This morning, I was running late for work (as usual). I grabbed a pair of socks and pulled them on. I saw my big toe poking through a hole that I hadn’t noticed when I grabbed them. I thought, oh well I’m late, it wont be a big deal. Fast forward to work – I kept feeling my big toe rub the top of my shoe. It didn’t hurt or rub it raw or anything, it was just annoying. I couldn’t wait to get home and get those socks off and throw them away. I thought to myself – I knew better, why didn’t I just change my socks before I left for work?
I was hanging new tags today at the grocery store which means little customer interaction and lots of time for thinking. The sock ordeal made me think about how many times I’ve done something even though I knew better. How many times I’ve gone to bed without getting things ready for the next day, even though I know my mornings run smoother when my coffee pot is set to start and my lunch is packed. How many times have I spent hours watching Netflix, when I know that I have laundry/cleaning/other productive things that I need to be using my time for. How many times have I ignored a gut feeling, even when I know that my gut is hardly ever wrong?
Every time I do something even though I know better, it makes my life a little more difficult. When I don’t plan ahead the night before, my morning is rushed and I’m stressed and running late. When I watch Netflix and don’t do anything productive with my time, I feel guilty and get annoyed with myself because I know that all I’m doing is wasting time. When I ignore my gut feeling, I always end up with more trouble/stress/anxiety/etc than if I would have just listened to my gut in the first place. So why do I do things, even when I know better?
In the moment, it feels good. In the moment, I’m not thinking about how rushed my morning will be; I’m thinking about how good it will feel to fall into bed and go to sleep right now. In the moment, I’m not thinking about how annoyed I’ll be when I let my house work pile up; I’m thinking about how much I love laying in bed re-watching One Tree Hill for the 10th (or 11th?) time. In the moment, I’m not thinking about how upset I’ll be if I ignore my gut feeling that tells me that something won’t work out or that I need to get out of a situation – I’m not thinking about how much heartache, worry, or stress I can save myself; I’m only thinking that I’m gonna do what I want no matter if I know better or not.
If I wasn’t brought up in a society obsessed with instant gratification, I might be a little different. However, I’m trained to do what is going to make me happy right now instead of maybe doing something I don’t want to do now in order to be more happy/less stressed in the future. A simpler example of this is food cravings: it’s so much easier in the moment to give into my craving for pizza/mac n cheese/an obscene amount of chips and salsa rather than to stick to eating healthy and in moderation. However, an hour/a day/a week after I give into those cravings, I’m going to remember my goals and regret choosing that short-lived satisfaction over my long-term goal of being a healthier weight.
For this reason, and many others like the ones I mentioned above, I’ve started to realize that it’s more about the long-term happiness than the short-term satisfaction. Putting in a little extra work, or listening to my gut feeling even when it is telling me something I don’t want to do, or ignoring food cravings until they go away isn’t easy in the moment but down the road, I will be happier for it or it will cause me less stress. Ultimately, my life will be easier if I quit doing things when I know better.
Yes, this whole train of thought seriously started with a sock and a big toe. I know, my brain works in weird ways. Moral of the story: I need to be better about putting my long-term happiness in front of my short-term satisfaction. Maybe after reading this you’ll realize that you’re doing something even when you know better: waking up 20 minutes late and causing yourself to be late for work every day, choosing not to buy groceries even though you know that leads to eating out and spending more money, texting an ex even though you know nothing good will come of it, etc. And maybe you’ll see that if you choose to NOT do that thing when you know better, your life will be easier, happier, or less stressful.
As always, thanks for reading my thoughts and ramblings. I love reading your thoughts, so comment away. And if you liked this post, I’d love if you shared it with your friends!