One of the hardest things to do in life is choosing what is best for us. We all have goals and dreams that can mess up our balance and prevent us from choosing what we need vs what we want. I’ve always been fairly good at choosing the things that I need to do over what I want to do, but now and again I will slip up and go with my heart instead of my head.
There are plenty of areas where we battle what we want over what is best for us; relationships, diet & exercise, careers, and even health. For the purpose of this article, I’ll go ahead and use health and exercise, because I love me a link between those two!
How can our wants override our needs?
Our imaginations can tend to run away with us, creating a ‘better’ scenario in our heads to help us cope with things we don’t want to face. That can even be applied to something as small as getting our arses in the gym!
What we want to do is sit at home and watch Netflix while we stuff our face with Doritos, what we need is to eat a carrot stick and get on the treadmill.
So how do we solve this problem? How do we get as motivated to get what we need, as we are to get what we want?
How to get excited about what’s good for us
A good way of tricking yourself to do what is good for your body and mind is to write down everything you want and on the other side, everything you think you need. This could be to have a relaxing night in with a bottle of wine and a film, then on the opposite side, you could have, go to the gym and eat healthily.
Once you have all of these written down, you can start to link them together. So you can have that night drinking wine and relaxing, as long as you have a day where you eat healthily and go to the gym. This strikes up a balance so you are satisfying both your body and soul.
How am I choosing between need vs want in my own life?
An example of how I did this, is by realising that I needed to train for this trek, but I also wanted a hobby and the chance to be creative. So, I combined the two.
I found workouts that were a little unconventional or creative and started back in the gym. Now, I’m getting fit and strong for my trek, but I’ve found a hobby that keeps me motivated and working towards my fitness goals.
Another example? Recently I made the difficult decision to move back into my parental home. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, I very much love living on my own in the city, but for health and financial reasons, it was what was best for me, to help me get to where I want to be, both health-wise and in life.
This decision has also helped me to incorporate more blogging and YouTube stuff into my life, so although I’m giving something up, I’m also gaining something I love.
How do you identify what you want vs what you need?
Your brain is amazing at thinking of justification for what you want, pretending as if you actually need it when you don’t. Think about all the chocolate bars you’ve eaten because you ‘needed energy’ or you were ‘hungry’. You probably weren’t, but to justify you having that chocolatey treat, your brain convinced you that you needed it.
The trick to identifying these and getting out of the habit of making excuses to yourself, is to take a second to think about the benefits it will bring you. Making snap decisions can be great, but not if it’s at the expense of self-care.
Taking that time out to just question those thoughts and ask yourself if that’s really what’s best for you, will help you to identify these false thoughts.
Why is choosing what’s best for us so difficult?
Most of us will fantasise about the perfect life, the perfect body or the perfect relationship, but reality doesn’t match up to these things we’ve cooked up in our heads. Tearing ourselves away from perfection is the bit that makes things difficult.
Being more mindful and identifying the realities of our fantasies are what helps us come back to the real world. But it’s a painful truth that we don’t want to accept. The fact that perfection simply doesn’t exist or at least isn’t a long-term option, is something many of us will struggle to comprehend.
We have to somehow find comfort in the bad stuff we have to go through, we have to find a way to make the things we don’t want to do, something we have the strength to do. Finding that resilience and determination is what will help us find balance and lead us to a happier life!