Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 11th, 2018 The Practice

December 11th, 2018 The Practice

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

Yesterday was a good one. I really enjoyed my food plan, too, and that's important for me. If I'm not happy with my food plan, it isn't going to be something I can continue with any kind of consistency. The time and effort I put into preparing my meals is a way for me to remain mindful. The planning, prepping, weighing, measuring, logging in MFP, and cooking takes much less time than my brain tries to tell me it will. I need that time, though, to keep me mindful and aware of what I'm doing and what I'm eating. The years of mindless eating of whatever and whenever didn't lead to good places. This daily practice helps keep me away from those places.
Yesterday's Three Meals



















Before you read the rest of this post, I must preface it with this: I must start each and every day humbly admitting that I need help and then, I ask for help in maintaining the non-negotiables of this daily practice. The disease of food addiction/compulsive overeating is a powerful one. I have it. There's no denying this fact because I've lived it my entire life. Not everyone has it. I do.

In order to maintain non-negotiables in the way described below, it takes a structured approach--the practice, each day. All of the elements are important. Staying connected with support, remaining accountable, creating and honoring a personal trigger list, and when it comes to emotional and stress eating triggers--creating enough space, or pause, to act instead of react. Acting on life instead of reacting to life is a big deal along this road. It takes intentional actions each day. These actions act like rails I can hold onto. These actions or elements become pillars supporting the plan each day.

How did you determine your non-negotiables and how do you stick to them when things get hard?

First of all, you determine what's reasonable. Once you define the most critical elements of your plan boundaries- and you've determined they're doable on a typical day- then, you make what I call an iron-clad decision. It's a promise to you from you, to give this element a non-negotiable stance come what may. 

Think of it as a boulder in a stream. Life is the rushing water. No matter how fast that water rushes, the boulder isn't moving. The boulder isn't sacrificed or compromised. The water has no choice, but to make its way around it- and it does. And the boulder in the stream stands strong.

On a deeper level, this creates growth/development in other areas, like coping skills- it develops growth in learning what good accountability and support skills are about. The more consistency you gain, the more you'll prove to yourself that it is possible to maintain your plan in the toughest of times.

And that's the idea, a plan, not a diet.

You're developing a plan that takes care of what you need. In honoring your plan, you'll notice the side effect of consistent weight loss. This is what Dr. Lerner (Transformation Planet Podcast Episode 7) means when he speaks of the focus NOT being a diet, but rather, a food plan you can live with indefinitely. And it can still have the boundaries you need to feel satisfied. Especially when you reach maintenance mode and increase your calories.

But again, it's all about the daily plan--and not all about the numbers on the scale. If you take care of your daily plan-the weight loss will come.

How important are your non-negotiable elements? 

It is the consistent maintenance of what you're willing to define as non-negotiable that creates growth, and in that--a natural evolution unfolds.

Think once more about the boulder in the stream. The boulder stands strong against the current and because it does, the stream evolves--changes course, grows and with the gift of time, develops different paths and canyons. If the boulder simply moved out of the way every time the water came rushing--the stream would have an easier path--one of least resistance. In the path of least resistance, nothing changes. No growth, no canyons.

I've often written about the effects of maintaining non-negotiables. The only way our food plan develops/evolves over time is by maintaining the integrity of the plan. All growth, all of our positive progress--it all depends on our willingness to create, accept and embrace certain non-negotiable elements of our plan. Determining what's reasonable is VERY important. If your non-negotiable is extreme, doesn't fit what you naturally like--is overly restrictive and monumentally demanding, it'll be a horrible experience.

Make it doable for you.

If we sacrifice our plan for whatever reason, the boundaries are broken and growth is stunted. If we develop a habit of consistently sacrificing the integrity of the non-negotiable elements of our plan, we literally become stuck--and often this "stuck" place becomes the very definition of insanity.

Life keeps coming. And there's no such thing as a "perfect time." There's only here and now and with it, a forever fluctuating rhythm to life. Let life flow around the boulders of your non-negotiables... and with the passage of time, you'll experience growth--you'll see and feel the changes, mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Developing your plan for accountability and support is important.

When we decide to create non-negotiable elements of our plan, we lose a coping option. Excess food was always my number one coping tool, albeit not a good one. It lied to me every time--because it never fixed anything.

When I developed my non-negotiables, it strongly encouraged me to either seek positive ways to cope or find other destructive ways to do it. We gotta cope one way or another.

My skills haven't been and still aren't perfect, but it's a practice each and every day.

