Why is pleasure important when we’re talking about making changes? I’m Dr. Liz from Sex-Positive Psych. And today, I’m talking about something fun, enjoyable, joyous and that is pleasure. Something I’ve noticed is that a lot of people when they are talking about making a change are focused on either things they should be doing or things they want to not feel anymore. So for instance, if we look at New Year’s resolutions, how many people have a new year’s resolution of going to the gym because they should work out? How many people have a resolution of losing weight because they don’t like what they see in the mirror? How often do people stick to those resolutions? The statistics, they don’t lie.
When people start resolutions that are based on “Shoulds” or “Oughts” or on things we feel badly about, it is highly unlikely that we will continue them. Because humans, we are creatures that seek out pleasure. When we’re looking at making the change, it’s important to find what it is that we can do that will bring us pleasure and lead us down that path of change.
So for instance, if what you want to do is do something physical with your body more often. What do you enjoy doing with your body? Do you like dancing? Do you like running? Do you like hiking? Do you like swimming? Do you like kayaking? What is it that you really enjoy? What gives you joy? What brings you pleasure? Do that thing!
If we are saying is “I need to go to the gym because I should be lifting weights” it’s so unlikely that that’s going to stick especially if you’re coming from that place of not enjoying it. If you can find the space of saying, “OK. Well, what I want to do is go to the gym to lift weights.” “What I really enjoy is listening to super upbeat happy pop music while I’m lifting weights.” So my reward for going to the gym is I get to listen to my favorite playlist of like terrible trashy pop music. Then it’s much more likely you’re going to follow through. If you can find the pleasure in the things you want to do, those are things you’re going to continue with. If you aren’t enjoying it, if you aren’t getting pleasure from it, if there isn’t something about it that makes you feel good, it is really unlikely that you’re going to stick with it.
So when we’re talking about making change especially lasting change, we need to find pleasure. If what you want to do is change what you’re eating and you will instead start eating really bland, boring food, you’re not going to find the pleasure there. If what you do is cook really beautiful, delicious food that’s within the kind of foods that you want to be eating, you are much more likely to enjoy that. Or, maybe what you do is you order a meal delivery service so that you can enjoy not having to cook, not doing dishes, just sitting back and eating beautiful food. Find the pleasure and let that guide your change.
When we make our changes for a place of understanding what’s important to us and what feels good, those are the changes that we stick with. I’m huge into this idea of creating pleasure-focus lives. Now a lot of people, they’re going to say, “Well, can’t I go too far? Aren’t these people who eat too much or spend too many hours on the Internet just diving too deep into their pleasure?” I would argue that a lot of times. When we’re getting into those out of control behaviors, those behaviors that feel compulsive, what we’re doing is chasing pleasure without actually experiencing it. We’re eating all of the food but not tasting any of it. We’re surfing all of the Internet but not actually enjoying it. We’re playing video games for hours but not noticing what is pleasurable in that experience.
I think that if we took the time and the mindfulness and the presence to have pleasure in the things that we were doing, it would be much harder to do things in excess. If I am truly paying attention to every sensation and flavor and texture of a piece of chocolate, it’s going to be hard to eat an entire bag, you’re going to reach satiety, you’re going to be satiated much more quickly. So when we’re looking at change, I want us to start thinking about coming from a place of pleasure. If you want to be with me and join this pleasure revolution, I’ve got something exciting coming up. I’m not quite ready to tell you about it yet but as soon as it’s ready, I’ll have the link down below.
But sufficed to say, I want to help all of you start finding your pleasure so that you can make those changes you’ve always wanted to make. I’m Dr. Liz from Sex-Positive Psych. If you have questions or comments, leave them right down below. And, I can’t wait to hear from you.