It’s funny sometimes how the universe sends us messages.
As I drove through town last week, minding my own business and going about my errands, I noticed the lyrics from a song playing on the radio permeating my thoughts and getting my attention.
“You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need”
It was fitting because I’d been talking to folks about the obstacles they were encountering that were keeping them from what they wanted.
In most cases, what they wanted was more control over their time so they could enjoy the benefits of exercise, healthy eating, and meditation for stress relief. But there was so much in the way —driving to the gym, prep time for healthy meals, and work responsibilities — and it seemed like there wasn’t enough time for it all.
Part of my work as a certified wellness coach is helping people figure out how to navigate around those kinds obstacles so they can get to the good stuff, so I had been wondering what could be done to get them out of the way.
Later that day I was having a snack, and part of my snack was my daily habit of four olives, each one stuffed with a clove of garlic. (No, my husband has not mentioned that I smell like garlic. Everyone asks me that.)
As I ate my garlic olives, I remembered how they became part of my day. You see, I used to make a juice of carrots, oranges, lemon juice, and garlic cloves when I felt sick. I had done a bit of research and became convinced that raw garlic would boost my immune system so I drank it often during cold and flu season.
But one time, I was out of carrots, and I didn’t have enough oranges, and I didn’t want to go to the store. Knowing that the garlic was the most potent and helpful ingredient of the juice, a lightbulb went off over my head. I skipped the carrots, oranges, and lemon juice and went straight for the jar of garlic-stuffed olives in the fridge.
I didn’t necessarily get what I wanted, but I got what I needed.
And then I smiled, because I had the answer to my clients’ problems about not having time for the healthy habits that seemed so complicated. If they could specifically identify the most beneficial element of the habit, the good stuff, they could probably just go straight to that part and skip all of the obstacles completely.
The benefit of yoga can be captured with deep breathing, a guided meditation, and 15 minutes of quiet. It might not be what you want — an expert instructor guiding you through a class —but on days when you can’t get what you want, you can get what you need.
The benefit of healthy eating is almost always in the vegetables and water that comes along with a meal. A healthy meal doesn’t need to be sustainably-farmed local organic super foods cooked for maximum nutrient absorption. You can get what you need from that meal — vegetables and water — pretty darn quick at any grocery store.
A walk or jog in your neighborhood is just as valuable as a class at a fitness center. On the days when you can’t get what you want, get what you need. Just get that heart rate up and get the good stuff, and then get back to your other responsibilities a lot faster.
The obstacles we see between us and what we need and want are not fixed, and in many cases they are not even real. This week, pay attention to when you get to the part of your healthy habits that you needed, and explore how the next time you can skip the obstacles and go straight to the reward.
You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you can get what you need.