Staying connected with good support and seeking out those connections in whatever way you can is critically important. There are many options available!

I'm broadcasting today from a convenience store/restaurant grand opening. My job will include a lot of on-air talk about food. The irony is never lost on me. It's pretty thick, especially when I'm regularly voicing commercials for foods that are at the top of my trigger list. But it is part of my job. I compartmentalize and I remember the practice that helps keep me well one day at a time--and sometimes, one hour at a time!

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

If you're interested in connecting via social media:
I accept friend requests on MyFitnessPal. My daily food logging diary is set to public.
MFP Username: SeanAAnderson
My Twitter: SeanAAnderson
Facebook: www.facebook.com/seananderson505
Instagram: SeanAAnderson
Also--I'd love you to subscribe to my podcast Transformation Planet! You can find it in Apple Podcasts, in the Google Play store for android, and listed wherever you find your favorite podcasts! If you haven't listened before, you'll find 17 episodes waiting for you! More new episodes coming soon!

Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10th, 2018 Getting Closer

December 10th, 2018 Getting Closer

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

We're getting closer to Christmas, oh my!! The weekend was filled with Christmas activities. I didn't complete all of the Christmas things I had planned, but still, it was productive. Mom wasn't feeling her best last night, so we opted out of the Christmas in Jazz big band concert and settled into a dinner and Christmas lights plan for her Sunday outing. It worked well.

I'll be spending a little time preparing each day this week for Saturday's private stand-up performance. I don't do it very often, so it takes some serious prep. Back in the day when I was doing it all the time, it was easy because I was always practiced and ready with my set--open with some custom material written specifically for the client, then regular set with the normal closer, then a big custom closer for the client--and done. I don't necessarily have a "regular set" these days. Back in practice, I could do it in my sleep. It takes a little more effort when you book only one or two gigs a year! But it'll be great. The skill set needed to perform is deeply ingrained--that part is like riding a bike. Now the challenge becomes, what'll make these people laugh and have a good time? I'll find it!

My morning routine is complete. My food plan is set. I'm poised and ready for a good Monday.

Featured Tweet:


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

If you're interested in connecting via social media:
I accept friend requests on MyFitnessPal. My daily food logging diary is set to public. 
MFP Username: SeanAAnderson
My Twitter: SeanAAnderson
Instagram: SeanAAnderson
Also--I'd love you to subscribe to my podcast Transformation Planet! You can find it in Apple Podcasts, in the Google Play store for android, and listed wherever you find your favorite podcasts! If you haven't listened before, you'll find 17 episodes waiting for you! More new episodes coming soon! (Don't laugh! Seriously, very soon! Okay, that deserves a laugh actually, but for real, more episodes coming soon!)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

December 9th, 2018 Made My Day

December 9th, 2018 Made My Day

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

Noah and I enjoyed breakfast together yesterday morning. Right in the middle of breakfast, out of the blue, he says, "Po Po, I love you." That, to me, is the best. It made my day.

I took him for a haircut before embarking on our Christmas adventures to a couple of museums hosting Christmas themed events. He wanted to see Santa yesterday--and mission accomplished! We almost missed Santa--thank goodness Kristin thought to call Santa's helper to let him know we were five minutes away!! He was the last little fella to see Santa- he was so happy!



















We really got lucky with the weather yesterday. The forecast called for all kinds of wintery stuff. Fortunately, it was just cold. We can handle cold!

I'm working on a few of my personal projects today. I certainly have the energy for 'em after sleeping in like a champ. I slept for just shy of nine hours. It was glorious! I needed it.

My morning routine is complete and I'm about to prepare my first meal of the day, do some apartment cleaning, and head to the studio to get some of my personal work done. I'll be making a good exercise session important too, before picking up mom for our usual Sunday evening store and dinner trip. There's a free big band Christmas in Jazz concert tonight at the theatre--so that just might be a holiday happening for us as well. 

Featured Tweet:


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

If you're interested in connecting via social media:
I accept friend requests on MyFitnessPal. My daily food logging diary is set to public. MFP Username: SeanAAnderson
My Twitter: SeanAAnderson
Facebook: www.facebook.com/seananderson505
Instagram: SeanAAnderson
Also--I'd love you to subscribe to my podcast Transformation Planet! You can find it in Apple Podcasts, in the Google Play store for android, and listed wherever you find your favorite podcasts! If you haven't listened before, you'll find 17 episodes waiting for you! More new episodes coming soon! (Don't laugh! Seriously, very soon! Okay, that deserves a laugh actually, but for real, more episodes coming soon!)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December 8th, 2018 Open To The Blessings

December 8th, 2018 Open To The Blessings

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

Yesterday was a wonderful experience. It showed me the power of perspective, gratitude, and reframing challenges. Staying in a gratitude based mindset allowed me to be open to the blessings and opportunities of yesterday.

