Creating "Win-Win" Situations

What the heck is a "Win-Win," anyway?

The term is frequently used by salespeople, managers, politicians, and earnest self-improvement types, which is reason enough to be suspicious. It's a concept especially likely to be introduced when you're about to get screwed over somehow.

And yet... there are true "win-win" situations in life! It is sometimes possible to have outcomes that don't involve ugly trade offs, concessions, or compromises.

In a health and fitness context, a "win-win" occurs when something that is Really Good for You also happens to be Enjoyable, and these instances are rare enough to deserve celebration. (More on that in a minute; there is actually a "real" blog post here if you persevere through the announcements).

But another example of a "Win-Win" is... when lazy bloggers who seek more interaction with readers find Sponsors with nifty Products who donate them for Giveaways which Readers can then win if they Leave Comments on the lazy bloggers giveaway posts!  (And in the case of a "best weight loss blog" poll, for instance, it's also win for the blogs that rank highly. Weirdly enough, Cranky Fitness gets tons of googlers hunting here for them).

And then there's even more of a WIN for Crabby if she can accomplish all of these goals in one relatively brief post:

1.  Announce that the Best Weight Loss Blog contest is about to close!

Go to the Best Weight Loss Blog Nomination post and comment by end the of day tomorrow (Friday, March 23rd).  If you haven't picked 10 yet, you can come back and vote for more!  And please think about (a) nominating your own blog if it's good and (b) telling your nominated blogger friends to send some fans over ASAP, because right now only one blog is doing that... and yet I have a strong sense there are other favorites among Cranky Fitness readers. The winning blog gets $50 bucks in the form of an American Express gift certificate donated by BodyLogicMD.  (And you could win one too!)

2.  Tell you about more Prizes!  

In addition to the two $50 Am Ex gift certificates, the 3 bags of Popcorn, Indiana Chip’ins and the 4 SmartForLife Protein Bars, you could also win:

eBooks that could change your life!

Tim Brownson, is, like me, a life coach, only unlike me he's gotten off his butt and gone beyond blogging to write some great ebooks.  He's a witty writer, he has tons of sage advice, and he has magnanimously agreed to offer up a copy of some ebooks. He's got a new one just out: "Aligning with Your Core Values" which will show you how to "get unstuck in life, work, and relationships." Some really helpful stuff in there! He's also offering a self-development combo pack or two of previous titles: "Don’t Ask Stupid Questions," "Don’t Panic," and "16 Ways to De-Stress Your Life."

A 24-package box of vegan strawberry Shakeolgy meal replacement/nutritional supplement shakes. 

Shakeology hails from Beachbody, the P90X people. These shakes "contain natural extracts and nutrients found in exotic plants in the most remote locations around the world."  Apparently some "strapping, 40-something Tarzan look-alike" dude named Darin Olien is responsible, and there's even a Shakeology video if you'd like to learn more.

3.  And finally, what was that about Health and Fitness "win-wins?"

In my mind, here are the 3 crucial principles for finding more healthy pursuits that you don't just put up with, but actually love.

Of course, longtime readers (or those who've wandered over to the "about" page) already know that this blog was founded on the principle that Healthy Living is a Pain in the Ass.  And if scientists were to finally invent a pill that I could simply swallow once a day to give me a healthy strong slim limber body...I'd be eating a lot more chocolate cake and logging a hell of a lot less time in the gym.

But by discovering enough golden gleaming "win-win" health and fitness options, I've managed to arrive at a state where I mostly enjoy, and am actually sometimes ludicrously ecstatic about, my mostly-healthy lifestyle. Plus, combining pleasure with "good" behavior is a source of one my favorite all time emotional states: that of smugness.

But here's what it took (for me):

1. Experimentation

I am obviously not the first person to note that you have to wander out of your comfort zone sometimes, but many of us seem to wired to resist change or at least be suspicious of it. (On the plus side, we make loyal mates and employees and rarely do impulsive things that land us in hospitals or jail cells).  But to find more and more of those enjoyable health and fitness win-wins, you gotta mix things up!  So, wander out of your comfort zone, endure awkwardness, risk embarrassment, and put up with periods of not liking something for a while until you get used to it.  Of course if you still hate it after a reasonable trial period, then by all means bail.

I could bore you with dozens and dozens of personal examples, but two off the top of my head: I now love roasted brussels sprouts and doing 10-15 minutes of my elliptical workout with no hands and eyes closed in order to practice balance and mental focus.  (Wait, what was that I said about not ending up in the hospital?) Neither of these came naturally for me.

2. Make a Substantial Investment--in time, money, and energy.

I absolutely love my playlists filled with awesome motivating songs playing at exactly the right beat for my workouts, my big-ass salads and smoothies and stir-fries full of wholesome, usually organic, and shockingly expensive ingredients, my ability to do unassisted pull-ups and chin-ups and intervals, my many and varied and beautiful walking and biking and hiking routes, my self mental self-improvement schemes and rituals designed to rewire my worrywart brain into a place of tranquility punctuated only by eager anticipation and euphoria...  none of these just "happened."  They all took time, thought, willpower and sometimes money.

The part that most "get fit and healthy" articles forget to mention:  this is all  time, thought, willpower and money that has to come from somewhere else.  THAT is the tricky part.  So, um, sometimes Win-Wins are really Win-Win-(lose) but that makes for a much less cheerful blog post, doesn't it?  So, um, just forget you read this paragraph.

3. The Willingness to Look Like A Total Ass in Front of Other People

Most people in modern society are not willing to prioritize and personalize their health and fitness goals at the expense of their social comfort.  So if you tote along your own snacks, do bizarre variations of exercises at the gym, sneak in some stretches in line at the post office, ask detailed questions about food preparation to eye-rolling waiters at snooty restaurants, describe with great enthusiasm your opinions on veganism or nutritional supplements or Zumba classes at cocktail parties... you risk looking like a weirdo.

Here's a tip: my middle age, it will seem much more obvious that (a) people are thinking more about themselves than about you and (b) those who might make judgments about how "weird" you are for caring about your health, or otherwise being true to your own values...  aren't much worth worrying about.  So save yourself a few decades of angst and inhibition and self-censorship, and just claim your own weirdness now and learn to love it!  Being "normal" is highly over-rated.

So, does anyone else have examples of stuff you love that is also good for you?  Any other ideas on how folks might discover more of these in life?

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