Sunday, April 7, 2019

April 7th, 2019 All The Time

April 7th, 2019 All The Time

Yesterday was a 4-star day: I maintained the integrity of my calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

I've spent a lot of time writing about time--and how it passes and how it does what it does regardless of what we do. The passage of time can bring a pleasant surprise or crippling regret. I've worked to maintain a perspective that doesn't worry too much about time. I'd rather not give time too much power over my emotions. There was a time I did--oh yeah, all the time--I was worried about time.

One of the first questions I obsessed over years and years ago, before finding this road, was, "How long is this going to take?" It was a loaded thought because maybe I was looking for reasons I couldn't do this--and some genuine frustration with an equal measure of discouragement was all I needed to jump into the "poor me-I've got it too hard--it's too overwhelming--look away, I'm hideous and hopeless" thought process.

The only way I was able to let go of this discouragement disguised as a motivator, was by bringing the focus back to the here and NOW. And in focusing on maintaining the integrity of my plan each day, I was able to find something I could immediately feel great about. If I maintain the integrity of my plan--and I hit the pillow knowing I nailed a great day-I feel calm and confident. When the challenge and reward share the same 24 hour period, I end up feeling great. Back when I would set the challenge and reward a year apart, I never made it too far. I need positive reinforcement. Like a dog in training, I need little "brain treats" daily.

This reminds me of a term I started writing about six years ago or more. I found the following excerpt from the archives:

Do you proceed along this road with “confident patience?” Our physical transformation doesn't happen overnight. It takes weeks, months and for many of us, years. Finding confidence happens easier when the main focus is taken away from wanting immediate results and placed on the daily fundamentals of our extraordinary care.

If we center our focus on what we can do today, we can find confidence. And this confidence leads to patience.

When you proceed with confident patience, you'll experience peace and calm over the process. Results may come euphorically fast or frustratingly slow, either way, adjustments can be made. Releasing ourselves from the frustration and oftentimes derailing “fast and furious” results-based focus and focusing instead on the smaller goals of today, gives us the best chance at waking up someday to incredible results.

I've lived this "confident patience" and I'm telling you, it all comes down to one day at a time.

I can remember weight loss attempts where I mapped out my weigh days for an entire year, complete with a goal weight for each and a place to write my actual weight. On the surface, it seemed like a great idea for me. I'd proudly gaze at the calendar and say things like, "See that date? I'll weigh 100 pounds less by then. Isn't that amazing?" It was such a matter of fact tone--not at all considering the different variables encountered along the way.

How could I have known? I'd never experienced long-range success. And keep in mind this "projection calendar" would typically be created in advance of actually starting anything. I had to wait until a predetermined start day and that meant I was free to gorge as much as I wanted in the meantime. In fact, I'm pretty sure I made several of these projection calendars while eating a giant bowl of ice cream at midnight.

The problem with this was, as soon as I didn't meet or best the written goal on the calendar, I'd become severely discouraged because now I was behind!! And after a couple of less than expected weigh-ins, another marked up calendar would find its way into the junk drawer only to be found months or years later, prompting a wave of "calendar regret," as I realized aloud to anyone within earshot "Wow, you know that failed weight loss attempt? Yeah--had I stuck with it I'd weigh 250 by now." 

Sticking with it was almost impossible because of my enormous impatience and high expectations.

I was setting myself up to be disappointed. And personal disappointment breeds all kinds of negative self-talk. Learning to relax into a day by day approach and allowing a natural evolution of good choices has been a very difficult perspective to adopt--and critical to my success. Not once have I recently sat down to "map out" where I'll be by a particular date in the near future.

I'll be wherever I am and it will be okay. If this was a race or a competition, perhaps a results now focus would be useful, but it's not a race--it's life. And I'm confident in my day to day practices and the results they'll bring.

This isn't what I'm doing for the duration of a calendar--taking extraordinary care is what I'm making important for the rest of my life. Losing my previously narrow focus has made a monumental difference for me.

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Practice, peace, and calm,
Sean

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