Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I know I need to but I don't want to

I was talking with a new client who had just finished her Life Puzzle assessment. As we looked at her scores, the nutrition and exercise areas were very low. At the same time, she was dealing with lots of anxiety and emotional issues. So I said to her, "In Life Puzzle--every piece impacts the whole--so by improving your nutrition choices and beginning an exercise program, a lot of your anxiety and emotional issues will also be improved."

She responded--"Yes, I know I need to start exercising, eat better and stop smoking but right now I don't want to". And she said it so matter of factually. Then she continued saying that for her at least--exercising, eating well and not smoking were all activities that were going to require attention, effort and hard work. From her current perspective, this 'need' was in conflict with her more immediate 'want' of having relief from her anxiety and emotional stress.

What she was essentially acknowledging was the 'reactive, quick fix', 0-5 side of the Choosing Continuum--where choices are made to 'fix problems' that are presently in front of me at the time. From this perspective, we usually look to find the easiest, instant gratification choices--even if they only provide symptom relief. And for her, this was the option to smoke, have a few cocktails and eat the easily available foods.

It made me reflect on the 'want vs. need' relative to the two sides of the Choosing Continuum.
When you operate your life primarily from the 0-5 style, 'wants' are immediate, quick fix, problem removers. 'Needs" on the other hand are the things you should do, but they require effort and sometimes hard work as you make the changes necessary.

But what happens when you operate your life primarily from the 6-10 side of the Choosing continuum? Now, 'wants' are such that making choices are focused on long-term outcomes, whole life making--such that the effort made is not seen as hard but as joyful because it leads to such better long term results. I want to eat a healthy balanced nutritious lifestyle not because I'm supposed to but because I want to--because I want a great, whole and dynamic life. Needs and wants now merge together! Yes, I know I also 'need' to exercise, but that takes a back seat to I want to exercise because I know the result is feeling great and without exercise, I rob myself.

As I've noted many times--90% of the population is operating their lives from 0-5 and has this want/need dilemma! Everyone opts first for 'feel good right now' vs. feel good for a lifetime. Shifting to the 6-10 is the discovery of building your Life Puzzle such that choices that look like a need for 0-5ers become wants instead.

For example, when someone asks me what I eat, I always say, "I eat whatever I want". People respond, "Oh, I could never do that--because from their 0-5 way of seeing things "eating anything I want means not eating the foods I need/should eat". But for me, my 'want' is great, healthy and whole food--because I know how good it feels to live when I eat like that. I don't feel like I give up anything I want because my 6-10 focus is such that I want to create a lifestyle vs. quick fix, immediate gratification of eating junk food."

It wasn't always like that for me--I was a junkfood junkie and I can remember a friend suggesting I make changes--and saying pretty much what my client said to me--"I want to eat these foods." My friend said, "That's fine...just add a few more of these other foods". In time, the foods I wanted shifted to the foods I needed. Then, need and want merged into Life Puzzle making.

That's what I hope will happen with my client and everyone who uses Life Puzzle model as a framework for building a great life. Where your 'wants' meet your needs and you can live vibrantly every day!

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