The Tortilla Principle (Or, Why We Need to Talk About What You Won’t Do) by Lisbeth Darsh

The Tortilla Principle (Or, Why We Need to Talk About What You Won’t Do) by Lisbeth Darsh

I have this thing for tortillas. If all bread disappeared from the planet tomorrow, I’d be okay, but I would have some serious issues if all the tortillas went missing.

For some weird reason, the choice to have one tortilla per day is really important to me. It makes me happy, whether that tortilla is part of a breakfast taco in the morning or a chicken soft taco in the evening.

And without the option to have that one tortilla, (just the option, not even exercising that option), I kind of lose it. Not lose it like weeping in Target while wearing pajama pants in the afternoon and tortilla sadnessbuying unnecessary plastic objects and giant bags of “fun-size” candy. Not that kind. But the cranky, quick-on-the-trigger existence where you’re not really mad but you’re not so much fun to be around either. I think you probably know what I mean. So I refuse to give up tortillas as part of any nutritional plan. It goes on my “I Won’t” list.

And that’s what I want to talk about today: the “I Won’t” list.

See, in society we hear much talk about what you are willing to do to be healthy, how you are willing to achieve your nutritional and exercise goals.

  • I’m going to hit the gym 4 days per week
  • I’m going to hit my protein goal every day
  • I’m getting up an hour earlier each day so I can work out at 6am

That’s all good. We need to identify those qualities, those markers within us, because life consists of a repeated and growing awareness of what we are willing to do and how far we are willing to go.

But there’s something else you need to factor in: your capacity for success is also predicated on what you are not willing to do. What you won’t give up. Where you draw the line at discomfort. Yes, your list of things you won’t do. Examples:

  • I won’t eat vegetables
  • I won’t stop eating cheese
  • I am NOT running
  • Nope. No high intensity exercise
  • I can’t get up at 5:30 am to walk. That’s too early
  • I won’t lift weights because I’ll get “bulky”

It’s important to look at these things because definitive statements are an indicator of our mindset, and, as such, we should take a moment to examine them for clues.

So, right now, take a piece of paper and write at the top: I WON’T … and then fill in 5 lines below with things that you are not willing to do in the pursuit of a healthier body. Just write. Don’t consider your rationale at this point. Just mark your solid points.

Then, take a look. Consider if all your points are valid. If they are? Keep them!yo dawg wont list

If you’re unsure about their validity, ask yourself more questions, like: Why are you unwilling to ______? What would that mean to you? To your life? To your family? Moreover, what if you could do _______, just for a little while? Would that be okay? Would you survive?

You may have understandable stances in your list. (Example: “I will not do kipping pull-ups” if you have a shoulder injury.) But you might have a middle ground too, like you won’t swim because you’re afraid of the water … but you could take swimming lessons and conquer that fear. Or you might also have absolutes that don’t have a concrete basis: “I can’t work out more than two days a week.” Maybe, if you rearranged your schedule a bit, you could? Or, if you’re afraid of gaining muscle and getting “bulky” perhaps you could see your way to a different viewpoint?

Compiling your list of won’t and then analyzing it can be handy in getting to know yourself more. Think about your behavior and your mindset. Because here’s something important to visualize: the road to success has two lines running down the middle like a big yellow double-strip on black pavement. And those lines represent what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do.WhiteSands2012 unsplash

And do you want to know a secret? Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Think about that: Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Maybe that’s getting in an extra walk on a Friday afternoon when you just want to go home and sit on the couch. Maybe that’s taking 30 minutes to cook a healthy dinner instead of ordering take-out again. Maybe that’s meditating for 10 minutes a day to relieve your stress so you don’t grab for a bag of cookies instead.

Success is not an easy path, never has been. It requires smart planning, necessary sacrifice, consistency, constant re-evaluation, willingness to adjust, and dogged pursuit even when life gets hard. And it will get hard. But that doesn’t mean you won’t make it. That just means you need to be aware and determined. Like Paul Silas of the Boston Celtics used to say about basketball: “90% of rebounding is heart. You simply have to want the ball more than anyone else.”

So, want success more than anyone else. Figure out what is holding you back, and work on it. You might find some hidden key to a door you need to unlock. Good luck!

“Look to yourself. You free. Nothing and nobody is obliged to save you but you . . .  Somewhere inside you is that free person I’m talking about. Locate her and let her do some good in the world.” — Toni Morrison, “Home”