The Treadmill To Nowhere

I’d be willing to bet that you’ve recently – perhaps in the last day , or even hour – had a big win of some kind.

Maybe it was holding your tongue when you wanted to explode, or making a good choice when a less-than-ideal one would typically take its place.

Just so we’re clear, eating only a few cookies is a win if you’d normally eat the whole bag.

Chances are, no matter how recent, it’s not enough. At least it doesn’t feel that way.

The problem with the human mind is that it adapts. For all its beauty and wonder in creation, the brain is often the source of our discouragement and discontent. It’s the very thing that gives us life, but the very thing that tells us we’re not doing a good job at it.

In short, it’s safe to say the brain lies – not just about our successes, but also about our failures.

The hedonic treadmill describes the tendency for people to quickly return to a base level of contentment and satisfaction regardless of the favorable or unfavorable things that occur in their lives.

It’s why the raise you got last year is no longer good enough, but also why the ice cream we ate in the afternoon isn’t satisfying us either.

The treadmill is one of the most useless pieces of equipment on the exercise floor. No matter how long you walk or jog, you’re not getting any closer to your goals. You’re physically getting nowhere – and it’s holding you back from living life to the fullest.

I’m not immune to this treadmill walk. In fact, the reason I’m writing this today is because I’m crawling it myself. Here’s how I get off –

Gratitude. Making a concerted effort to mark down the good things that happen – our gifts, our successes, etc. – will give us something concrete to reflect upon when the treadmill snaps us back to baseline.

I’d also encourage you to go a step further: don’t just focus on the desirable, but the uncomfortable. Why? Because sufferings are a thing of pride that produce in us perseverance and character. Remembering these trials will serve as encouragement later, a reminder that we can and will get through the tough times.

Empowering Accountability. We just wrapped up a 21-day wellness challenge in my Campbell, California, training studio. One of the most encouraging things happened a few days in, when one woman shared the concern that this five-day mark was a huge milestone.

Typically, she said, she would do great at taking care of herself for a few days and see progress, but give up because it quickly felt like a worthless task. Having the support of others to remind her of her success and keep her on track got her through the three weeks and she’s still making progress, despite enduring some pretty big obstacles.

The linchpin here is that those holding you accountable want the same things you do and want to see you successful. This could be an entire book, but it’s enough to say that you probably know who you should be relying upon and who you shouldn’t.

– Perspective. It’s easy to think this is a spiel about how someone always has it better or worse than you, but our reality and hope has nothing to do with where our lot lies in comparison to another.

The most common feelings associated with hedonistic adaptation is failure: that we’re not good enough, not doing enough, falling short always. It’s common to feel this way, but it shouldn’t be considered normal. Check out this post for a little encouragement.

Are you struggling to feel confident and successful in your faith, fitness, or life? I’m working to help women overcome these lies of unworthiness and embrace the confidence and calling God has for us.

In fact, I have a 6-week devotional coming out this summer walking women through this exact process. You can sign up here for updates on when that will be available, and even get a free sample!

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