Two words that encompass far more than they appear to
I think one of the reasons we often fail at weight loss is because we fail to see that “losing weight” is a multifaceted goal
It is not ONE goal at all
It is actually MULTIPLE goals all wrapped up in one category
Have you ever given your kids a task such as “clean your room”
Only to come back and find it NOT clean?
I’ve often given my kids the job of “Straightening up the house”
I come back in the room 20 minutes later and I see things sooooo NOT straightened up
Oh to be sure…some things were done
But was it done in the way I expected?
It boils down to this
We say things like “clean house”….”straighten up”….”lose weight”….”Get healthy”
But these are all big goals that are made up of multiple tasks
Is it any wonder at all that we get exhausted and often quit?
We set ourselves up for failure because we act as if we assigned ourselves ONE task
When in fact we set out to do 20 or 25 different things masquerading as ONE task
Let’s face it…
It takes me 2 seconds to ask my kids to clean their room
But what I really meant was…
Make your bed
Hang up your clothes
Put away your toys…WHERE THEY BELONG
The list could continue because it also includes things you might not even think to mention
Close your closet doors AFTER you’ve hung up your clothes
Pull your sheets up BEFORE you pull the comforter over them when you make the bed!
Put the container lid back on the lego box before you put it away
Don’t throw all your shoes in the closet…match them!
Don’t jam your clothes in the drawer….fold them!
The same can be said of me telling my kids to brush their teeth
Put toothpaste on the brush
Brush ALL your teeth..not just one
If you drop toothpaste in the sink…don’t leave it there to dry!
Floss your teeth…ALL OF THEM
When you floss…throw the floss away! Don’t leave it on the side of the sink!
On and on we go….
Almost every task we undertake is really multiple tasks disguised as ONE
Even a simple task of getting out of bed can be broken down into multiple steps
When I was 417 pounds, getting out of bed involved numerous steps
First I would start with trying to scoot myself up onto the pillow using what little strength I had
Next I would use my right arm and try to push myself that way
Then my left arm to scoot up the other way
I would take breaks in between to regain my breath
Eventually I would start trying to push myself to an upright position
Then it was time to try and swing one leg over the side of the bed
Swing the other leg over the side of the bed
And finally there was standing!
I would brace myself with the bedside table
Take deep breaths and carefully move one step at a time
My feet would always swell very badly at night in spite of elevating them
So the first few steps could cause me to see stars from the pain
But finally I was UP!
But how many little steps were involved to attain that goal?
As things become easier for us
Or habits are formed within us
They feel easy and automatic
Starting my car seems simple to me
But in teaching my daughter to drive, I was reminded of each little step involved
The same is true of changing our lifestyles to include healthy habits
Each habit must be formed
To really be successful at this, we must break our goals down into the multiple tasks that are really involved
Focus on each task
And work at it every day until it feels automatic
Only then will these big goals start to feel do-able
From time to time, we get out of our routines and habits
And then we must go back to reforming them
I am at that point myself right now
Looking to pick back up some good habits
And get rid of some bad ones
Join me in the process!!!
If you want to “lose weight“, we must break that down into tasks
Acknowledge that losing weight involves multiple habits all strung together
Habits we need to break down and work on one at a time
We pick ONE of those tasks and start working on it
But can’t you see how trying to do it ALL AT ONCE is a recipe for failure?
So often we view it as one task—lose weight
And then condemn ourselves for not being able to do it
But what if we broke our goals down into the multiple tasks that they really are!!
Recognizing and acknowledging that what we are really trying to do is a LIST of things
Instead of simply just ONE thing
Stop beating ourselves up for not being able to change our world in a day
Start treating ourselves with the respect we deserve
Instead of throwing every hard task at ourselves at once
I started with 30 seconds of exercise when I weighed 417 pounds
Because if you recall my description of getting out of bed
That was ALREADY a workout for me
30 seconds was not easy
But at least it was DO-ABLE
No matter what your level might be
30 seconds is something we CAN accomplish
And if you do THAT every day….you will form the habit in a much easier way
In a way that doesn’t feel insurmountable
It may seem silly
It may seem ridiculous
But I know this
I started with 30 seconds and was up to 5 miles in 5 months
So it works…
When you put together a puzzle, you must pour out ALL the pieces
Pick ONE and start there
Do you expect to pour out puzzle pieces and have them fall together at once?
By no means!
Instead you sort through them strategically
Maybe you start with trying to find all the edge pieces first
Then you might sort similar looking ones into various piles
Those that have pieces of a mountain maybe in one pile
Those that have pieces of the sky in another pile
But once you have all these different piles sorted–you can begin
You will probably start with the border to define the space you will be working in
Because you have to start somewhere…right?
There will be missing pieces but you know with time and patience it will come together!
And so it is with weight loss
For the next several weeks, I am going to focus on the topic of habits
And with each week, I will pick one habit to work on that week
This week I plan to reconnect with my water habit!!
Drinking water is good for me and it does help to control my appetite
If you are addicted to soda, starting a water habit will go a long way in breaking away from soda
Here is my game plan to start forming a new habit
First I pick something that feels do-able
By making sure I have chosen something that is not 3 or 4 tasks
In other words, make it very specific!
My habit/goal for this week is: Drink Water Every Day
How will I accomplish this?
First, I went out and bought a brand new water bottle that I liked
I literally got in the car and went shopping around for a water bottle on Saturday
I wanted to make this whole habit an adventure
I have favorite mugs that I drink my coffee out of
I might have 20 mugs in that cabinet but I tend to drink out of the same one or two mugs
For whatever reason…they just make me happy!
So I decided to do the same thing with my water bottle
Hey….I need motivation wherever I can find it!!
Trying to make it fun is important!
Second, I made a specific plan
1. When I start my coffee….I will pull the water bottle out of the fridge
2. While my coffee is making….I will start drinking water
This should take about 3o seconds
But let’s not forget this involves a second task in reality
It means at night I need to fill up the water bottle and put it in the fridge
So I have a second task to work on
When I fill the dishwasher at night….I will fill my water bottle and put it in the fridge
I already make coffee every morning and run the dishwasher at night
This makes it even easier because I am already in the kitchen!
I know this works because when I started out to become healthier 2 years ago
To break my soda addiction and switch to water
THIS IS WHAT I DID!
So here is Day #1 and my mission has been accomplished
My new water bottle says HOPE !!
And it refers to Psalms 71:5
I chose this water bottle because of that word HOPE and how integral that has been to me in losing weight
We all need hope after years of feeling defeated!
So last night while I was filling the dishwasher
I also filled my new water bottle with ice and water
When I started the coffee, I pulled out the water bottle
While I was waiting for my coffee to be made, I started drinking it
Now I have my water bottle with me and just having that by my side will encourage me to drink more water
Every day this week, I plan to continue practicing this habit
And I know with each day that goes by it will become easier and more automatic
What new habit do you plan to work on this week?
Pick one and let’s move forward with hope that things can change!
One step at a time