You arrive to a cookout with the best of intentions. You’ve had a healthy snack at home so you aren’t starving, you plan to have a burger over a brat because that’s what you’re truly looking forward to, you’ll stop at 2 drinks and only have dessert if it’s homemade. You’ve got this!
Then you get there, the music’s playing and you think of how few cookouts there are left in the summer and…
What just happened? You used the YOLO mentality to excuse yourself for doing exactly what you want, future self be damned! I get it. I’ve been in the exact same situation. Because making healthy, balanced choices while simultaneously feeling you’re getting the most our of life is hard! The thing is, it’s not suddenly going to be easy. This battle of living like there’s no tomorrow, and living so you’ll have better tomorrow’s is with you for life.
Here are 3 ways to find middle ground:
Make YOLO! the Exception, Not the Rule
Tossing around, “You only live once!!” every opportunity you have is like saying “I love you” to everyone. It totally loses it’s meaning and power. I’m sure you’ll have a great time going to a movie after work instead of the gym class you planned on taking, or staying out until 3am making it impossible to meet your friend at 6:30am for a run. But if you put your goal actions and best intentions on the back burner regularly, you dull the experience and are no longer being spontaneous.
It doesn’t have to be a deep discussion with yourself, but for just a moment weigh how blowing off your original healthier choice compares with the fun in question. It’s rare that this will be the only time you can do whatever impulsive activity is at hand, so think if it’s worth it, and sometimes it will be. For example, I rarely go out for happy hour during the week. But my husband and I finally connected with friends we hadn’t seen in over a year, and the best day and time we could all see each other was over a happy hour drink on a Tuesday. This was worth it to me. I hadn’t seen them in a long time, we had a ton to catch up on, and with a new job on their horizon, we weren’t sure when the next opportunity would arise.
By making these times an exception to the norm, you really are making these moments special and unexpected.
Redefine Your Interpretation
YOLO doesn’t have to equate to unhealthy indulgences. The thought of only living once can ignite a fire in you to make your time count, to live the way you want your life to be. Personally, I use this towards my running. When I think I’d rather sleep in then get a run in under the rising sun, I think of how many people can’t. Can’t experience the endorphins, the quiet streets, the feel of footsteps falling loudly under heavy breaths and pumping heart. I may not be able to do this forever, so I’m going to get out of bed and do it today because I can.
You only live once, don’t you want it to be as long and vibrant as you can make it? Sure, being the life of the party until the wee hours and ordering pizza because you don’t wan’t to cook sounds vibrant in the moment, but how do you feel when you wake up versus how you feel when you’re on top of your game?
Again, this isn’t to say you can’t have those late nights of take-out and bad movies with your best friend, we need these, too, but they’re best enjoyed sprinkled in instead of being the main course.
Live Towards Your Goals
Often the idealized fun-filled life that we see plastered through our feeds isn’t the one of your goals. Define what you want out of your one life and make that ideal drive your decisions. Your goal of launching your own business may mean a last minute ticket to an entrepreneur conference across the country is your way of living once.
Being clear with yourself of what you want out of your one life will make it easier to decide how and with whom you want to spend your time, money and energy on. Defining your word of the year can make this vision more real, so take the time to pick a word or mantra for your life and illustrate where your YOLO choices will take you!