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Building Ikea Furniture and Health- Are They Related?

Many of us have been there.  You just moved into a new place and your budget is tight, but you still want your new digs to look magazine ready.  If you are in the first camp of people, the idea of wandering around Ikea for 8 hours on a Saturday to pick out some new home decor thrills you.  If you are in the second camp of people, where I reside, the thought of going to Ikea puts you into a cold sweat.  You scour Craigslist and other bargain stores to try and avoid the inevitable, but damn Ikea with their competitive pricing and clean designs.  They win again.  You whip out your white flag of defeat, knowing you are doomed to sacrifice your once ‘sparkling with potential’ weekend.  It will now be filled with traveling to a distant suburb to the Ikea store and having approximately 10,000 parts scattered all over your living room floor.

I was in this particular scenario a couple weeks back when I wanted a new desk for my office space.  After stealing about 16 hours of company time searching the internet for alternatives, Ikea happened to have the desk I wanted.  Said desk was purchased, brought into the house, opened, and then I sat on my floor staring blankly at the cryptic instruction manual.  After taking some deep breaths to quell my fury against their asinine, wordless, instruction manual with the stupid, smiley blob people that have never built an actual piece of Ikea furniture, I turned the page and got to work.


Several minutes later, I had a desk drawer!  Sweet waves of satisfaction rolled over me.  Okay, maybe the blob people weren’t so stupid after all.  This wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Soon I had the sides put together and even the drawers put in.  My mental plane was now equal to how Edison must have felt after perfecting the light bulb.  Pushing aside this new feeling of sheer genius for a minute, I had a lot of time to think as I was screwing in baggies full of hardware into my desk.  The thought occurred to me that putting together this desk was quite similar to a person starting their health journey.  The task seems utterly undesirable, daunting, and thoroughly un-fun.  All the negatives come to mind- having to give up your favorite, delicious, unhealthy foods, feeling restricted, and the length of time it will take.  However, just like my Ikea desk, once the first small task is met with success, the momentum starts flowing on your path to health.  Maybe you give up soda.  It was mildly annoying, but you met your goal and realize that you feel better and maybe even dropped a pound or two.  Now you are ready to add a serving of fruits and veggies to your diet.  Boom.  You did that for two weeks and now you are ready to cut back on your processed food intake.  You are motivated by feeling more energetic, and knowing that you are on the path of really nourishing your body. You are basically ready to hit the Olympics at this point, you are feeling so good about yourself. Perhaps you might even be enjoying getting healthy a little?!

Fast forward 4.5 hours, and I had the desk completed.  I had taken frequent hiatuses to the kitchen for some munchies and hydration, and there was a brief period where I was rolling around on the floor moaning, “this is taking forrreeevvveerrrrrrrrr”, but I pulled myself out of my mini swamp of despair and kept plugging along.  The finished product was glorious. Not because it was a particularly amazing desk, but mostly because it was completed and I DID IT! I then got to do one of my favorite things, which is to make my space aesthetically pleasing.  Pictures, motivational quotes, books, and office supplies now have homes on my new desk.

On your expedition to better health, you also may veer off the path a little, roll around on your floor and think, “this is taking forrrreeevvverrrr!”  Keep the end goal in mind.  Whether you want to lower your cholesterol, ditch the cottage cheese butt, have more energy, or you want to look better so you can splurge on a new wardrobe, hold the conviction that it will absolutely be worth it. Savor the small successes, as these will be your motivators to accomplish a once seemingly impossible task.

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