Knowing when to quit

I’m often told my people in my family that I should eat more kale. The reasons are that it’s a “super food” packed with nutrients.

I’ve also read about the benefits of taking cold showers.

There are 2 problems with these recommendations. I don’t like either the taste or texture of kale. I’ve taken cold showers and I end up cold. (To be fair, there is a short burst of energy).

In contrast to these, on the day I focus on my upper body at the gym, I make myself do Jacobs Ladder. It’s boring.

Why do I make myself go on the ladder, but refuse to eat kale and take cold showers? It’s about knowing when to quit. A big part of daily improvement and refinement is doing activities we’d rather not be doing. These help to build tolerance and patience. Self-improvement is full of recommendations and hints and systems. People swear by them and tell us about all the things we’re missing because we don’t adopt a certain habit, or eat a certain diet.

The problem is that if you spend your time on things you don’t enjoy, you’ll be miserable. The idea of adopting habits to get to a better place is the core of self-improvement. If you’re miserable, that runs counter to this idea. It also increases the chance you’ll give up.

Learning how to say no, learning how to quit something that’s not working is as important as learning to do something you don’t enjoy at first. You need to find something that works. I don’t like kale, but I do like quinoa. I don’t take full cold showers, but I do rinse off with cold water.

Learning to adapt an idea to fit your desires, interests, and lifestyle is a very useful skill. You can continue on the path to a better place while reducing the amount of will power you use to get there. We only have so much will power. We need to protect it.

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