all doing varying degrees of what I am doing?  This is a problem that many of us struggle with.  

We tend to look at what other people are doing and feel inadequate in comparison.

As I analyzed this question, I realized that when I am at the gym I am focusing on my own goals, and seeking to stretch my own personal abilities.  I am not comparing myself to those around me.   I realized that if I would focus on myself in other aspects of my life I would be a lot better off.  Focusing on my own goals, my own strengths and abilities and increasing them at my own pace would be far more rewarding and productive than looking at those around me who seem more successful, smarter, capable, wiser, luckier........the list could go on and on!  

What if we all started using the treadmill approach to life?  We would all be working on our own goals and discovering our own abilities instead of comparing ourselves against others.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said: "We spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does."  

J. Devin Cornish said:  "We must stop comparing ourselves to others. We torture ourselves needlessly by competing and comparing. We falsely judge our self-worth by the things we do or don’t have and by the opinions of others. If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past to how we are today—and even to how we want to be in the future.  

From now on I am going to take the treadmill approach to my life.  I will work on myself, watch my own progress, and focus on my own abilities and successes.  I hope you will too!

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Reason to Do Something You Hate

A couple of weeks ago my 25-year-old son asked me if I wanted to go to Yosemite Park in California with him to camp for 5 days.  This boy knows I hate camping, and that I would be perfectly happy to never have to go camping again.  Since he was going there on the way to a family vacation, and not coming straight back none of his friends wanted to go and drive separately.  I was the only family member who had the "time off" to go, so he took at chance and asked me to go with him.  My immediate first thought was "heck no!"  My actual response was, "Are you serious?"  After mulling it over for a while and talking to my husband about it, I realized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I would never get again.  Spend five days one-on-one with my grown son who no longer lives at home?  I would be crazy NOT to accept!  So I told him "yes".  The rest of the family about flipped when they found out, especially since I have spent the last month trying to get everyone to go camping together WITHOUT me so I could be left home alone (a dream I have).  

As I was preparing to go, and packing those hiking boots I was hoping never to take camping again, I was wondering what I had gotten myself into; but as soon as my son showed up, all excited and ready, I knew it was going to be an adventure!  We spent the next 5 days driving, talking, hiking, viewing breathtaking mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls; walking around huge sequoia trees and into cold streams, talking and meeting new people, and vying for the very few camping spots available.  We cooked dinner over an open fire, and made many new friends.  It was a very sweet adventure, and one I would have missed if I had stayed home because I "hate camping".  

Have you ever had times in your life when you didn't want to do something, but then afterward you were glad you did?  I have had this happen many, many times.  I have also had times where I did not do the thing I did not want to do, and ended up regretting it.  

Why would we choose to do things we don't want to do?  I am learning that if the potential positive benefits outweigh the reason we don't want to do something, it is usually worth it to do it.  Like me and camping.  The positive benefit of so much one-on-one time with this child totally outweighed my finicky dislike for getting dirty and smelling like campfire.  

Next time you are faced with something you don't want to do, ask yourself what are the potential positive benefits.  If they outweigh the reasons you don't want to do something, you may want to think twice.