Addiction to Good Things

by Site Author

The fashion designer, Marc Jacobs, was having a stressful day. After yet another difficult meeting, he said to himself: “I am definitely going to the gym today.”

Some people think of going to the gym as a chore, as something they just have to do. But others, like Jacobs, think of the gym as an indulgence, a treat to be earned. And, unsurprisingly, people who look forward to time at the gym are more likely to go.

There is something clever about this—addiction to good things. When you think of the gym the way others think of gin and tonic, then it becomes much easier to find the time to exercise. If only we liked the things we should be doing, we would actually do them.

Psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that those who want to get in shape ought to emulate people like Jacobs. Cuddy warns against basing goals on outcomes. When your New Year’s resolution has you losing twenty pounds or running a marathon, you are setting yourself up to fail. After all, it’s really tough to lose twenty pounds. And as soon as the goal seems unattainable, it’s very tempting to give up.

Instead, Cuddy recommends that we base goals on process. Her 2015 New Year’s resolution: to “fall in love with running.”