As reiterated millions of times, one of the most familiar and long-standing marketing slogans in the history of slogans is Nike’s “Just do it.” As parents, we use this phrase almost as many times as we ask kids to do something. And not in a Shia LaBeouf kind of way, but more in an exhausted manner. Slightly slurred with a hint of desperation and inferred begging: jus’… doit.

The same tone I whisper to myself when the alarm goes off (on the 3rd snooze). When I have to go talk to someone I really don’t want to go talk to. Sitting in the car, before you turn the key, dreading your destination.

Sometimes it’s used with the opposite motivation. “I shouldn’t have a cookie. But it looks so good. I told myself I wouldn’t. Oh, they have white chocolate macadamia nut. Stop staring, just do it.”

I wonder how many things we could accomplish by just doing whatever it is we’ve been contemplating. In quitting smoking, it’s called going Cold Turkey. But really you just finally made the decision to do it. One of the only times in high school where I actually called a girl to ask her out was under the influence of “just do it,” surrounded with encouraging phrases, like

“at least it won’t kill you”

“no one else has to know”

“it’s over the phone so you can still save face”

“worst she can say is no… or is it???”

But really, I got sick of my pathetic-ness and dialed. Her mom answered and said she was out of town for the rest of the summer. See! It didn’t kill me and no one has to know, till now. I don’t even remember her name. But I did it! Sort of.

Fast forward to now. My wife decided to make healthier food choices in January. For her sake and my own, I decided to do it with her. The past couple months I pretty much gave up doing anything healthy because the holidays are a minefield of temptations. Office parties, potlucks, Christmas cookies, my famous Christmas Punch, Salted Caramel Lattes, I could go on. And I did. Many times. And it was glorious.

But it put me up to an all time high weight. Knowing that the problem was my substandard food choices, I knew all I had to do was cut out bread and sugar and it would make a significant difference.  So on New Years Eve I drank my last Sun Drop, and stuffed myself with junk food. One last hurrah! Then went back out to get another Sun Drop. One more last Hurrah!  Then… it was the weekend.

Oh no. The weekend. I didn’t factor this in to the equation. We typically hit restaurants in the time between the food at home running out and Sunday night’s grocery trip. Oh the temptations! Qdoba, Wendy’s, Zaxby’s (Zax sauce), and they all have those new 100 flavor touch-screen Coke machines. So what did I do?

I just did it. The healthier choice that is. Seriously. It’s a coke. How utterly pathetic am I if I can’t say no to a drink choice? Just do it. I got a salad each time instead of a sandwich. It’s not difficult. At all. I’ve lost 5 pounds in a week. Good grief, just do it.

My wife worked as an Meeting Planner at NASA in Cape Canaveral, visited a friend’s office once and asked what he was working on. “Well…. we’re trying to figure out how to get to Mars.” OK. That’s difficult. It is NOT difficult to overcome discouragement when comparing the communion juice cup sized free water to the movie-themed, free-refills, 32oz “medium” cup. Anything that could be categorized as a First World Problem is not difficult.

Maybe this falls in line with the modern day, catered, spoiled brat syndrome (that’s a medical term). We like to dramatize everything to the point where it feels just as hard, but it’s not. I’ve been dragging my feet with this Public Speaking idea for about a year and a half. Ever since I won the District contest and had the thought that maybe, just maybe I’m actually good enough. If you want something, you have to ask for it, right? Just do it. So I did at the easiest of opportunities, the chamber meeting where I’m a member, the church’s men’s retreat, our Toastmaster meetings (anything counts), and others I’m queuing up. Idea is to always have a speech scheduled ahead of me to be working on. Progress is happening. Cause I’m a genius? Cause of all the podcasts? Cause of a how-to guide? No. I just did it.

Two caveats: (aren’t there always)

First. Yes of course there are real problems that might take something extra to accomplish. Actual serious addictions. Medical factors. Rare opportunistic situations. Obviously not every want can be instantaneous.

Second. I’ve been endlessly listening to podcasts, lectures, and interviews for the past few weeks. Once in a while there’s a nugget of info that sticks with me. One today was to combine the undesirable thing you should do with something you want to do, like only watch your favorite show while on the treadmill (credit: Christine Carter). That’s a neat idea. There’s nothing wrong with finding an avenue, or a gimmick, or an app that helps get it done. Just do it!

So try this experiment. Find the smallest possible change you would want to make. Going to bed on time. One less coffee. Not looking at your phone during church. Then do it. It’s downright silly how empowering it is to overcome the most menial challenge. Congrats, you get a gold star.

NO! You do not get a gold star! JUST DO IT, you baby!

I’m sorry.

I didn’t mean to yell… *sigh*

jus’… do it

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