Small Changes

“Think about the massive positive change that could occur in the world if we each did even the tiniest thing to make a difference every single day.” – Jen Sincero

Twenty-three months ago, I made a decision to change. I made a commitment to be healthier and happier. Most of the physical change occurred in the first four months. Since then, despite repeated efforts to change even more, I have mostly stayed within a 10 pound range. While I have maintained, I haven’t made significant movement towards my ultimate goal. This has been frustrating.

A recent instagram post by Adam Grant may have led to a breakthrough for me. He said, “When you’re committed to a goal, it’s motivating to lookahead at how far you have to go. Staring at the summit fuels grit. When doubt creeps in, you’re better off looking back at how far you’ve already come. Seeing your progress builds confidence and commitment.”

While these quotes can be inspriational, they do little good if you don’t put them into practice. Reading Grant’s words reminded me that early in this process, I was committed to a very specific goal. I started each day with a singular focus. Specifically, I spent the begining moments (about 15 minutes) of each day thinking about what needed to happen that day to move me towards my goal. I thought about what was going to happen that day, where I might be challenged, and how I might deal with the challenges. As I moved through the day, I adapted as necessary and tried to stick to the plan. Obviously, it worked.

Stated another way, speding about 1% of each day to focus on my goal correlated to a tremendous change. Likewise, when I stopped consistently spending 1% in focus, I did not make significant progress towards my goal. Today, I changed my schedule. I started the day with 15 minutes of focus on my goal. Stay tuned!

Listen to your body

I spent the last 10+ days focusing on my health goals. I have made a greater effort to listen to my body. Our body sends us all sort of signals. I often ignored the signals. The pain in my knee? I must have slept wrong. Irritability? It must have been something some one did to me. Sore throat? I must be taking a lot. Since I often eat when I am bored, I spend more time listening to the signals my body is providing. Below are three things I have observed.

First, my body does an excellent job telling me when it is hungry. Over the last 10 days, I often woke up feeling genuine hunger. When I snacked after dinner, I didn’t wake up hungry. Eating a proper breakfast of fruit, yogurt, or eggs, the hunger feeling goes away.

Second, my body gets irritated if I eat processed food with sodium. How does my body respond to this? I have a lot more inflammation in my hands and joints and hence some minor pain and discomfort. I retain water and feel bloated. My skin looks and feels terrible. I look older. Depending on the food, I get a stomach ache. These are some of the small things that I notice when I don’t treat my body right.

Third, when I make good food choice, I feel much better. Good food choices included eating plenty of fresh vegtables. A couple of servings of fruit to appease my sweet tooth. And finally, drinking at least 90 ounces of water every day. I sleep better and have more energy. My skin looks and feels better. I have less pain.

As I write this, I admit I am struggling to achieve my present weight loss. I have fluctuated in a four pound window but am down one pound since I started. So today, I am going to plan and prepare for my weekend. Build in flexibility and focus. Make sure the right foods are in the house. Resist boredom eating and drink enough water.

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Persist and Stay in the game

It’s that time of year when many Americans turn their attention to college basketball. The NCAA has done an amazing job in promoting and branding the March Madness tournament (AND FINALLY ALLOWING WOMEN TO USE THE BRAND). There will be millions of brackets filled out and busted (Kentucky, Iowa).

I write this short post to remind people to stay in the game. Don’t quit. If you focus on the result you want, it will become your reality.

Last night, the Creighton University mens basketball team was down by 9 points with 2:29 left in the game. The team chipped away and tied the game at regulation to send the game into overtime. Down by two in overtime with 2:42 left, one of Creighton’s best player suffered an injury and left the game. Seconds later, another key player fouled out. Through persistence, belief, and teamwork, Creighton won the game 72-69.

This reminds me to persist and stay in the game. I will never achieve my goals if I stop trying. Each day I do something to move towards my goals. Persist. If I have a set back, I make adjustments and always keep moving towards my goals. Persist. Have a great weekend. Watch some basketball and move towards your goals.

Day 28 of Gratitude Challenge

First, I would like to say how happy and thankful I am that Michigan beat Ohio State yesterday. I truly don’t measure the value of my life based on a sporting event, but it felt good to cheer them on to victory. Pair it with a Minnesota Vikings win over the Green Packers a week ago – GOOD WEEK.

Yesterday I wrote about my gratitude for pictures. They capture moments and trigger memories. The picture attached to this post is of my father at the helm of his sailboat. What strikes me about this picture is the joy and happiness in his face. Clearly sailing was one of his joys. I wonder what he is thinking about in this picture?

However, this is not the father I remember. My father was a strict perfectionist. He demanded a great deal from us. But he never demanded more from us than he demanded of himself. Growing up with him was very stressful. Unfortunately, some of these traits have passed on to me (I am sorry to my family).

That said, my father gave his all for our family. He loved us deeply and was driven by a need to provide for us. He didn’t always express his love in a positive way. He taught me many lessons and played a major role in shaping me into the person I am today. There is no doubt I am a far better person because of my father. I wish he was still here. I could chose to focus on the negative aspects of my father. Today (and hopefully other days going foward), I choose to focus on the positive impact my father had on my life. I am grateful for my father. The good, the bad and the ugly. Take time to grateful for your father today.

Rainy Day Thoughts

Earlier this week, it was 70+ degrees and sunny. Today it is 40 degrees and rainy. A common descriptive phrase where I live is that we are the land of infinite variety. We also say if you don’t like the weather, wait 48 hours.

What if we all took a similar approach to all aspects of life. In other words, rather than reacting negatively to the current situation, we accepted it for what it was and looked forward to an optimistic the future?

So far, I have not written about the specific foods and “diet” that has lead to a nearly 70 pound weight loss. Rather, I have spent most of the time writing about mindset. This has been intentional.

For me, I attribute my success primarily to a change in my mind set and focus. From the beginning, I believed the next 48 hours, 30 days, and 3 months would bring a better result. You need to pay attention to what you’re doing today. You also need to have the patience and ability to look beyond what happens today.

Set aside time this weekend, whether it be 15, 30, or 60 minutes, to think about the person you want to be in the future. Write it down and commit to it. Next week, I’ll write about the food system I chose to follow. Have A great weekend!

Focus is reality

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.“ – George Lucas

One of the three pillars of my weight is focus. Knowing what you want and why you want it is essential. My focus this week is on my family, my career and myself. I have objectives and tasks I want to accomplish in each of these areas. More to come on focus tomorrow. What are you focused on this week?

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