Today’s topic is a 4-letter word. Like many, this 4-letter word is a loaded one. There are those who think tossing it around makes them cool, and others who are shocked when it comes up. Whatever your feelings, there are better words to use if you’re really trying to make a point.
What’s the word?
Wait. Were you expecting something more racy?
I live in the United States, where we as a society seem to be preoccupied with the idea of the BEST of everything. What’s the best boat, the best diet, the best workout program. Easy information available on the internet means we can spend endless hours researching, debating the finer points, and, let’s face it - procrastinating. It’s so easy to get paralyzed. A quick google search of the term “best sailboats” will give you over 17 MILLION results in less than half a second. “Best workouts”? Over 47 million hits. I have a hard time deciding between the 20 or so shampoo options at the store, sure I’m going to miss out on something better. How on earth can I sift through MILLIONS of options?
Part of the issue with this nebulous concept of BEST is that it’s so personal. There’s no absolute best anything, and trying to research BEST will just run you into someone else’s opinion trying to be passed off as fact. Your best sailboat might be a 50-footer, because you’ve got a family of 6 plus a dog to take with you to the Bahamas for a year. Someone else’s best sailboat, on the other hand, might be the Laser she can take out whenever the urge for skimming across a race course hits.
If wellness encompasses peace of mind (and it does), working on someone else’s definition of BEST is about as far from wellness as a Swan is from an Opti.
Best is a four-letter word. It paralyzes, stumps, frustrates, and lends itself to inaction.
My best diet might be the all-organic, vegan, gluten-free way of eating my body responds well to; yours might involve frozen vegetables and burgers on the grill. Someone else’s (well, until they learn more from me!) might be what take out restaurant is programmed into their phone. Fed is best, after all – we can work on the nuances as we go along here.
If you argue with me about THE best workout program, as you are preparing to compete in a weight-lifting competition, while I am trying to cross the finish line on my first 5-k race, we’ll both end up frustrated and angry. And if I try to do one while I really should be doing the other, chances are good I’ll get so mad I’ll quit altogether.
Let’s leave off the best.
Instead, bring on the YES.
Decide. Start. Stop researching, make a decision, and begin to take action. You may not wind up with anyone else’s definition of the “best” of anything, but you’ll know a heck of a lot more about your personal needs and wants by doing than by scrolling forever.
The best sailboat? The one that takes you sailing. Are you looking to zip around the race course? Spend weekends on it in a marina? Take a week to explore the neighboring creeks? Sail to the islands for a year? Chuck it all and move aboard permanently for globe-circling adventures? Figure out that question, that answer, and say YES to the boat that will take you there.
The best way of eating? The one that fuels your body well. You might be diabetic, or have thyroid cancer. You might love eating raw or paleo. You might be vegan, or have celiac disease, or be allergic to peanuts. You might just love experimenting with recipes or are an expert in the crock pot. Stop listening to what’s best for everyone else and decide what works for you. Say YES to making one thing from scratch this week, just one, in whatever way you can.
The best exercise program? The one you will do. Period. It’s the one you can say YES to, the one you will enjoy and laugh at and look forward to. And there are times when the best exercise program is the one you can fit into the time you’ve got available to you. Imagine if the concept was “what’s the YES exercise program?”
Can you spend 3 hours at the gym? No? Ahh, can you sit down in a chair?
I bet you just said YES. Maybe even out loud. Of course I can sit down in a chair, Nica. How is that exercise?
What if you start to sit down, change your mind halfway through, then stand up? That’s a squat. Can you do one? Yes? Okay, how about three? Yes again?
If you say yes to one thing, it makes it way easier to say yes to the next.
Stop reading right now and do 10 squats.
Wellness is kind of like going sailing. There are as many ways to go about it as there are pages in the West Marine catalog, as many opinions about the BEST thing out there as there are dinghies crowding the dock at any happy hour bar in Florida.
Bottom line, though? It’s really all about the YES. What can you say YES to today?
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