Yesterday evening during dinner, my wife and I had a brief dispute regarding her reluctance to get on the scale because she is certain that whatever she’ll see on the screen wouldn’t not be good. I should have, in hindsight, just shut my mouth and continue having a pleasant dinner. But nooooo, I had to chime in. I said that I weigh myself every morning without exception and everyone should do that regardless of how bad the result might be. Her response: “Good for you!” (Yes. Ouch).
I should work on my manners but that’s not the issue. That succinct talk got me thinking. There are numerous problems everyone faces with regards to their emotional and physical well being, work, relationships etc. Among those there are always a few that we just don’t want to deal with. We keep avoiding them, sweeping them under the rug. Knowing well that they need to be solved because they affect us in a negative way but we just don’t want to make the move. Greeks had a word for it: akrasia which means “the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgement through weakness of will.” I am not well equipped to theorize the psychological reasons behind this behavior; however, I know well that those problems will not just vanish by themselves. Personally I hate when people remind me of those, it just irks me so badly. Because I am aware of my problems and I know that I need to address them. I am sure everyone feels the same. That’s why we get furious when our mom, dad, spouse or friends remind us what we already know.
So what do we do? How do we deal with these? Say you want to lose those extra pounds you’ve been carrying with you, or you want to quit smoking, drink less or eat healthy. The first step to deal with it, in my opinion, is to look at the problem in the eye. Keep reminding yourself that the problem exists. Keep weighing yourself every day, knowing damn well that you ate like a monster last week and the scale will attest to that. Look at how much money you spent on cigarettes or alcohol. Count them. Make notes of it and add them up weekly. Collect data on it. For example, I have this printout of a spreadsheet on my fridge that shows how many days I exercised, how much alcohol I consumed per week among other things that I am trying to figure out. Whenever I observe an aberration from the good path, I tend to fix it the next week. That’s my way of dealing with it. It might or might not work for everyone, but it is a start. Collect data on whatever problem you think you own. The dismal picture will eventually make you want to start solving it. Then you can find your customized way of dealing with it.
Let us remember that old adage “knowing the problem is half the solution.” Let us remind ourselves whatever problems we have and not dismiss them like an ostrich.