Thursday, April 14, 2011
Nothing gets done in one fell swoop.
Rather, things get done in many inter-related "semi-swoops" (a term I found particularly amusing and discovered while I was researching the history of the peculiar expression "fell swoop"... I assume this diversion is a semi-swoop which is integral to the completion of this blog...).
It's true. Everything can be broken down into baby steps. (I prefer the term semi-swoops, actually, but for the sake of anyone reading this, I'll stick to "baby steps" -- even though it conjures up images of chubby legs and diapers in my distinctly un-maternal mind!)
Take, for example, my drive to work this morning. I didn't simply drive to work. I opened the garage door, unlocked my car, threw my work clothes in the back, sat down, started the car, set the radio (the all-important step!), checked my blindspots, pulled out of the driveway, closed the garage door, drove down the street, activated the turn signal, checked the rearview mirror, braked, looked both ways, accelerated into a turn... well, you get the picture.
The point I'm trying to get across is that if there happened to be a problem with any of these smaller steps, there would be a problem with my drive to work. If my car didn't start, major problem. If I didn't check my blindspots, definite potential for major problem. You get my drift.
And so, the girl who had previously filed the term "baby steps" in the "trite and meaningless" bin, has come to her senses and come to appreciate the necessity of these small gains. I am guilty of wanting to be fifty pounds lighter in one fell swoop. I need to learn to appreciate the semi-swoops... er... baby steps. I need to learn to appreciate the work that goes into becoming healthier: working out -- one workout at a time. Eating healthily -- one meal at a time. Sleeping well -- one night at a time. Changing my weight-related attitudes and thought processes -- one thought at a time. I've always been an "all-or-nothing" sort of person, and I need to become a process person instead. If I appreciate and focus on the process instead of the end, I will succeed.
Of course, it's possible to get TOO hung up in the process -- in the baby steps. If, for example I thought about driving to work in terms of, "move thumb over 'unlock' button while holding keys with remaining fingers, slowly depress 'unlock' button, release 'unlock' button, move other hand towards door, grasp door handle with four fingers over the top of the handle, activate bicep to pull door towards you, step to side to avoid being hit by door..." Well, you get the picture. If you micro-manage too much, tasks are (a) overwhelming, and (b) never get done. So, I need to find a happy medium... somewhere between obsession and carelessness.
My baby steps for today are ones I have already told my work partner, so I have some real, live support for these goals (a first for me!). 1) No more pop of any kind at work. 2) Nothing with lactose in it at work. 3) Nothing with gluten in it at work. 12-hour shifts can cover a lot of meals, so I tend to eat a lot at work, so changing my work eating habits should have a big impact on my general eating habits. (I was tempted to implement these goals as general rules for my whole life, but I'll start with work first. Baby steps.)