It was a long day. There wasn't a break between work and the evening Christmas activity plans with Noah. The normal pattern I fall into wasn't going to work yesterday. There wouldn't be a midafternoon refresher nap. Breaking the pattern yesterday showed me how that can work and work well on other days and for other things important to me. I think that's the key right there, "things important to me." 

The Christmas parade was last night. Treating Noah to the experience was very important to me. That boy loves Christmas in so many different ways. Just watching and experiencing the purest joy coming from him is a blessing that has the power to bring emotional reactions to the surface. Witnessing his enthusiasm is truly a gift. He was literally dancing in the street. Candy was being thrown everywhere and of course, he was scrambling to pick up as much as possible, filling my pockets-- but he was also doing the sweetest thing. He noticed some kids who were not as fast and furious--and for them, he would pick up and toss some of the candy their way--or kick it over in their direction. He didn't have to be told to share, he just naturally wanted to share. It was beautiful, really. 

The parade was just the start to our Christmas adventures last night. Dinner out was followed by a tour of Christmas lights, accompanied by my girlfriend Kristin (Kristin and I were in a relationship back in 2016 and just recently started dating one another again), and then we three enjoyed the Grinch movie.

Our special night was truly amazing.
  


















Waiting for the parade!

Staying in a perspective of gratitude yesterday seemed to attract gratitude from others as well. Two different people yesterday expressed appreciation for me and what I do. One was a broadcasting client whose marketing efforts I handle and the other was a listener who just happened to be enjoying dinner at the table next to us. As he was leaving, he came over to our table to tell me how he loves my work. We shared a wonderful conversation. Later in the evening, he wrote a very nice message to our station's Facebook account, "Sean thanks for taking time out from your dinner to visit with me. It was great to finally meet you. I’d like to chat again sometime, Love your work." What a tremendous blessing in those two encounters!



















The three of us out and about!

Staying within the boundaries of my daily practice wasn't an issue yesterday. The day included some dynamics that could have easily turned me in a difficult direction. Of course, the moments and experiences worthy of my gratitude were right there in front of me--and that helped. On the days when seeing and appreciating those things requires more effort, I must remember the powerful difference the shift of attitude and gratitude can make.

Noah is still sleeping. My morning routine is complete. This blog is written and we have a couple more adventures ahead of us today before I take him back home later this afternoon.

I have a few personal goals I'm working on this weekend, too. Actually, these are more in the line of intentional actions supporting some personal goals of mine. Between tonight and tomorrow, it'll get 'em done!

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7th, 2018 Working On This Stuff

December 7th, 2018 Working On This Stuff

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

Yesterday was a good day. My food plan was good, I stayed connected with support, both giving and receiving, and I embraced the elements of my daily practice that must be done, come what may, each and every day. However...

I can identify many ways in which it could have been a better day, but I'm not going to list them here--my brain does it for me. I have a list of goals and somedays, my "good day" doesn't really make much progress on those. My "good day" keeps me well and I'm immensely grateful to be well. An extraordinary day would find me making even the smallest of progress on the goals and desires I've talked and written about many times.

I'm going to set some intentional action goals designed to get me moving forward instead of resting here in this groove. The groove is good but I don't want to sit here forever. I must start small with consistency. Consistency beats intensity--I've lived this, and it must be applied in areas outside of my familiar daily practice.

I've given a lot of thought--too much probably, to this "line of least resistance" dynamic. Asking myself compelling and open-ended questions is important--but the answers aren't as important as the doing of small, consistent, progressive intentional actions. If I do those, I believe it can actually help me find answers.

What is it that sometimes makes progress seem impossible? 

Do we feel “right at home?” To be where we are and remain here is to live around the line of least resistance, or so we might believe. But is our place at this line really easy? 

It's familiar, yes. On many levels, even comforting, because it's what we know. But is it easy when you consider all we sacrifice in its maintenance? 

Our identity, social interactions, and relationships all lean heavily against us wandering too far from the line we've called home. And when we decide to change, moving away from this place can be scary.

We gradually realize the potential effects of this liberation from what is known, transforms much more than what's on the surface; our bodies and wardrobes.

Is it easy at this line or have we simply become accustomed to adapting as needed to accommodate and preserve our place? 

