Every aspect of life is a matter of priorities. We make decisions about what to and what not to do based on what is important to us. Whether it is making time to see friends, go to the gym or deciding what to eat, everything is a decision and the most important thing wins. Many times we may not even be conscious that this is happening but everything in our lives is a compromise and a shuffling of priorities.
We can talk about "being busy" or things being "too hard" but what we are really saying is "I have something else that is more important right now". For me this is most evident when it comes to diet and nutrition.
For as long as I can remember I have been improving my diet and nutrition. For the past 10 years my diet has been pretty good - it would be considered very healthy by a regular person. For the past 2 years I have been following a more performance focused eating plan and also adding in some cuts here and there to reduce bodyfat. I am considered lean by everyday standards (I am 41 years of age and my bodyfat sits around 17-18%) but I believe I need to be a little leaner in order to improve my fitness performance (gymnastics especially).
The challenge for me is it is freaking hard work to get leaner and stay there! I have made a couple of serious cut attempts in the past couple of years but never quite got to where I wanted to be. In the end my conclusion is that I just don't want it enough. I don't want it enough to dig in when it gets hard. I don't want it enough to say no to cheat meals when I am eating out with my family or on vacation. I have decided to "have a life" and eat freely from time to time. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and many people would say this is great, this is how you should be and I agree. But the trade-off to that is I can't be <15% body fat lean. The two things don't work together, it is one or the other. Right now, being "normal" and having a life is more important to me.
We all have lives and important things to do (our families and work are the big two) and sometimes we don't have a lot of choice in our priorities. However, there are many cases when we do and in those cases you want to make sure you are making a conscious choice. Ask yourself:
- How bad do you want this?
- Are you willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it?
There is no right answer - just be honest with yourself! Recognize where your real priorities lie and work with that. If we are not honest we set ourselves up for failure - we have unrealistic expectations and then we are unhappy when we fail to meet them. Having realistic expectations that we can and will achieve is a much happier place to live!
You can have it all - just not all at once!