My (wishful) thought process? Over another ten years if I don’t have large portions, generally avoid desserts, chocs, fast foods and potato chips, if I exercise and most of all, if I continue planning meals to include the healthy food pyramid I might see my waist again and be able to run and jump again. Ah, to be able to do that. And cycle!
Being ambitious, by itself, is not enough. And yet it has taken me years to put what I knew in theory, into practice. So, here’s my million dollar question.
Why are we ground in inertia even when we have the knowledge in theory?
Why don’t we apply what we know in theory, to our day to day activities? Take me and two of my pet hates, as an example.
- I know the consequences of not exercising for twenty minutes a day – only twenty minutes out of the approximately sixteen hours I am awake in a day (come ON!). To my mind it is a boring, mindless activity.
- In school and college, I didn’t like studying topics that didn't interest me. I knew I needed to, in order to pass. Come exam time I knew the consequences of being distracted by other activities – add online activities for today’s students - the fear, the tension of having very little time and too much to go through. Yet I gave in to those distractions. I had to pick what I read and omit the rest, praying that I'd made the right choice. I resolved to do better next time (but not this time.)
One of the reasons for our lack of input is obvious. We go for activities that interest us and are fun. If exercising and studying are absorbing and fun activities for us, well and good. If not, we have a problem. So it stands to reason that when we do have the opportunity to choose a career or an exercise regime we should choose the ones that satisfy this basic human trait.
Choose something that is interesting and fun.
Humans are social animals. They like interaction with other humans. To align this trait with boring exercises or studies we have various options.
One, we interact on a social level with others for some time and go back refreshed, to overcome inertia with renewed energy. Two, we choose a companion to either exercise or study with. But choose as early as possible and choose with care.
Try activities with a companion
And three, we might try distracting ourselves while we exercise. Audio books are my thing.
When I was training to be an airhostess a long time ago, I remember we had wet runs. I don’t know what you think that means but at our training centre it meant an elaborate, first class, 5-course dinner service with real food and artificial wine (water) that flowed out of wine bottles. The idea was to put what we’d learnt in theory into practice. Only two of us would do the actual service. The rest sat in a mock up of a first class cabin pretending to be passengers. Our job was to observe the entire procedure. Most of us ended up being thoroughly distracted by the soup, salad, hors doevres, main entree, dessert, cheeses and tea-coffee put before us. What an education that would’ve been for the two who did the actual wet run. The rest of us had to wait till our training was complete and we were in flight with a senior air hostess and sixteen first class passengers watching our every move like hawks and making us very nervous before we could put our theory into practice.
Wherever and whenever possible put theory into practice.
Imagine what an effective tool this would be in schools, colleges or if we were learning a trade or service. (Many of our businesses do take part in schemes providing internships to student learners but compared to the number of students we churn out each year they are too few and too far between.)
Group discussions and Communication skills: This is a greatly neglected area in Indian education. Group discussions have huge benefits. For example they teach us to
- gather relevant information
- present the information well, in the time allotted.
- focus on what others are saying
- understand other points of view and realise there are many answers (not just mine!) to a question.
Finally, one way to remain motivated that needs a definite mention is to use outside help. For our exercise regime and studies, the outside help is personal trainers and tutors who keep us on the straight and narrow on a regular basis. We might end up being lighter of pocket but the results are very rewarding.
I am sure there are more strategies to help us convert our theoretical knowledge into practice. I, for one, would really appreciate any new pointers as I know the value of chipping away, of eating well, of regular exercise and of studying everyday. That is, I know the benefits in theory.