When we regain, is it in part a subconscious retreat to familiar surroundings? 

In my opinion, the heart of the matter lies in what we choose in order to find and maintain a semblance of comfort and peace. And what we choose often lies to us in its promise. Excess food, or excess anything, might keep us “safe,” but it doesn't make anything easy and it doesn't fix anything. 

To choose change is brave, requiring large amounts of faith and commitment. Change isn't hard simply because it's different, it's just not familiar. The only way it becomes familiar is through practice. 

We redefine our line. 

And along the way we find ourselves transforming in ways we didn't expect. The line of least resistance isn't easy to maintain. It is familiar and that provides an illusion of ease.

Perhaps it isn't the line of least resistance—maybe it's the line of familiarity.

If we can practice and embrace the changes we desire long enough to become familiar and understanding, then perhaps we can change the baseline we call home.

I'll continue working on this stuff.

We're under a winter storm watch for today and tomorrow. The forecast is constantly changing! The Christmas parade is downtown tonight and I really wanted to bring Noah, but it might not be the best plan to be out on the road tonight. We'll see how it all develops.

My morning routine is complete. My food is packed, my phone is charged, I'm charged--and it's Friday!! Let's do this day!

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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 6th, 2018 To Grow

December 6th, 2018 To Grow

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












































I like to go back into the archives every now and then and explore where I was at different points along the way. Sometimes it reveals patterns of struggle; things I've written about changing but haven't. Other times, it reveals a consistency in this daily practice that helps keep me well. When I looked back at one year ago today, I found a practice of elements I'm continuing to make important each day. This thing is far from perfect, believe me. There are so many ways in which I could really use improvement. I just keep on moving down this road and believing that if I continue making these things important, the other changes I desire will find fertile ground to grow.

From December 6th, 2017:
When I make time for exploring my gratitude list, it refocuses my energy to a very positive place. I paused to do that this morning. It was needed in those moments.

I enjoyed a surprise visit from a good friend today. Dave was just passing through and decided to pop in for a short visit. It made my day. I look up to him for so many reasons, not to mention he's one of the few comedy writers that can make me literally laugh out loud. I'm in awe of his talent. We agreed to do another stand-up comedy show together, very soon.

I included "before" and "healthy weight" photos tonight because looking at some of my old pictures reminds me of things I must always remember. My continued maintenance requires a daily practice that goes far beyond the food plan. It is the non-food elements that bring structure and support to my day. 

The list is long: Staying connected in support exchanges, doing my short morning meditations, positive visualizations, prayers, examining my gratitude list, helping someone else when and where I can, and keeping an honest inventory of things going well and things I'm willing to improve, and also--and this is a biggie--remembering to be kind to me. Minding the inner dialogue and shifting it from negative to positive, loving, and kind is paramount to my continued maintenance--and is certainly something requiring a daily practice.

It's interesting to me how freely automatic we extend kindness, compassion, care, and genuine concern for others, yet it takes a daily practice and regular reminders to extend the same to ourselves? Anyway, that's my experience.
------------------
I did not hop the bus to Funky Town yesterday and it turned out to be a better day. That self-involved party bus looks so inviting sometimes. I must remember the positive difference it makes when I let it pass on down the road.

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5th, 2018 Funky Town

December 5th, 2018 Funky Town

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

Some days are challenging in ways beyond the food. What I've learned is how, when I'm challenged in other ways it has the potential to creep into my food plan. Without too many personal details, I became exceptionally frustrated with a colleague yesterday. When someone creates more work for me because of the level of attention, consideration, and caring for their part is lacking, it upsets me! That's a normal reaction, right? I was not my regular self at work. I allowed my attitude to become infected early in the day. Then, I nurtured that negative energy for the better part of the day. Choosing to sit in that pool of funkiness was my decision. I took a trip to Funky Town and did some sightseeing. It didn't serve me well. I suppose some of the hardest things along this road are of a spiritual nature. 

It's interesting how quickly I can forget the serenity prayer in a situation like the one I just described. Without trying to go too deep into armchair psychological self-analysis on which I'm an amateur, I must ask myself-- How did my reaction serve me? What was I getting from this choice to be off-center most of the day? Why would I somehow convince myself that this off-center position was something put on me-a thing I had to own and be, instead of something I could freely choose to reframe? 

My food plan practice survived this funk but not without hints from its effect. I started thinking about lunch way too early. By 10:30am, I was ready to prepare a meal even though I wasn't hungry. I redirected that thinking pretty quickly, busied myself, and before long it was time for me and my funky attitude to go into the studio kitchen and prepare a meal and a more reasonable and appropriate time.

