After That Mistake, We Make This One

our picture, Outer Banks Donuts

So, in part one of our series, we talked about why it’s best to go into “stealth mode” when you decide you are ready to make a change in your life.

That way, if you want to eat a donut, you don’t have to explain it to everyone who is “helping you” track your weight-loss progress.

Our next mistake is in our startup approach – we start off way too enthusiastic about our decision to change.

Perhaps, we decide to “get fit,” so we join that Weight Loss program and buy a whole new yoga wardrobe with matching headbands and such.

Next, we sign up for a $1200 annual membership at the cool yoga studio across town. (It’s so much cheaper than just paying as we go for now.)

We swear to ourselves that that is the best investment. After all, we are going to be yoga-ing EVERY DAY from NOW ON, ’cause, as we figure it, we need to feel peaceful and centered and be in shape EVERY DAY, so – when you look at it THAT way – the annual membership is BY FAR the very best investment.

Except, we don’t even know if we like yoga.

We just went that one time cause everyone’s doing it. And, even though we say this kind of stuff doesn’t matter, the truth of it is that, in some ways, we kinda sorta like being a part of that “everyone” crowd.

So, we sign up for the full year. And then we go a couple of times.

But, one time, on the way to yoga, we really don’t “feel like it.” We really really don’t. So we war with ourselves about going or not. Ultimately, we decide to continue our reverie at the donut shop – to hell with that diet.

And the thing I want to share with you – beautiful dear friend – is that that is all COMPLETELY OKAY.

It really is.

The donut is not the mistake. The skipping yoga is NOT the mistake.

The mistake was our decision to rip out our whole current life in one fell swoop in some wide-eyed belief that we could actually make changes that stick that way.

Our decision to go “whole hog” led us back to the donut. (click to tweet).

And, though we may not allow ourselves to realize this or not, that choice to go back to the donut killed something important inside of us. It made us doubt ourselves. It made us distrust ourselves. It helped us justify giving up on ourselves.

We stand befuddled.

Where did all our self-discipline go? We used to really be able to get things done.

Like, remember that time, back in college, when we could get the grades and work that job, and go to parties . . . .

Oh, we were 20 then.

And, we’re kinda sorta not anymore.

When you were 20, you were probably a whole hell of a lot less encumbered than you are these days. Plus, you didn’t have a couple of decades of overextending yourself as the shaky foundation for what you want to build next.

Brace yourselves, but I’m thinking that this might be true: We just may be past the age when GREAT BIG shifts are gonna work for us. It’s just too hard to make those changes STICK.

Lordy, did it take me forever to accept this.

You all know that Life After Tampons was actually my Big Dream twenty years ago. I tried EVERYTHING to get that dream to flower. (Well, actually, every third year or so I’d get sick and tired of being sick and tired and then I’d try a BIG thing or two before giving up.)

Finally, defeated, I discovered the miracle of “micro-shifts.”

If you want to change something about your life, do NOT get on the Internet for four hours looking for ways to do it.

Stop researching your life and start living it. (click to tweet)

Think of each day as an experiment that will yield important data about what you really really want.

Try this instead: think of one thing that you can do that seems like it advances your goal — one tiny 15-minute task – and go do it.

Just one thing.

Go do it now. We’ll wait.

. . .
. . .
. . .

Welcome back! And congratulations!

You just did it, girlfriend. You just changed your life!

Now, if you want to change your life some more — tomorrow, when you wake up, commit to one tiny 15-minute thing you can do. And go do it.

One day at a time, just for today, commit yourself to just one QUIET (see mistake #1) shift and go do that thing.

When you wake up, check the calendar. If it is today, then do your one thing that you do each day.

Slow. Quiet. Micro-shifts.

That’s the answer, love. Or, at least one good part of it.

Next time, we’re gonna talk FEAR. Cause, by now, I’m sure you’re feeling some. In the meantime, share your best “whole hog” reinvent yourself mistake in the comments below. We’ll all have a good giggle.

Love, Jen

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8 Responses to After That Mistake, We Make This One

  1. Sandy Morris says:

    This is me. Raising my hand. Guilty as charged. I have gotten to be almost 200 pounds doing the very same thing in a body that should be 135-145 lbs. And of course, each time I gain it back a little more than last time. Each failure deepens my hatred of myself and my disappointment. Someone looks at me and DOESN’T say something with their mouth but with their eyes. “Oh. It happened again.” Whatever it was. I say, “Of course it did, this is ME we are talking about, the biggest failure in the world!” I TRY so hard! But the trying isn’t what gets it done, is it? Starting over trying to love myself FOR GOOD this time. Little bits at a time, for the long run.
    Thanks Jen! Sandy

    • Jennifer says:

      Hey, love. I hear your struggle. One small thing at a time. When that thing is done, pick another that seems reasonably good. Slow, steady. We’re doing it together.

  2. Marie says:

    OMG did you just describe the past 30 years of my life!!!!. Jump in whole hog and then stop. I have wasted more money with my changes/resolutions/ideas for change! In the past couple of years though I finally learned one step at a time…if I falter it’s ok…especially since I will get back on the horse again so to speak. I am making small commitments to myself to make the changes real for me…I try to go to the gym five days a week even if it’s only for 30 minutes to get something accomplished. Yet on the day something comes up and I can’t make it, I don’t get down about it, I just show up the next day. I have definitely seen changes and boy is life a whole lot brighter.

  3. Terrie says:

    I’ve done this so many times around my weight, until I started very small in the summer of 2012…..I’ve learned to love the process, making one change at a time, and not doing anything that doesn’t make me happy. So if I try an exercise and don’t like it…not happening again, I’m doing something else. If I’ve tried to give up a food and it makes me unhappy…nope, it stays in moderation! I heard someone say that if we miss brushing our teeth one day, we don’t say to ourselves “That’s it, I’ve screwed up, I’m never gong to brush my teeth again.” or “I’ll wait until next week to start brushing again”. Instead we get back on it the next day, no harm no foul. I remind myself of this often when I’ve skipped exercising or eaten too much, or yelled at the kids too much. Since the end of 2012 I’ve lost over 30 pounds, done my first pushup even and run my first mile ever…..I found the healthy athlete within and she deserves a lot of credit and compassion on a daily basis!

  4. Pingback: The Second Worst Thing that Can Happen to Beautiful You | Life After Tampons

  5. Marian says:

    This pretty much describes my life in a nut shell. I lost my job…devisating, lost 80 pounds…was very focused on me because that was the only thing i could control. got involved with a good friend because i could not find it at home…am walking around with this guilt and cannot tell anyone. beat myself up every day and have eaten myself back up 35 pounds which i do not want to to.
    I was never important EVER. I was the fixer, the perfect one and my life has become less than perfect and I do not know how to forgive myself and get back up on my feet.

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