Why do I do things I don’t want to do?

Eat unhealthy food. Procrastinate until tomorrow. Eat too much. Drink too much. Mindlessly scroll social media. Skip workouts. Over-watch Netflix. Collect justifications and excuses along the way.  Is it self-sabotage or just laziness?

Am I living my life or simply reacting to it?

Recently, I slowed down to bring more awareness to my behavior in these situations. I listened closely to the thoughts that were motivating me. What I heard over and over again was…

“You deserve this.”

You dieted for two weeks, you deserve pizza. Work was stressful, you deserve extra wine. You worked out yesterday, you deserve a day off. You can write a chapter tomorrow, you deserve to watch TV. You deserve to feel less pressure, less judgment, and more carefree.

You deserve to feel good NOW.

Does short term, instant pleasure really relieve the pressure and judgment, or just add to it later? The immediate relief is there but so are the consequences waiting on the other side. Do I deserve to wake up hungover and anxious, recounting yesterday’s over-indulgence? Do I deserve to gain back the weight? Do I deserve to have my book remain unfinished forever? Do I deserve unfulfilled dreams because it felt better to buffer rather than risk failure? Do I deserve to perpetuate my own self-judgment and shame?

Maybe I deserve better.

Maybe I deserve to be healthy and feel strong. Maybe I deserve to go to bed at night proud of the choices I made and wake up empowered by them. Maybe I deserve the fulfillment of reaching a goal. Maybe I deserve a heart full of wonder while I follow my dreams. Maybe I deserve to trust myself to act in my own best interest. Maybe I deserve authenticity and integrity.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a work in progress. I still do a variety of these things occasionally. My work is to do them less over time and be more mindful when the desires arise. In those moments I ask myself…

What do I really desire and deserve?

I realize now that when my actions are not aligned with my true desires, I am betraying myself on a very deep level. I’ve decided that the pain of that betrayal is just too high a price to pay for self-indulgence. The more I make conscious choices rather than react to urges, the more my life expands with possibilities.

Your reality today was created by the decisions you made yesterday and the decisions you make right now are what will create your tomorrow.

What will you do with that kind of power?  

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