Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Stamina over speed

Last in a special series on the mental and emotional adjustments required for long-term change.

Anyone could tell she was annoyed with the result. Although she lost weight from the previous week, her irritation was palpable.

"One quarter of a pound? Four lousy ounces!" She continued to stare at the scale. "I exercised. I wrote everything down; I even stayed away from the hors d'oeuvres at the office party. This is too slow. I won't hit my right weight until I'm 60!"

Standing down from the platform, I heard her grumble as she snatched her purse, "Who needs this frustration?" With those final words, she stormed from the meeting. The next time she came to a meeting, she weighed 43 pounds more than when she had left - and was three years closer to the "dreaded" age of sixty.

At times it is difficult to remember that "slower is faster than never."

Few events are more exasperating than diligently following a plan, faithfully monitoring your efforts, expecting breathtaking rewards, and ending up feeling punished for the effort. Hope vanishes, motivation evaporates, and the seductive siren song of harmful habits slyly lures us off track. After all, rarely does one give up when all is doing well.

Success requires enduring many such indignities; it involves making a lifestyle - not temporary - change. Logically, we know that "lifestyle change" must last... well, er, um ... a lifetime (hence the term). Emotionally however, we want to experience all the payback without making the required investment. As a further analogy, we crave the benefits of wisdom without enduring the exposure to life.

It does not work that way. The process will not be rushed; it must be fully experienced.

Success is more likely when we understand the benefits begin immediately; we do not have to wait to enjoy them until we get "there." To the contrary, that magical land where temptation is non-existent and motivation is ever present is fantasy; there is no better prescription for failure than betting the farm on such unrealistic expectations.

Those who obtain their goals are still faced with the same temptations and frustrations as those of us still striving for our objectives. What differs is they persevere through rough periods by changing focus, not by ignoring the delay.

Setbacks cannot be avoided. Although it might not feel so in the moment, each one presents an opportunity to understand the process, ourselves, and make the adjustments necessary for long-term, SUSTAINED change.

At those crossroads, look back, not ahead. The future is always unknown, yet the road already traveled - no matter how short the journey - is lined with accomplishments: some small, others more significant.

Motivation returns when the focus changes.

NOTE: Next, we're back to the usual variety of rants, musings, and insights (such as they are) of weight loss, habit change, and other acts of faith.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your rants. Rant on! You say what I feel, but just can't seem to find the words. Thank you for making me feel a little less crazy.