Two intentional actions that I could have focused on instead of the above-described stuff. could have been my gratitude list and reaching out to help someone else in support. I regularly do those two things unless I'm choosing to marinate in anger and frustration. If I'm marinating in that way, I'm completely self-centered and oblivious to the lifelines right in front of me. I made it to a mental place of gratitude later in the afternoon and I did connect with support, eventually, but I must remind myself of how the day could have been better had I turned my attitude, perspective, and focus in that direction about six hours earlier. A practice, right? Oh yeah--certainly.

My planning session meeting with the company hiring me to do standup at their private event went very well. The thought of writing 30-40 minutes of fresh material for a specific event was one that would normally fill me with anxiety, but since this will be my third performance for this company, I'm much less anxious. Plus, I've been told about half the people in attendance will be people who were not there for my previous performances.

I have so many things worthy of gratitude. If today starts to turn in the direction of yesterday, I will make an effort to get spiritually reconnected; reframing and refocusing on what's important. 

I made a store run last evening for a few things, including dinner items--then changed the dinner plan and prepared a meal I had on-hand. I'll save yesterday's groceries for this evening's dinner.

Oh--and I made it to bed shortly after 9pm last night! Yay me! I'm well rested and ready for a good Wednesday.

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 4th, 2018 Perfectly Capable

December 4th, 2018 Perfectly Capable

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

I made a short trip to my hometown last night. I enjoyed a meeting with one of the members from the support group I facilitate. It's always a good experience to sit down and talk face to face about the challenges, practices, and victories along this road. We had plenty to talk about, that's for sure!

My hometown is ripe with all kinds of memories and situational triggers. The streets and drive-throughs of that town remember me well. Those familiar haunts helped keep me anything but well. Still, when I go, especially if I'm driving alone as I was last night, I make a point to stay connected with support friends. Those contacts and a prayer or two, help me drive past the scenes of so many binge episodes in my past. The memories of those days are vivid and scary to me. Knowing that there's a fine line between abstinence and chaos--knowing that I'm perfectly capable of crossing that line--and giving that the proper reverence, is monumentally important. This daily practice of intentional actions helps keep me sane and in the proper lane.

Today is planned, prepared, and ready. My morning routine is done, the foundation is set. It might be a rather long day with a late afternoon meeting concerning a private standup gig I've been asked to perform. I'm excited about the opportunity to perform because I love it so much, although a gig like this, especially since I'm not in regular practice, requires writing new and fresh ideas--and writing specific material based on client inspired premises...it's a challenge, for certain. But one I've had the honor of doing a couple of times in the past for this same company. Nothing confirms the success of the previous two engagements like being asked to perform for the third time. Although part of me is like...eeek!!! What if my luck and material run out?? LOL... Oh, the thoughts my lovely brain creates and tosses out there for me to juggle. It'll be fun. It'll be great!

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

Monday, December 3, 2018

December 3rd, 2018 Precious Reminders

December 3rd, 2018 Precious Reminders

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

Yesterday was productive in a lot of ways, early, and then it was family time with mom and a few of the grandkids! Mom and I made the short drive to see Noah, Phoebe, Oliver, and my youngest daughter, Courtney yesterday late-afternoon. There's a lot of reminders every day of why the things I make important are important but none as clear and precious as spending a little time around these little ones.

We visited for a little while before mom and I made our way back to town, picked up dinner ingredients, and headed back to her apartment to watch Garth's Live At Notre Dame special on CBS. We watched and recalled how special Garth and Trisha made our meet and greet with them back in July of 2017.

I've been to a lot of meet and greets in my thirty-year broadcasting career but only one like Garth's. It was a sit-down visit in a small group, living room style--and a conversation for what seemed like twenty minutes or so before everyone gathered for pictures. Garth does things differently. Mom recalled how happy she was to tell Garth how special his music was to my little brother Shane. I mentioned how cool it was to tell him how mom predicted his success at the mid to late eighties 4th of July fireworks display for the city of Stillwater where Garth was the opening act. That event was also in a stadium--except for just a couple thousand people--and most everyone was simply waiting on the display to start--Garth was like an appetizer to the main event, but mom was watching closely--and when he finished, she turned and said, "he's going to be big someday." Garth remembered that 4th of July event and got the biggest kick out of hearing the story. Mom got big hugs and a personal thank you from Garth on that special evening.



















