Over the past eleven months I’ve learned lots of things. I wanted to lose weight and get healthy. To do that required me to study up on how to safely lose weight. It also required me to spend a lot of time observing what what I was doing, tracking actions, tracking results and then thinking hard about everything I was doing. Some people would call it ‘analyzing’, but my process is too free-form to earn a respectable title like that.
On the calendar in our workout room, I’ve been recording my exercises and my daily weight. I’ve turned the weight information into a chart because seeing the progress in the form of a chart is powerful. I’ve also recorded all my meals since January first. I started doing all of these things because I know that writing it all down is the kind of thing that keeps me on point. Now that I’ve collected two months worth of data it’s interesting for me to look back at my progress.
Looking at that chart along with my workout and eating records, I was hoping to see a pattern. There wasn’t an obvious pattern, and I just don’t think there would be enough to gain to justify spending a lot of time trying to dig for a pattern.
Then it dawned on me that I was looking for something too specific. The overall pattern is that I’ve been working out every day and eating better. And my weight and general feeling of health have improved. Instead of trying to figure out what exercise gives me the most bang for my buck, I just have to realize that it’s really all about the fact that I’m working out at all. What foods I eat specifically from day to day don’t matter as much as the broader act of constantly being aware of what I eat and what it’s made of.
This is one of those things that’s pretty obvious, but that I have never spent much time thinking about. I’ve migrated from bad patterns in my life to much better patterns in my life.
Sleep: I almost always get 7 hours of sleep or more. My pattern is to be in bed around 9 and up around 5 to work out. My old pattern was so erratic I don’t think I could describe it other than to say it was not giving me the rest my body needed.
Food: Because moderate amounts of healthy foods are my normal pattern, I am able to go to a restaurant every couple of weeks and (along with my moderate healthy dinner) have a decadent and entirely unnecessary desert without having to worry about it. If those kinds of decadent foods were my normal pattern I’d be in trouble. In fact, I was in trouble for ten years because of my poor eating patterns.
Exercise: Previously my exercise pattern consisted of walking from the couch to the refrigerator and back. I’m exaggerating, but not much. The new pattern in my life is to exercise every day. I don’t always do a hard workout, but every single day I do something that raises my heart rate and makes me sweat for thirty minutes.
Positivity: Benjamin Franklin, who I named my son after, said “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” He didn’t know it at the time, but he was talking about me. I tend to be cynical, critical and judgmental. I’ve been working on not verbally expressing my thoughts so much when it comes to these things. Instead, I’ve been trying to sympathize with people, imagine things from their perspective and give them the benefit of the doubt. Honestly, this is the hardest pattern for me to change, but I’m working on it.
Right now I’m working on seeing these patterns in my life. Maybe I can put the power of patterns to work for me in other areas of my life.
A Final Note
I’ve stopped writing on the blog so much because it was just me celebrating my little victories over and over. That’s really all this post is too. Unless you’re trying to do the exact same thing I’m trying to do, what I’m writing is boring. Hey, look at me and how great and successful I am! Nobody wants to read that. The problem is that I need to think that way in order to succeed. I have to constantly high five myself over every little thing I do right (another pattern) to boost my confidence while I continue to push into uncharted territory. Again, boring to hear about.
One thing I know for sure is that if I can make the changes that I’ve made in my life, anybody can. It’s not my business to tell anyone what to do, just to encourage the ones that take the plunge.