A few years ago I decided, rather ignorantly, to paint the outside of my house. It’s a true two-story. Now I didn’t just go get the paint and start painting. I did do some planning and it all worked out fine and my house got painted. It took me a month, but I got it finished. My only focus was the end…my newly painted house. Now, if I had sat and planned a little more carefully, it might have been an easier task. However, I was only focused on the ending as I had a life to live and three small children to raise. The point of this story, we are so focused on the goal, we don’t do what is necessary to reach it. Just like every rung of the ladder must be used to reach the top, daily tasks must be done to reach a goal.
Countless people say, “I want to lose weight”. That’s the goal, that is the focus and that is the sole focus. But that is not how the goal is obtained. In order to decide how to reach the goal, start at the end and work back. How do I lose weight? What steps need to take place for that to happen? Each day, choices must be made to exercise and to use food as nutrition, not comfort. Have you ever asked people who are successful at maintaining weight and exercise regularly, how they do it? Do you write a food journal? What kinds of meals do you eat and how often? How often do you exercise? Do you have a support system? In the end, the goal is not important because when goals are reached, they are tweaked or changed. The importance should be placed on the daily tasks and consistency needed to reach the goal.
I work every Sunday with a mother and daughter duo. Here is mom’s story about the importance of “baby steps”. At her heaviest, she weighed well over 600 pounds. She was moving to a new city and it happened to be raining on the day they moved into the apartment. She was carrying a box and as she was walking, she slipped in the mud and fell. She could hear the bones breaking in her leg as she fell. There were four people with her and even with all that help, they were unable to get her up and into the car to get to the hospital. She recounts her story with tears in her eyes, “I had to drag myself across the ground, in the rain to a picnic table. I used my left arm and right leg to get to a standing position when I was seated, so in order to get myself up, I had to push with both arms and use my strong leg, my right leg, the broken leg to push off the ground to get up”. Four people could not get me up. The first eight weeks in the new city, she was laid up on the couch as all weight-bearing was prohibited.
Ten years ago, August 24, 2001, she had gastric bypass. Today, 2011, she is still 375 pounds, but she made a choice on June 5, 2011 that she would change her lifestyle because her daughter, who has severe autism and is 350 pounds. Every day they chart the food they eat, the exercises they do and number of times they walk around the mall. In two months, they have lost a total of 15 inches combined. She tells me, “tell everyone that it is not the goal they need to seek, it is the daily choice to take the small steps to reach the big milestones”. She is an inspiration to everyone around her and together they have made huge progress. Do they have a long road ahead of them? Sure they do, but every day the choice to exercise and eat right gets easier and easier and she has the measurements to prove it.
Take a look at the goals you have set before yourself. Look at all of them including the physical, mental, financial and spiritual. First, are they written as if you are living them now and are they written as steps to the end? If not, take a moment to re-evaluate your goals and rewrite them. Then make the consistent effort every day to climb the rung to your goals.