Why Do We Put Off Doing What We Ought to Do…So Often?

OK, this is a bit embarrassing.

I have a stack of papers sitting in a black, cardboard “filing” box.

The box is hidden under the left hand side of my desk .

This box is a “temporary” holding spot for stuff that needs to be filed someplace else because it’s just easier to manage when I sort through all the mail I have that has also piled up on my desk over the course of a week.

Only problem is that the box is full because I never seem to find the time to actually file anything.

So I bought another box.

Now I have two boxes hidden under my desk.

One is full of stuff to be filed an the other is half full of stuff to be filed. I see a third box in my future unless I change something…soon.

Why is it that we can so easily put things off that we know really need to be done? 

Seriously. It’s everywhere.

Flossing your teeth. Exercising. Managing your money. Getting the oil changed in your car. You name it.

Most health and fitness sites skip this topic or if they cover it all, skim over it like a flat rock skipping across the lake.

But this is where the real deal lives. This is where change happens. This is where you claim yourself and what you really want.

Tackling the stuff we put off is how we make progress in our lives in practically every dimension.

Why We Skip The Tough Stuff

When it comes to health and fitness, I know at least one reason why we put off tackling the tough stuff.

We don’t have to.

We don’t have to be fit or healthy to be alive. That, my friends, is simply a gift from God. Pure grace. Think about what your life would be like if you had some kind of fitness alarm embedded in your head that buzzed like a small prop plane as you approached a less than optimal state of health & fitness. Talk about motivation.

But the truth is, tomorrow, you’ll most likely wake up and do whatever you’ve been doing because, well, there’s no real downside that’s readily apparent.

And here’s another truth. You reap what you sow.

Many years later, in your 70’s usually, if you continue down this path of putting stuff off, some nasty disease or injury will likely show up or at least that that’s what the research suggests. The average American spends the last 13 years of his or life in a steady downward state of decline1.

average american healthy lifespan

Slipping and sliding into the grave.

Sure, sometimes, life doesn’t play fair. You can do all the best things you know to do and still get dealt a bad hand. Happened to a friend of mine in her early 30’s. She died of an extremely rare form of cancer. Had nothing to do with her diet, exercise, stress, etc. Just a bad deal.

Some people use that for an excuse to just do whatever they want. “Hey, I’m gonna’ die anyway. Who cares?” Well, you should. It’s not about how long you live, but about how long you live well. And you have a lot to say in how that turns out.

Time to Get Serious

So let’s get serious.

I’ll bet there’s at least one thing in your life that you know you should do but put off – regularly. Why?

Leave yours in the comment box and maybe we all can help each other.

I’m tackling the filing.

  1. Data from National Vital Statistics System and National Health Interview Survey. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. []
Joewaring says

We are in the same boat, DK. I started out with one box of papers and now have several that are in the basement. But my exercise routine – that is something I don’t put off!

    DD Kelsey says

    Bottom line Joe – I just don’t like to file and I guess if I had to choose, I would choose to train – like you.
    Happy Holidays!

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