Alphabet Soup: The A Edition

To pass the time while I was sitting in the ICU with my grandmother a few weeks ago, I began scribbling random thoughts, words, and phrases in my notebook. One thing led to another, and my focus narrowed on words that help me with the concept of change and achieving goals. Whether it’s weight loss, productivity, household projects, or some other endeavor, the fundamental concepts of changing behaviors and achieving goals are the same. The Heath Brothers discuss this brilliantly in their book, Switch: How to Change when Change is Hard (link is to my review).

When I was reviewing my page of words the next day, I thought it might be fun (for me, anyway) to blog about the how/why I find them helpful as motivation. To keep it all nice and orderly, not to mention a manageable undertaking, I’m going to explore them alphabetically over the weeks and months (maybe even years) ahead.

letter aAnd so I begin with the letter A, a strong place to start in my case, because many of my most helpful change words begin with A! (I suspect a few future letters might not have so many words. :) )

Attitude – Changing how I think about something changes how I approach it. In losing weight, I changed my thoughts from “diet-centric” to a focus on greater energy and better health. It’s much easier to skip the donuts in the breakroom when I think of their nutritional value rather than their yummy goodness and the idea that, “I can’t have one because it’s not on my diet.” That led me to focus on another ‘A’ word: abundance. Having access to an abundance of food is a blessing, not a curse. Shifting that attitude made a whole lot of difference in my success.

Awareness – Being aware of what I’m doing and why (or why not) helps me stay on course. As you probably figured out by now, I’m somewhat impetuous. :) (It’s okay, I like me this way.) Awareness is a double-edged sword in that it shows me my strengths as well as my weaknesses. Knowing both helps me tweak them to my benefit.

Accountability – For me, accountability is the method I use to keep myself aware of what I’m doing (or not doing) to move forward. Some people have great success working with an “accountability partner”, but since I sometimes bristle just a teensy bit when my actions are questioned by someone else, I’ve found a notebook and/or a mirror to be the better partner for me. I can’t quibble (much) with what’s written in my own words. :)

Action – For quite a few years, I didn’t know what One True Way might work for me, so I did nothing. I finally figured out that even if what I was doing wasn’t the Exact Right Thing, at least I was doing something to move forward. Small actions might not yield huge results initially, but they do accumulate and pay off over the long term. Kind of like the difference in wanting to be rich and/or thin and wanting to get rich/thin(ner). One requires luck, the other requires action.

Adaptability – It’s good to have a plan, but sometimes life interferes and the plan gets fuzzy. In the past I had an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset and generally caved into the chaos. I still do that sometimes, but more often than not, I’ve learned to adjust and adapt and do the best I can in a given situation.

Those are a few of the ‘A’ words that help me with weight management. Do you have any to add?

17 thoughts on “Alphabet Soup: The A Edition

  1. What a clever post that illustrates the power of random scribbling. You just never know where the mind will take you. I related to all these “A” words as they relate to change and achieving goals. If I had to choose just one, I would say that for me, awareness has been the most powerful. And I credit my yoga practice for helping me cultivate increased awareness that has spilled over into almost every other aspect of my life! Look forward to more editions of Alphabet Soup!

  2. Hi Cammy,
    I haven’t read all your words yet, because I got stuck on this: Attitude
    “It’s much easier to skip the donuts in the breakroom when I think of their nutritional value rather than their yummy goodness and the idea that, “I can’t have one because it’s not on my diet.”
    Yes, yes, yes! That’s where I gotten myself to :)
    Off to read the rest of your post!

  3. I think your comment “As you probably figured out by now, I’m somewhat impetuous. :) (It’s okay, I like me this way.) struck me the most. Liking oneself is the most important thing. I find myself berating myself for my personality quirks (habits) but you have found the way to be happy within yourself and like yourself the way you are. I once worked with a person who everyone said was “so comfortable within her own skin”. What an achievement to feel that way and project it to others. Love your blog.

    • Thank you, Cheryl! I tried to fight or “cure” my quirkiness for years, but it’s so much smoother if I embrace these tendencies and learn to work with them or around them.

  4. Can’t understand why my blog picture doesn’t come out on my comments. Trying again – please forgive my test drive here!! I do love your blog and your comments to me on mine!

    • I don’t know why the photos don’t show, Cheryl, but I’ll investigate. It seems to be the same for other commenters using blogger, but that doesn’t explain why the image wouldn’t show under your gravatar id. I’ll let you know if I learn the problem.

  5. Let me see….

    Awards – I know it is silly (someone I read recently called it childish) but I actually find it motivating to get the awards they give you at WW for losing 5 pounds or 10% of your weight, etc. (I guess I could have called this rewards and used it under R but it popped into my head as awards…)

    Abdomen – If I follow my weight loss program, there will be less of my abdomen!

    Adherence – I do best when I adhere to my weight loss plan.

    Anything – I can eat anything on my weight loss plan, but I can’t eat everything.

    Arithmetic – If I don’t do the arithmetic then I may not have a calorie deficit. So much of weight loss (for me anyway) is just doing the arithmetic – calories burned, calories eaten, etc.

    • Well, if getting a little tingle over receiving an award is childish, pass me a pacifier! LOL On sparkpeople, you earn little graphic trophy avatars for accomplishing different tasks, and I had a LOT of fun earning my points and trophies. I wish some people would get the sticks out of their what-zits and realize that LIFE CAN BE A WHOLE LOT OF FUN IF WE DON’T TAKE EVERYTHING SO SERIOUSLY EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF THE DAY.

      Oh, I’m sorry, I got off on a tangent there. :) Thank you for sharing your ‘A’ words!

    • Another A word: Amen! :) I didn’t realize until after I’d lost weight that I’d been a fairly amazing person all along. Like so many people, I had my self-worth all tangled up with size/weight, and they have nothing to do with each other. Thank you, Lori, for bringing a great point to the table!

  6. I love that this post came out of your thoughts while in the hospital. And, all of the A words that other people added are great!!

  7. Aspire – Keeping my health and lifestyle aspirations in mind to help me stay the course. (Or skip the course .. haha.)

    Apple – A useful go-to snack when I get craving crazed. It’s crisp, sweet, filling, and when cut into small slices it takes me a fair amount of time to eat. Hopefully enough time to help me remember my aspirations. Sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon it’s extra yummy.

  8. Adaptability. That whole paragraph is what I need to focus on as I travel this year. I do tend to get off track, but then I do adjust and adapt. I have to learn that that is okay, and not get so down on myself at those times.

    You’re a good thinker, Cammy. Thanks for sharing your good thoughts with us.

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