knitnana: On Resolutions...

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On Resolutions...

Sometimes, I want to say "and good riddance" at the end of a year, and this one comes pretty close to that in many respects. What a time we've had! While I can't say it was the worst year of my life, it was certainly challenging in many ways.

But 2009 was a good year, too (and you know, I think mostly that's true of them all, some good, some bad...) - if only because there was progress on a long-held desire of mine to once and for all lose weight. Personal change comes slow to me. I guess I have to think on it for years to come to the decision that what hasn't been working has to change. Sometimes a slap in the face (figuratively, of course) wakes me up, and sometimes, it's just a gradually increasing frustration with myself for not taking action sooner. Where my weight was concerned? I guess it was a combination of both, and perhaps to have any kind of lasting success, that's what I needed.

With a little luck, and some tracking and planning, I'll hit my mini-goal of 20 pounds lost by the first weigh-in of 2010 on Tuesday next week (there was another 2.2 pound drop last night, so it's not too far-fetched to think I'll reach it). Stay tuned. But spending the past 3 months learning the drill at Weight Watchers and seeing the numbers tick downward on the ticker up there (or rather, upward, as I'm tracking the pounds LOST and they're increasing!!!) has been rewarding.

What worked this time was knowing that I was doing this for myself - not to look better, not to be prettier, not to fit into a dress, not to meet a goal of some date like a reunion where I wanted to wow someone, and certainly not "for" someone else. I am doing this because I have felt rotten for too long. When I got the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, I realized that there was no one else to blame...and while that couldn't be corrected, I could take steps to minimize the discomfort (and sometimes outright pain) and perhaps slow any worsening of it.

You know? Perspective is extremely important in making the decision to make changes in your life. It was the same thing when I quit smoking: I had pneumonia (a particularly bad case of it). I couldn't walk from the living room couch to the kitchen (about 20 steps on level) without gasping for air. And the sudden thought came to me: "This is what heart failure feels like." Having survived a heart attack? That meant something to me...and mind you I didn't quit smoking that day. I got better (amazingly, now that I think of it, I smoked the whole time I had pneumonia!!) and I considered and explored treatment options and about 6 weeks later I quit. For good. It'll be six years in February 2010.

So. With that success under my belt, I knew that eventually I'd do something about my weight, but again, it took a health "crisis" to motivate me.

The reality is? We don't react the same way someone else does. What motivates me won't necessarily work for you. And the methods I use won't always be the right ones for you, either. But the one thing that I truly believe has to happen before anyone can make a huge life-affirming change for themselves?

You have to decide you want it for YOURSELF. And you have to decide WHY you want it (hmmm...start with the old L'Oreal commercial "Because I'm WORTH it!" and work on really believing that line), and then YOU have to devise your own method, and what works in your case.

So, if you have resolutions for major life changes this New Year's Eve, take it from someone who no longer makes them, who only makes plans:

1. Decide on one thing you really want to change(I think overload rarely works for anyone)
2. Determine the process you want to use to get there
3. Find a mini-goal (or several mini-goals) to help you along the way to the larger goal (I've done 5 pound increments all the way through my weight loss) and try to decide what you'll reward yourself with when you get there (if you're losing weight? Don't make the reward food-related)
4. WRITE DOWN the action steps you'll use to get to those goals and plaster them on your forehead (or refrigerator, or computer monitor)
5. And make everything - the goal, the steps, the change statement - EVERYTHING as positive as you can!
6. Figure out some way to be accountable to someone other than yourself - promise your mother, your husband, or a group of strangers, like at Weight Watchers (they're not strangers anymore...)
7. Find folks who can be role models and cheerleaders and do your best to ignore those who are jealous of your goal or assure you you're "fine just the way you are" - they are either false friends or they're saying that because if you face your demons they might have to consider facing their own! It's the role models and cheerleaders who will be your lifelines when you're hanging by your fingernails.

Who are mine? My WW leader Meghan, my Sis-In-Law and Big Sis, and then there's Tami and Jocelyn. Both Tami and Jocelyn were met in person at Sock Summit - Jocelyn I'd "known" longer online, but Tami and I struck up a conversation on the way to the SS09 Ravelry party and I was immediately impressed with her genuineness and commitment to her Pilates training. I didn't learn that night that she was a Weight Watchers leader. It was quite a bit later that she shared her story with me and inspired me to try Weight Watchers again - yes, I'd done it years ago, about the time I STARTED smoking to help me lose weight!!! (oh what a dummy I was, I should have stuck with WW and ditched the weed, but hindsight is 20-20, dontcha know). Jocelyn inspired me with her own success on WW, but also with her back issues. We had more in common than we knew!

So find your best buddies, even if they're in real life, rather than online. Do whatever works for you...but remember it's not a snap decision, it's a process, and you have to think about it and plan, you have to devote some energy to it (goals, steps, action plans...), and that you will not always be perfect and that's just fine (because any "slip" can be fixed!).

And then promise yourself that this is for life. Is your word good with everyone and everything you do in life? (I'm sure it is)

Then you have to honor a commitment to yourself just as strongly.

And drop me a line. I'll be happy to cheerlead!

4 Comments:

OpenID meezermeowmy said...

Much to think about. Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

Proud of you and all your changes!

11:32 AM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

What a wonderful post! And thank you so much -- you know you're such an inspiration to me in so many ways, too! I love your list of steps to take, and I think that you're absolutely dead on, both in the ways to make big changes and in the underlying motivation that everyone needs. Just so you know, you've inspired me to try for those last 15 pounds I've needed to lose -- thanks :)

8:03 PM  
Blogger squiggi said...

Aw, shucks, THANKS!
You've done SO well with your weight watchers commitment. I'm proud of you and you should be proud of yourself too!

See, sock summit really WAS life-changing!
Here's to a great 2010
Happy New Year!
Tami

9:52 PM  
Blogger Tan said...

Yay! glad your weight loss is going well, too!

6:51 PM  

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