Because I Love a Good Math Problem
Yesterday while making dinner, I had a conversation with my seven-year-old son that sparked a realization for me: sometimes we equate the difficulty of a task to the length of time it will take. Let me illustrate what I mean.
My son was having fun filling out a math chart (I love that he loves math!), and said to me, “Twelve is a small number of things and one hundred is a big number of things. It will be hard to draw one hundred dots on my paper.” My brain chewed on that for a second before I asked, “Is making dots on your paper hard?” He said, “No, but it will take forever to draw one hundred of them!” I then challenged him to put one hundred dots on his paper and see how much time it took. I love how his brain works, because he immediately drew ten large circles on a blank sheet of paper and put ten dots in each circle so he would easily know when he was done. Needless to say, it didn’t take him long to draw one hundred dots even if you include the time he took to draw the additional ten large circles.
This short exchange with my seven-year-old shows how tricky our brains can be. We trick ourselves into thinking time consuming tasks (real or perceived) will be difficult to achieve. I have seen this time and again in people who are looking to lose weight or improve their physical fitness. Losing weight or improving physical fitness isn’t complicated—it’s math (and a little bit of science). The less food you put in your mouth, the more likely weight will come off your body. The more time you spend exercising, the less time you spend with weak muscles. Now, this is a very simplified, boiled-down version of each process, but you get the idea.
The belief that weight loss or becoming physically fit is “hard” partially springs from how much time you believe it will take to achieve (lol, that rhymes). I have heard the many arguments about how it’s hard to lose weight because it takes time to figure out or that there isn’t enough time. Well, lots of things take time. Gaining weight takes time, watching Netflix takes time, cleaning takes time, cooking takes time, meeting children’s needs takes time, reading a good book takes time… All of the things we have in our lives take time, BUT they only take the amount of time we choose to give them. Sometimes I choose to use my time working in my business and sometimes I choose to use it laying on my couch watching TV. The point is, how I spend my time is up to me. Always.
So, if I were to tell you that you could be at your goal weight and working toward your fitness goal by dedicating four or less hours per week, what would you tell me? What if I told you that dedicating those four hours per week would create time in the future (i.e. less illness, more energy, improved mental health, longer life span, etc.)
Here is a simple math problem for fun. Let’s say you have 16 awake hours per day per week to total 112 hours of useable time (24 hours per day subtract 8 sleeping hours equals 16 awake hours per day, 7 days multiplied by 16 hours per day equals 112 hours). How does four hours per week sound now? You would still have 108 hours per week to do all the other tasks you choose to give time.
My proposal is this: start utilizing your time to create the life you want to live from now to the end. And ignore the drama your brain is trying to feed you about time. Now is better than later in creating your desired reality. Why wait?
So the next time you find your brain telling you that some task will be hard, ask yourself “Would it be hard or would it take time?”
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