Start small to create change
Monday, September 17, 2018
In yesterday’s blog I was talking about the big picture, and the neverending journey that is living a healthier lifestyle... but it occurs to me that looking at the big picture can be daunting, especially if you aren’t looking back at the weight loss aspect of it, but rather still have 50, 100, 150 to lose. What then? Do you look at the big picture of the whole amount and say “wow, I have a lot to lose!”...? I wouldn’t recommend it. For me, breaking it down into 5 pound increments worked so much better. I could see the achievement in a reasonable amount of time usually, and each success impelled me to reach for the next goal, until holy crow! I had lost 50% of my starting weight! I really was half the woman that I used to be. (I decided that weight was too thin, and not sustainable, so I put 15 pounds or so back on, and I am happier and healthier there, but there is a certain level of pride (?) in being able to say I lost that much.).
Looking at the big picture at the outset of your journey can help you set your initial goals... or at least it did for me... but then I had to put it out of my mind, and focus on the smaller goals. I needed the small successes of reaching each of the small goals to build my confidence that I could live a healthier lifestyle in the long term, without falling back into the old habits that had brought me to the state of morbid obesity. I have heard that it takes a month to establish a new habit over an old one... I don’t know about that... because I still feel the siren call of those old habits over 7 years after I started altering the old patterns. It is easier to just sit and eat junk food, and be depressed ( not more comfortable, but easier), than it is to get up and out and go for a walk, prepare a healthy meal and cultivate a more positive perspective on life. But the level of misery involved in sliding back into those old habits warrants the extra effort! The power of inertia is strong, even after several years though, such that it is still a conscious effort some days to make the healthier choices. But I have the history of successes, because I started small with SMART goals that I can lean on, and look back at and pat myself on the back instead of kicking myself. Because I have that history of successes, I can feel/hear the siren call of the old habits without giving in all that often... and every once in a while when I find myself starting to slip into some semblance of that old version of myself I can stop and say “NO!” And make the next choice a healthier one, and get my feet back under me. It is not about perfection, thank goodness... because I would have to hang it up if it were... it is about making the best possible choice out of the options before you in this moment/second/hour/day/life. Even if all the options in front of me seem unhelpful or unhealthy... I can choose the best option from what’s available, and then try to alter my circumstances such that healthier options become available. It comes back to the idea of Radical Acceptance that I talked about several days ago in my blog. I have to accept my current reality as it is in order to effect a change in that reality, and create a new and different result!
And gee, there I go getting all lecture-y again. lol... ah well... I guess it’s harmless, and I can get all my lecturing out in my blog, so I don’t irritate my friends IRL... haha