Short Term Comfort vs. Long Term Success
I threw my back out last week.
When my back goes out, my body becomes a puzzle, with my sacroiliac joint shifting out of place and throwing my upper body and pelvis off-balance. It’s a demoralizing and painful experience that I struggled with for years until I became a Pilates therapist and began a daily back care routine.
Healing isn’t a linear process, but rather a journey of learning and listening to your body. I’m currently in week 8 of half-marathon training, but two weeks ago, my daughter fell ill with a high fever, which led me to spend all my time caring for her and neglecting my back care routine and runs.
Healing isn’t so much of a journey as much as it is a learning and a listening experience.
In a moment of madness, I decided to go on a seven-mile run pushing a stroller with my 40-pound child inside. It was a terrible decision, and my back paid the price. For the past week, I’ve been in agony, rehabbing my back and trying to ignore the negative thoughts in my head.
My brain has been telling me to give up, that running is not for me, and that my body is broken beyond repair. However, I’ve been contemplating a new concept called temporal discounting, which is the tendency to prioritize the present over the future.
I’m haunted by the image of myself crossing the finish line at my half-marathon, overcome with pride and a sense of accomplishment. I’m not just after pride; I’m after resilience. Giving up now would be easy, but I refuse to let my present self sabotage my future self.
Getting knocked down is a huge part of life. It’s what we do when we get knocked down that counts.
Life is full of ups and downs, and it’s how we react to the downs that truly matters.
Yesterday, I pushed myself to run 2 miles, but when I got back home, I couldn’t help but cry. I allowed myself to indulge in a little self-pity before remembering the Ishbel who will cross the finish line at her half-marathon.
Her voice echoed in my mind, urging me to stop training like an amateur and start educating myself like a pro. With that in mind, I started listening to the audiobook “How to Run Like a Pro” by Matt Fitzgerald and Ben Resario.
I learned that my back pain is most likely due to my inconsistency with daily self-care exercises and a lack of cross-training to strengthen my body for running. I immediately began incorporating more cross-training into my routine, and within a day, my back was already feeling 75% better.
Today, I ran 5 miles, and I can tell I’m on the right track. While my back isn’t perfect, the point is that self-care isn’t always easy or comfortable, but it’s essential for our long-term health and well-being.
Self-care is not always about pampering ourselves with spa treatments and luxurious linens; it often involves making difficult choices that benefit our future selves. It’s not a straight path, and setbacks are common, but it’s the daily choices we make in the face of adversity that allow us to thrive in the long run.
I don’t want to imply that my approach is right for everyone, especially when it comes to dealing with back pain. Back pain is a complex issue that requires individualized attention and professional help. However, I do believe that many of us struggle with temporal discounting, which is the tendency to prioritize short-term comfort over long-term benefits.
We all have moments where we choose the easy way out, but reflecting on those choices and feeling grief or remorse can help us learn and grow. Just remember to be kind to yourself and allow yourself the grace to make mistakes.
So, how about you? Have you ever struggled with temporal discounting in your own life?
For the last twenty years, I have helped people take charge of their health and feel better. I have been in your shoes - sick, tired, and overwhelmed by how to actionably care for myself. If you want to feel better, but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place. Learn More >
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