I often hear people say they’re having trouble achieving their health goals. And after listening more, I determine one of the barriers hindering their progress is what I call Grown-Up Syndrome.
As grown-ups we lose our innate ability to “just have fun”. We become achievers vs fun seekers. Just take a look at the people around you. Adults have this compulsion to turn “playing” golf, pickleball, and tennis (whatever they took up for fun) into a personal contest.
They start thinking too much and fixate on their performance vs their fun. “Am I swinging my club fast enough? Am I gripping it too tight? How could I have missed that putt!’ No wonder why these achievers mess up their mental game… and why I believe self-help books on ‘sports psychology’ have flourished.
Mental toughness has its place — the military for example, and professional or highly competitive sports. Relentless determination may have worked in those situations to achieve insurmountable goals and push past comfort zones, but it can backfire and actually make you less successful. In fact, I’ve found that a rigid, unforgiving type of training doesn’t work in building and sustaining long-term habits.
As a grownup, eating carrots and celery now have a “purpose” (weight loss). Running is now a “regimen” (more weight loss). Whatever happened to eating healthy and moving our bodies for the pure joy of nourishing them and feeling good?
As a kid, you probably had fun playing tag. And what is that? Running! And just running for the pure fun of it! Now it’s an 8-letter word many people have come to hate — EXERCISE.
Becoming a grownup spoils the funness factor in life. School, work, and career push us to be achievers vs fun seekers. As responsible soldiers, we navigate through life with long To-Do Lists.
Well, it’s time to prioritize joy, practice self-compassion, and create your Daily Funness List – which is different from a Bucket List. A Bucket List is more fixed on the future (things we want to do before we die), whereas a Daily Funness List is focused on the present (today).
Don’t put off doing something you want to do until after you get through your To-Do List! As you probably already know, once you check off those final few tasks, there will be more to-do’s to tack on.
Reverse course. Start your day pursuing funness instead of practicing toughness. We’re more successful in life when we’re in a relaxed, calm state vs a tense, weary one.
Our psychosocial health is a key element to living a long, functional, and happy life. So peel off that tough shell, and seek out fun.
When our mental health suffers, we live passionless, and retreat into a state of chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, unhealthy eating, and stagnation. Keep in mind that we’re either in a state of growth or decay. Successful people keep moving.
So start your day off smiling and just being a good ol’ light-hearted kid!