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.
And 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?