Recently I was talking with someone about what it means to be hungry. He said, "there is a difference between American hunger and Malawi hunger. In America, people ask, What do I want to Eat, and then they talk about things they don't feel like eating. In Malawi, they eat every last drop put in front of them because they are hungry.

Living a privileged life is that you begin to forget the difference between what you want and what you need because they are very different things. Desire is always based on feelings focused on the short term but needs still focus on the long run.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” Mahatma Gandhi

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What Do I Want to Eat? Why This Question is Killing You  

Want is not as powerful as many think it is. Think about all of the things in this world that people say they want. People wish to all of the time, but the ability to want is nothing compared to a need. When people feel they need something, they will go to all the earth ends to make sure that they get it. 

When you're thinking about what you want to eat, you set yourself up for failure in many different life aspects. Eating is one of the most frequent places that your discipline is tested daily. 

What you feel like eating is usually the tastiest thing you can imagine. You want that pizza or the taco from your favorite Mexican place. You want the food that makes your mouth water, but it is also not that great for your insides. 

What you need to eat is food that is great for you which includes

  • High energy food 
  • The right amount of calories 
  • Minimal sugar
  • Easy to digest 
  • Makes you feel good 
  • Promotes clear thinking
  • Helps to improve any existing health conditions
  • Helps to fight off health conditions 

The food you need in your life may not be as fun to eat. You're left with making a choice. Do you want to eat what you know is right for you in the long run, or give and fulfill your short term desires? 

When you're thinking about what you want to eat, you set yourself up for failure in many different life aspects. Eating is one of the most frequent places that your discipline is tested daily. 

You Must Choose Discipline 

People who are disciplined consistently choose what they want most over what they want at the moment. That is why discipline is impressive because you know how to accurately figure out what is a need for your long term goals. Once you know what you need to do to win, you only focus on doing those things. 

If you know eating junk food will not help you get to what you want in life, you should not do it. It's easier said than done, but that is why discipline is praised and so hard to find in people. We are always tempted with distraction after distraction. Our phones want our attention, that ad seeks to pull us in, and that junk food is still shouting our name. 

You have to choose discipline. When you decide to stay focused on what you need, you let go of asking what do I want to eat. The truth is that many of what you wish to will not even help you in the long run. 

How Do You Choose Discipline?

The easiest way to choose discipline is to focus on accomplishing daily habits. Build up to tracking 10-20 habits per day. These are actions that slowly move you closer to your big picture goal in life. 

When you your track habits, it does a few things. One allows you to know how you're doing continually. The second thing it does is provide a bit of pain when you don't accomplish a habit. You have to mark down an X each time that you do it. The third thing is that habits give you positive actions to focus on each day. 

Goals are great, but you don't need to focus on them all day. You need to focus on the daily actions that will move you closer to your goals. As you move closer to your goals, you will be more motivated to focus on what you need to eat vs. what you want to eat. 

You have to be able to bounce back from failure. There will be days that you will give in to your temptations, and that is ok. You don't have to beat yourself up over it, get back on track as fast as possible. 

When you your track habits, it does a few things. One allows you to know how you're doing continually. The second thing it does is provide a bit of pain when you don't accomplish a habit. You have to mark down an X each time that you do it. The third thing is that habits give you positive actions to focus on each day. 

What Do I Need to Eat? 

If you have not figured it out yet, this article is not about what food you need to eat. That is different for every person. The article is about how to move away from the person that focuses on wants at the moment.

You can never be disciplined when you're focused on short term wants. You can never be successful until you develop discipline. 

Look at how many stars have fallen off the map due to lapses in their discipline. This stuff is a huge deal!

Questions to Ask Yourself In These Hard Moments

  • What do I want most right now? 
  • Why do I want this so bad right now? 
  • Will I feel good about this choice in an hour? Or a day later? 
  • How am I lying to myself right now? 

You want to ask yourself these questions anytime you're asking what I want to eat right now. The more truthful you are with the answers, the more you will focus on what you need. 

You can never be disciplined when you're focused on short term wants. You can never be successful until you develop discipline. 

Consistently Choosing Need > Want

The number one thing you need to succeed at ANYTHING is going for needs over wants. You see this play out in so many different areas of life.

When a person decides to live below their means, what they are doing is spending only on what they need to get by to save more money. Eventually, these families can go on to buy more of what they want.

When you see someone who consistently eats healthy and workouts, they can eat a dessert now and then feel guilty about it.

You see this when athletes train for a sport. They give up a lot of their social life to train and practice. Their focus is solely on what they need to do to be successful! Because of this discipline, they get the rewards of winning and everything that comes with that.

Focus on the things in life you need today. The more you focus on your needs, the easier it will be to move to wants. Many who only concentrate on wants never get what they want, but they also never develop the discipline to get anything long-lasting and worth the effort.

When a person decides to live below their means, what they are doing is spending only on what they need to get by to save more money. Eventually, these families can go on to buy more of what they want.

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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