The Right Thing To Do

I recently rediscovered a whiteboard I kept on my desk at my old office:

Whiteboard: "Because it's the right thing to do"

During my “loss phase”, I used this mantra whenever I felt a little wiggly while tippy-toeing along this (then) new path. It helped to keep me focused on the task at hand and not the 100 pounds I had to lose.

Why I should opt for the Jason’s salad bar over the scrumptious nachos the people at the next table were enjoying? “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Why should I go to the gym when it’s 40° and raining? “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Why should I choose plain or vanilla yogurt over one of the “dessert yogurts” a few shelves over? “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

And so on.

As I child, I was taught that the reward for “doing the right thing” is…doing the right thing. Sometimes there’s a tangible reward, but there shouldn’t be any expectation of one. The greater reward, I was told, was in the knowledge that I had made the right choice and acted on it.

I’m not sure why I never applied this childhood lesson to my weight loss efforts. For some reason, I always had to see results. Too many “flat abs fast” ads and articles, I suspect.

My little desktop reminder helped me focus on the simple premise that the choices I make are beneficial (or not) on their own, no matter what the scale shows or what size/shape I happen to be at the time. (Although I do have my moments, as documented in whiny posts here and there.)

If you’re struggling with your intended plan, or find yourself discouraged with your results, please remember that every “right” choice you make is a reward in and of itself. By making those choices, you’re giving yourself better nutrition and greater physical capabilities, not to mention the confidence that comes from being in control of your actions. In the long run, that’s the greatest reward of all. (But I agree, smaller pants feel good, too. :) )

Do you have a mantra, or catch-phrase, you return to time and time again?

28 thoughts on “The Right Thing To Do

  1. Thanks for the reminder again Cam….and thanks for your posts…I enjoy reading about your road trips….what do you do for work that you have to travel so much? You have have said in the past but I must have missed it…hugs Khris in Oz

    • Hi Khris!
      I work for a soft drink company, training restaurant staff on how to take care of their new fancy-pants soda machine. It uses new technology to dispense 100+ flavors and is quite the hit here in the U.S. I like the filtered water. :)

  2. I love this. It’s just what I need to employ.
    Just simple and to the point.
    It’s nice to be back to reading and to enjoy your positive posts.

  3. I used to write on post-it’s ” The answer is not in here” and post it in the snack part of the cabinet. Now I do 1 better and I got rid of the snacks that trigger.

    Also, “you can do this or you can do that- and this is where it’s at”. Think of that Kia commercial with the hamsters driving the car, or the part where they drive the cardboard box.

    I like your saying on the marker board. There are no room for excuses in that saying. Good topic.

  4. I use the old Keep Calm and Carry On mantra. I have the saying on a necklace that I keep near and visible to remind me.

  5. Great post! I love the reminder and the attitude. I remind myself often that I’m stronger and more resourceful than I think.

  6. I very much embrace the idea that the reward is in the action itself. Years ago, when I would sign up for a weight loss program that used external rewards, it never felt right to me…it felt contrived.

    These days my mantra is “practice don’t preach.”

    • that’s one I can use myself, Karen. Not so much for exercise, but for organization. :)

      I use rewards for myself for accomplishing different tasks, but to be honest, they’re usually things I would do anyway. (Manicures, an hour reading, etc.) I just like “winning” them. LOL (Yes, I have a strong inner 5-year old!)

  7. Great reminder! I like to say to myself “dedication, not motivation” because that is what gets you through the times when motivation has taken a side trip.

  8. Great mantra and mine is similar….Do The Next RIGHT Thing! Through all my years of coaching/counseling folks in the process of losing their jobs, this was what we taught them to focus on when the big picture was far too overwhelming. Just take it one step at a time and do the the next right thing! Works in all situations!

    • So true, Sharon. We don’t need to worry about tonight’s dinner party or tomorrow’s workout. We just need to focus on what’s up next!

  9. I usually stick to “Never give up”, there are often times when life gets tough and you just need to ride it out, and thats when my mantra comes in. I used to always want to give up on my fitness goals but this phrase has saved me time and time again :)

  10. Love this post Cammy!!! Can be applied in so many ways!

    I have had different ones along the way – right now I keep telling myself age is just a number so I don’t use my turning 55 in November as an excuse to maybe slow down & not do as much. 😉

  11. I love it (and probably will steal it)! My mantra was “You can’t fail if you don’t quit!” I needed to say that to myself every time I would fall off the wagon, which in the beginning was pretty frequently. I had to convince myself that the ONLY failure was in giving up. As long as I believed that, I could get back on the horse again and again. Eventually, I was able to internalize that. Even today, if I have a slip up, it’s so easy to just pick up where I left off – it’s second nature to me now.

  12. I am laughing right now because whenever my husband acts a little bratty and doesn’t want to do something, like for example – pick up his clothes of the floor – I say, “come on sugar, do the right thing.” Of course, I also use this line when I’m trying to get my way. 😉

  13. I like this: ” every “right” choice you make is a reward in and of itself’ I will remember this and use it this week.

  14. I love this because it is simple and to the point. For years I have used motivational quotes and mantras to keep me on track. Years ago when I was embarking on losing weight and changing my life I wrote down an entire note card of motivational quotes and carried them with me. When tempted to stray from my food plan I would pull it out and read them.

    Some of my favorites:
    Winners never quit, quiters never win.
    Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going.
    Don’t give up what you want the most for what you want in the moment.
    Be committed, Do What it takes and you will Have what you want.
    Act as if….

  15. I like what you wrote in here. It is really true that sometimes we lose our focus and motivation on what we are trying to achieve due to unavoidable circumstances but if we just find the courage to stay focus and find the inner strength to continually doing it, the reward is so amazing. Its true, smaller pants feel sooo good. LOL.

  16. Well I am going to be traveling to the States for 3 months leaving Australia on the 24th October…I am so hoping I can be as good as your are Cammy….seriously you are just an inspiration….thank you.
    Hugs Khris

    • Wow, 3 months! I can’t imagine a trip that long. But I’d sure like to. :)

      If you’re anywhere near Memphis, sing out! I’d love to meet you!

      • Hey you know we are coming to Memphis…I said to hubby that this trip we have to got to Memphis and Graceland….we have traveled to the States twice before but never got to that area so this time we have to visit. I have to finalise our itinerary but it looks like it is late December early January that we would be there…..would be awesome to meet up.

  17. Yep – that’s a great mantra. I use that a lot, myself. I also say, ‘You don’t do that anymore’ when I want to eat an entire cake. lol

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