I was in Florida recently to run a couple of marathons. It was 80 degree weather almost every day, and just beautiful. It was my first holiday in a long time; an opportunity to be away from everything, to read a good book. It was a perfect vacation.
At my holiday ended, I drove to Tampa so I could return my rental car and catch my plane the next morning. On the flight home, I began to feel rotten. I also started eating all kinds of junk food, like potato chips, cola, candy kisses; all the stuff I’ve told myself I don’t want to eat. While I didn’t make myself wrong for it – I just noticed it and kind of smiled at myself – I definitely knew that I was ‘off.’
When I got back home, I thought about what had happened. And what came to me was something I had heard in a seminar many years ago “Who you’re being is determined by the future you’re living into.”
When I was ‘living into’ the future of going to Florida, running two marathons, experiencing the sunshine, the warmth, the beauty, and having time away, I was feeling great. I was eating well and taking care of myself. But when I got onto that plane and was heading home to mounting bills, needing to find more work, and no more marathons for over a month, I began living into a different future. Now my thinking was more like, “It’s a cold winter there. My holidays are up. And I don’t want to go. Why do I have to go home? I’d rather be here.” I felt restless, irritable and blasé. And I wanted something to escape that.
The easy way to do that in the moment was to eat some junk food – and give myself a temporary ‘feel good.’ The more challenging way (though it didn’t occur to me then) would have been to say to myself, “Okay Scott, what empowering context could you create here? Now that you’re going home, what kind of thinking could you choose that would inspire you?” Instead of that, my mind went to what I didn’t want (going back at home), or to what was easy, familiar and comfortable (like eating junk food). But I wasn’t really ‘choosing my thoughts’ at all.