Sunday, February 17, 2008

Keeping a Sense of Humor

Not everything we do works out the way we plan. That's when "Plan B" - a sense of humor - comes in handy.

We try; we fail; we get back up and try again; we fail again. It can deplete your patience and your sense of humor. But stepping back and laughing, recognizing that as humans we really are allowed to err, allows you to move on and succeed.

I have always thought I was not good enough. So I tried harder. Failure was not really an option. Being less than perfect was embarrassing for me. When I took up quilting, I learned both patience and the release that comes from allowing myself to not be perfect.

I still push myself, but I also have more patience with myself, recognizing my "adult" side must be the "parent" to the "child within" me who seeks approval and wants to be accepted, even with my failings. So I accept that I am not always perfectly "on program" as we call it on my e*diets support group, and that is not going to stop me from being "on program" another day, even if it is not tomorrow.

I find a sense of humor, being able to laugh from time to time, helps me with that.

A friend sent me a link to this YouTube video by three young men. It's called "Carlos Man of Love" and it always makes me laugh. I hope you find something that always makes you laugh or otherwise find contentment and make peace with your frustrations. As they say, this too shall pass. Try to laugh today, while it's happening, rather than tomorrow when you look back. (P.S. It helps your stomach muscles, too!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Creative Visualization, and Getting What You Want!

There was a story about a person who wanted something so badly (s)he would pray to g-d, just begging g-d to let them win the lottery.

In disgust that none of their praying does any good, this person begins scorning g-d's way, saying "What good does praying to you do?"

Finally g-d shouts down at them, "I'm doing all that I can. Can't you please go buy a lottery ticket?"

The moral to this story (for me) is that of "G-d helps those who helps themselves," but more to the point of: you can't get your dreams to come true if you don't get out there and put yourself on the line to make it happen!

I'm reading all about that again now in a book written by this guy named Peter (Peter Bowerman to be specific (see link on the sidebar)) who may have had such an opportunity thrust upon him.

Some of the lessons he learned and that he shares in his book The Well-Fed Writer apply to all goals, like weight loss: You have to be able to visualize what you want.

This is part of being able to believe that it can happen. Your dream has to be visual and specific.

Mark Victor Hansen (see link on the sidebar) added the specific part. He said to write your dreams down, but be specific. For example, saying you want a big house is not specific. Saying you want a 5000 square foot house with a butler, a maid, and a cook who live in their own quarters out back on the 5 acre lot, back behind the retangular swimming pool and the flagstone patio and professionally landscaped backyard .... I think you get the idea. You would probably want to specify the number of bedrooms, size of the garage and kitchen, etc., as well.

But that would be visualizing it so much you can taste it. For someone I know who's actually auditioning today for Canada's version of American Idol, his dream might be appearing on Canada Idol and maybe then appearing on American Idol, or it could be actually winning a recording contract.

But he just did the 2nd important thing that Peter writes about in his book: he went for it!!!

Just as we are going for the weight loss, if we simply don't do anything - or if my friend chose not to go - then we won't be able to lose weight, and similarly he won't be able to appear (at least this time) on Canada Idol, the same outcome as the person in the story who can't win the lottery this week because (s)he didn't buy a ticket.

The second thing to do, after being able to "see" it being real, is to go for it!

My goal this week - as I am out of town on a business trip - is to keep eating foods I would eat at home, allow myself one special meal that I can't get anywhere else, drink all my water daily, and to get exercise - cardio - at least 3x this week.

My reward? Not having to work extra hard next week to make the weight loss and toning continue!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Big Decision (Do You Really Want It?)

It took me a couple of months last year to realize I wasn't really committing myself to the idea that I would lose the weight, increase my energy level and generally get myself back in shape.

If there is nothing else I am capable of, I know when I am BS'g myself.

Why should you wait and wade through two months of posts to learn what I can share with you right now? Before I tell you, think about this:

  • How are you doing on your goals this year?
  • How many goals do you have?
  • Are you focused or committed to making any one of them happen?

Here's the key ingredient to making anything work for you:
You have to decide you're going to do it; i.e., you have to be committed to it.

It's that simple and that hard. If you aren't ready to commit to it, you probably will not achieve it. It's that simple and that hard.

I found a couple of related posts this week which I have posted on the sideboard. One speaks to bloggers (Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life) and the other to writers (Commitment Contracts 1), but you will see that each took its ideas from the world of weight loss. (I've retitled the articles to provide a focus for what inside the article pertains to creating change in your life.)

Another suggestion is to read and heed the following from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition by William H. Murray:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness . . . [But] the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way."

So what do you really want to do this year? Decide and focus on those things; save the rest for making progress and perhaps for tackling next year. Biting off more than one bite at a time will certainly guarantee that you can't eat the elephant. You're more likely to gag, balk, and throw it (and your hands) up in the air.

Just Do it! (or, Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!)

Yesterday reminded me a lot of a year ago.

Getting off the extra high carb foods lately - dinners out for the New Year's and then with friends to celebrate my birthday in January - has been difficult.

I buckled down all last week. I had three things going for me:

1. I knew I could do it.
2. I knew how to do it.
3. I was tired of being tired (so very motivated to do it).

All I had to do was decide to do it.

What else did I know?
  • I'm a procrastinator. I know this about myself.
  • I may have adult ADD - that's my sister's working theory on me and her, shared by our Mom to explain why she couldn't train us to be more organized and neat. I do get distracted easily. I think that's just a sign that I don't really want to do something, but hey if we can blame it on something other than me, who am I to argue?
  • Or is my distraction just a way of procrastinating? Wouldn't that make all procrastinators part of the ADD crowd? Sounds like profiling to me!

Okay, so the point of knowing this about myself is that I know if I am going to do something, I just have to decide to do it -- as our venerable first lady Reagan once said - "Just do it!"

I apply that now to many things. If I think of something I meant to tell someone, I'll call right then and leave them a message (unless it really is the middle of the night and I know this friend won't appreciate a call between 12 am and 6 am. In that case, maybe I should call my office and leave myself a voicemail to remind me to tell them "this thing" I need to tell them. More than likely, tho, I will be on the computer and will email myself a note to do so (if I can't just email the information or thought to them). I have to do it now.

Yesterday, I had excuses why I wasn't exercising:

  1. It's too cold at 10:30 in the morning to meet up with friends and go for a hike.
  2. It's too early at 10:30 on a Saturday morning to get going and out the door.
  3. My son didn't want to go hiking.
  4. It's past 10:30.
  5. My hip is hurting too much, better not go to the 11:00 Zumba class.
  6. It's past 11:00.
  7. I'll just read one more thing on the internet.
  8. I'll leave after I finish this.

Does this sound familiar?

My brain starts its arguing in the opposite direction:

  1. I'll "Just DO IT" and then I won't have to think about it anymore.
  2. I'll go at 2 pm.
  3. The dog needs it.
  4. The park is not far away.

Again, the son doesn't want to go, my hip is hurting, I am finding so many interesting things to read online - I can't keep up with them! I need folders and files. There's so much to do around the house. It is my day of rest.

Eventually I look up and it's 3:15. So, finally, I just put down what I am doing (which I didn't want to leave) and I force ACTION.

Guilt is gone. Pain in the hip didn't disappear, but I did have hope that moving would "oil the joint" a bit.

Sometimes last year, this was all the exercising I got - a lot of arguing with myself to just "do it" and arguing against myself just as well. Do you find yourself arguing with yourself a lot?

So, I wasn't exercising much in January and February last year, but it was better than long nights at the office spent with vending machine goodies and pizza delivery which I had done the January and February before.

How are you doing this year compared to last year?