It can be really tempting to cut corners and do things the easy way. Wanting a quick fix to problems we’ve created, or just an easy way to get to an end result besides good old-fashioned hard work is something we all would like at times. The problem is, most of the time when we do take the easier way; the results aren’t what we were hoping for.
I’ve found this ‘shortcut thinking’ can extend to pretty much any part of life. From personal experience, it has included-
-Getting in shape.
Who doesn’t want to be in shape and feel great? How many of us have tried to get there by halfheartedly committing to an exercise schedule, then making excuses like, ‘I’m just getting older,’ or ‘I’m too tired’, or even ‘My metabolism is just slow’ when we start to falter? Maybe we turn to the shortcut of weight loss pills or fad diets that promise you’ll lose 10 pounds in just a few days.
-Starting a business.
Planning and starting a successful business from the ground-up can be very difficult that’s for sure, but it can be done with lots of hard work and motivation. You won’t get there by trying to take the easier path with a MLM plan or by spending just an hour here or there on the weekend. It will take some serious resolve and effort.
-Eating healthier foods.
It is so much easier to go through the drive-thru on your way home from work or call out for delivery when you realize just how tired you are. You may even feel justified; you’ve had a rough day, right? The same can be said for buying unhealthy, processed, prepared foods at the grocery store instead of cooking from healthier whole ingredients. Maybe you tell yourself it is just for one dinner this week, but then it turns into two or three.
It’s so much easier today to take the shortcut and let your kids entertain themselves using screens instead of actually trying to connect with them. This can be especially true when they are teens and it is painful to try and have a meaningful conversation in general. In reality, what they watch on those screens will be what forms them as adults, there’s no easy way out with parenting, you have to be involved.
-Sticking to a productive schedule.
It can feel easier to let your day happen to you, but it’s really not and it is definitely much less fulfilling than being in control. Hit the snooze button three times, skip your exercise routine, bring work home because you messed around at the office all day, order out for dinner, go out spontaneously with friends on a weeknight. It may seem easier to live life on the fly rather than having your day planned out, but ultimately it’s more chaotic and stressful.
Wait for your mom to call you, avoid visits with family and friends because you’re too busy, ignore your child because you’re surfing Facebook to see what other people’s kids are up to. While you’re at it, tell yourself that it’s okay; you’ll have plenty of time and will do it later. That’s the easy way out of creating and keeping meaningful relationships.
Do any of these shortcuts sound familiar? Unfortunately, they are all excuses I have used at times when I know I am taking the easy way out of doing something important, something that deserves more work or attention than I am giving.
When I finally confront myself on taking the easy way out, or the shortcut, I ask myself first, one my end goal is that I really want.
-Do I really care about being healthy and fit?
-Is owning my own business really something I want?
-Is having a lasting, close relationship with my children, parents and friends important, or not?
Sometimes our answers deep down will be ‘no’. It’s not important enough to do the hard work it takes to get there. If that is the case, it’s time examine what your goals and priorities are in life, are you focused on things that will bring you immediate satisfaction, or on relationships and activities that will enrich your life long-term? Hopefully the latter, and if not, it’s time to make adjustments.
There is no shortcut to anyplace worth going to. –Timber Hawkeye
Photo Credit: In the Loupe Photography