In the world we live in today, why would you want to do anything other than scroll through Instagram, binge watch friends on Netflix, check out Facebook for a while. Then maybe catch a few episodes of the Office, then eat, then scroll through some more social media, only to fall asleep and wake up to check that same social media all over again? Maybe it is only me, but more than once I have found myself in this trap.
The trap is there is so much we want to do, but nothing is easier than picking up our phones, or iPads and doing that which is in front of us right now. When given the choice, human beings almost always pick the easier option. We will wait until tomorrow to do what we want, because today it just makes more sense to pick what is easiest.
This goes much further than just Netflix and social media. We do this with our careers, our finances, our marriages and our parenting. The “hard thing” can always wait, but for whatever reason, it seams we rarely get around to doing it. It’s easier to tell our kids to play in their room. We sit in front of the tv because we can plan a date with our spouse some other day. We buy what we want now, because we have our whole lives to get out of debt. We want to go back to school to start a career we would love, but staying at our job now requires less effort. The “hard thing” requires work… but what we reap from it is almost always worth it!
So, what can we do to not be ensnared by this trap? How can we say no to the easy, and yes to what we really want?
- Do something new. It doesn’t have to be big or grand, just new. Try a new food. Go on a hike. Don’t go to the same vacation spot you always go to. Don’t be so comfortable with the familiar that you negate anything that isn’t. Usually this is when we begin to make excuses… we don’t have enough time, or money. What if we don’t enjoy it… we have circled back to the trap. It is too easy to do what is right in front of us. For me, nothing is more invigorating than a new adventure. What invigorates you? What gets you excited just thinking about it?
- Get uncomfortable in what’s comfortable. There is an episode of the Office that breaks my heart. It is the episode where Michael Scott decides he is going to pull a Survivorman and proceeds to go into the Pennsylvania wilderness. The episode concludes with him ending his adventure early and going back to the office. At the end he says, “who needs fresh air when we have the freshest air of all? AC” “who needs wide open spaces when I have…” and he proceeds to show the camera the backdrops on his computer screen. This moment kills me! We get so comfortable in our every day routine that even though we are missing out on so much we desire, we still won’t change anything. Again, it doesn’t have to be big or complex. It can actually be pretty simple. Try out a new coffee shop… who knows it may be better than Starbucks. Drive a different route to work. Get off the interstate on your next long drive. Plan a picnic with your spouse. Take your kid to a new park… Don’t worry so much about the big gesture, but instead be constant with the small things. Eventually you can look back and see the small everyday things are the things that truly mattered most.
- Quit making excuses. Nothing is worse than giving someone advise and all they say in return is an excuse on why it’s not possible. Excuses are easy. Action takes work. I would actually say this is the first step to living the life God has designed for you. Quit finding all of the reasons something won’t work and start finding the reasons something will.
I would rather live a life that when I am on my death bed I can look back and smile on, rather than look back and wish I would have…