Today is poised to be a good Monday. I've set the foundation with my morning routine and the plan is in place to make the rest go well. As always, I'll stay tightly connected with good support--and of course, I'll make staying connected to this daily practice exceptionally important.

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

Sunday, December 2, 2018

December 2nd, 2018 Insistence Of Truth

December 2nd, 2018 Insistence Of Truth

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

Yesterday started with a firm foundation and continued to be a really good day. I was able to do what I set out to accomplish. Setting the intention, creating some accountability measures, and following through brings an incredible amount of positive energy to a day.

In yesterday's post, I wrote a familiar phrase found in recovery circles for decades, "nothing changes if nothing changes," however when I think about it a little more, it isn't completely true.

If nothing changes, then in time, the natural decline and deterioration; the progression in a less than desirable direction, will happen. Nothing stays the same forever. This thought process was one that resonated deeply with me very early in this decade-long experience. It's the basis for my mantra, "I'm choosing change before change chooses me." 

If nothing had changed, I might've been dead by now. My blood pressure would have become worse, I likely would have developed diabetes, my right leg could have been amputated, not surviving the constant threat of infection from the open sores created by intense lymphatic pooling/swelling--and who I am, or was, would be reduced to memories, stories, and pictures relayed to my grandchildren about a man they never knew.

The threat of gravely negative consequences from inaction never worked for me as a stand-alone source of motivation. I had to believe in the possibilities--those visualizations of what could be the most positive consequences of action. With some thought to the consequences of inaction, but mostly a focus on the incredible possibilities made real by positive, supportive, intentional, and measured actions, eventually I was able to start along this road.

I first wrote about "I'm choosing change before change chooses me" on Day 25 of this blog. I had a lot of learning ahead of me when the following excerpt was first written in October of 2008, but still, there's plenty of truth even though, at the time, I didn't have a better understanding and appreciation for the dynamics of how addiction works.

From Day 25 in October of 2008:
I've learned that not everyone has arrived at the proper place mentally to take on this challenge. They know that they need to, they understand the deadly effects of not doing it, they understand the wonderful benefits of doing it. But like me in that doctor's office back on June 10th, they're just not ready. 

I know I've talked about how easy this is, and in the proper mindset it does get really easy, but I also understand that if a person isn't ready to accept and adapt to a major lifestyle change, then it's nearly impossible. 

I once thought that the only way I would ever do this would be to go into a hospital like setting, where everything is done for you. A place where they control everything...what you eat, drink, sleep, exercise...The schedule and food are all handled by someone else. I really didn't know if such a place existed until just recently. I was watching Discovery Health or some channel like that. The program featured people that were much bigger than me. People that had to be rescued and put into a hospital under strict supervision. It was their only way out of certain and very soon death. It was very sad to watch and know that for some, the right mindset never happens. 

I have to thank God every day that I have been given the strength to get into the right mindset and stay true to this mission to the very end goal. I'm one of the lucky ones. It's amazing how when you think you're the only one, when you feel like you have it the worst, and you feel completely hopeless to change, you're shown somebody who can only dream of being in your present condition. 

I'm very blessed and I can't forget that. 

I had an opportunity to choose change before the changes chose me. I'm forever grateful for that strength. I pray that others will also find that strength. And it certainly doesn't come from reading this blog, it comes from a very deep and personal place within each of us. And once the decision is made to change, then perhaps this blog can be a daily booster. It's certainly helping me. ###

What strikes me as untrue from that Day 25 excerpt is a couple of things. The implication that not making positive changes is the product of some kind of "lack of strength" flaw and the idea that there's some kind of "end goal."  I was so headstrong back then, right? My goodness, Day 25 and I just knew I had it all figured out! Thank God I kept an open mind for learning along the way, although my mind had to be pried open several times by the insistence of truth via consequences.

Strength alone isn't enough. In fact, it's not what's most needed. Personal human strength rarely makes a fair fight against the dynamics of addiction. Lack of strength isn't a moral failing or an unanswered prayer. Willingness or quite simply, a desire to change things, is all that's needed to start. 

About that "end goal" idea--every diet has one, but what I discovered along the way is, if long-term sustainable results and continued wellness is what's desired, a diet isn't needed. A daily practice designed to help keep me well doesn't have an end date. With no end date, it becomes clear that in order for long-term sustainable results to be possible, the focus must be squarely on developing a personal daily practice that's designed specifically with my needs in mind. Making it a daily practice that's not only doable but enjoyable, becomes one of the goals.

Maintaining a personal daily practice helps keep the changes evolving in a positive direction.

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





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