“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!
Full disclosure- I am a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. I have endured four Super Bowl and six straight NFC Championship game losses. I turned the tv off with three minutes left during the Minneapolis Miracle game. I couldn’t watch the Vikings lose again. I often turn the game off when I get “the feeling” it won’t go well. If you are a true Vikings fan, you understand “the feeling.”
So why do I write about the Vikings? Because there have been several times when I have stopped watching the game and the final score was not what I expected.
Much like a football game has ups and downs, so do weight loss and health. Life is not static. This week, I had some victories but also setbacks. It is easy to get discouraged by setbacks. This is why it is important to track what you do. When you track what you do, you begin to see patterns. The patterns often show why the set the back occurred. Did you give into temptation and eat the whole bag of Oreos? Did you get bored and just start snacking on what was available? Did you super size? Does the same thing happen at the same time every day?
I have two MAJOR challenge areas. First, after 6:30pm, I eat out of boredom. I’m not hungry yet I eat. This week I made a conscious effort to ask if am I hungry after 6:30pm. If I am, I eat some carrots (my go-to healthy choice) or drink a glass of water. Over the past couple of months, I didn’t make the good choice. I would eat the whole box of NutThins. This often made my spouse unhappy because they were purchased for her…and then I eat them all. I declare today, that I will not eat them anymore.
My second challenge area is the weekend. On the weekend, patterns and schedules break down. So does meal planning and tracking. This often offsets the positive progress of Monday-Friday. Amazingly, just two days of poor choices can cancel five days of good choices.
So, like a football game, I am adjusting my game plan. This weekend, I will track my food intake and plan my meals. I will make my health a priority. I’ll report back next week on how it went.
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.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I set a goal to walk for 10,000 steps (approximately 5 miles) every day until the pandemic was over. I started on March 1, 2020. Yesterday, while walking my dog, I completed 700 days.
While I am ready for the pandemic to be over, I am not ready for this streak to end. New goal is 1000 days. Focus forward.
It’s been one year since I took the picture. One year of change I never thought would happen. One year of steady improvement.
I began this journey alone and unhappy. I began not knowing where to start. But I made the decision to change. My advice – make the decision about why then work on the how.
Over the last year, I have received so much encouragement and support from family and friends. Thank you it made a difference. I haven’t been perfect but I have improved. And more importantly, I could not have done it without the encouragement. I am grateful for all the kindness.
Today’s challenge is for you to thank a friend and family member. Call, text, email, message, Snap, What’s App or snail mail them. Just thank this person for something they did.
“Persist, pivot, or concede. It’s up to us, our choice every time.”
― Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights
I started reading Matthew McConaughey’s book this week. The above quote jumped out at me. When faced obstacles and challenges, we have three choices. Last week, for the first time since George W Bush was President, the woman’s soccer team at my alma mater defeated a longtime conference foe ending an 18 game losing streak. I was fortunate to be there to capture this picture of the woman who scored the winning goal.
The picture, the winning goal, and my weight loss are all the result of persistent and steady pursuit of a goal. I could have given up of weight loss many times. The soccer team could have conceded. Neither of us did. We persisted and pivoted until we found something that worked. Both of us are celebrating our success.
Take time this weekend to examine The obstacles and challenges in your life. What is the best strategy. Persist? Pivot? Concede? To me, it seems obvious that two of these strategies will lead to more success than the other.