PLAN "B"

So what do you do when things don’t go your way? If you’re like anything like me, you might throw a tantrum. It might not be a big one, probably no one can see it, but inside, it’s definitely a tantrum.

Once in awhile, it’s visible, and my wife tells me it looks pretty silly. I once knew a guy who was about 350 lbs and when he threw a tantrum, he actually jumped up and down on both feet. Now that worked (for awhile) when we were two, but at 32?

If you look at the 5 steps we talked about last week (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), the tantrum would fall into the anger category. But it really doesn’t change anything. You can be as mad as you want about it, but when you get done, the problem is still going to be there.

There are a couple of things we can do, to help make things a little better. First of all, give yourself permission to be angry. At the very least, it’ll keep you from feeling guilty about it—and that’s something.

It might even be healthier to express the anger a little bit rather than holding it in. Experts believe that many health issues are affected by our mood and disposition.

At times like that, I can get perspective by thinking about a couple things. The first is how good I really have it, compared to others that might not have it quite so good. Most of us live pretty well compared to the vast majority of the rest of the world.

Even on a bad day, we’ve got it pretty good. We have plenty of food, clean, comfortable clothes and shelter, and jobs where we make pretty good money. We have lots of extras that many people can’t even comprehend. If you just think about it, we’re pretty fortunate, really.

I got shingles earlier this year. Prior to developing it, I didn’t know what it was. It’s basically the chicken pox virus coming back out through the body and man is it painful. But even so, I remember feeling lucky that it was just on my back—some people get it on their face and can even lose an eye—I saw the pictures.

The pain would come out of nowhere. I’d be doing alright and then it was as if I got stabbed by a knife—even as the scabs were going away. It wasn’t fun, but I’ve known people that have pain like this all day, every day, for their entire life. Serious burn victims can feel like that all over their body for a year! It gave me some perspective. Compared to them, I had it pretty good.

There is an old Christian song that goes “count your blessings, name them one by one.” If I’m thinking about all the neat things God has helped me with in just the last year or two, the current problem starts to seem a little smaller and much more manageable. Plus, I’ll start to see that if those other problems have been solved, then God will help me through this one too.

It’s easy when it’s easy. The real test of character is what you do when things don’t go your way. Stop for a moment and say, “O.K., now what do we do?” If you’re fortunate, you’ll already have a “Plan B.”

A family was leveraged to the hilt with two car loans, a bunch of credit card and other consumer debt and then found out that the husband just lost his job. Now they were in real trouble. What do they do now, especially in a down economy?

But a different family had previously sold the expensive cars they couldn’t afford and got cheaper ones that they owned outright. They cut up the credit cards and quit using them, and finally paid them off. They’d also saved up 3-6 months expenses in an emergency fund. Now they won’t be overwhelmed with the added financial pressures because they have a “Plan B.”

This is biblical too. Jesus talked about building your house on a strong foundation, so when the winds come, your house will still be left standing. But if you build on shifting sand, when the winds come, you’re in trouble. I think he’s talking about faith here, but it applies to practical things, too.

Finally, even if you didn’t have a “Plan B,” thinking about possible solutions, or things you can do, help give you a pretty good perspective. Then taking action, even a simple one, can make you feel better, because at least you’re doing something. When things start to seem out of control, go do something that you can control.

I’ve heard in industry, when they’ve run into an unexpected problem, they brainstorm and try to find a “work-a-round.” N.A.S.A. had to do this with Apollo 13, when they had an energy problem on the space capsule that was days away from home. What type of “work-a-round” or “Plan B” might make sense in your situation?

And remember, for most things, “This too shall pass.” It even applies to working out and feeling better. The Biggest Losers went out to the track and had to walk or run a ¼ mile (one lap) and then do 25 pushups, 25 body squats and 25 sit-ups. Then they did it again for a total of 4 laps (one mile) and 100 pushups, squats and sit-ups.

It was a pretty tough routine—try it and see. A couple of them did it 3 months ago in the last Biggest Loser. You should have seen them this time around. Where before they had to walk most of it, this time, they jogged the whole thing, pushing pretty hard!

Now they know how to push themselves so they need to get that feeling in each of their workouts so they can continue to progress. A useful device is to tell yourself that it’s only for a little while longer.

When I’m out running longer distances, I’ll focus on getting through the next mile. “Just 10 more minutes, I can do that.” Then, I’ll do it again. I like to set up workouts like that for my groups, too. “Just run another lap and do that stuff again. Don’t worry about the rest of it.” Just get started and often times the rest takes care of itself.

Things aren’t always going to go your way. Life intrudes. Things happen. But if you look for perspective and try to figure out a “Plan B,” you’ll find a way to make it through. Climbing the mountain is pretty hard—otherwise it wouldn’t be a mountain. Once you get up there though, the view is unbeatable.

The winner of Week Eight in Biggest Loser “8” was once again Tammy Hewitt, who lost 2.1% of her body weight and another 3.2 lbs. She’s down 22.2 lbs overall and won another $20 gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Cathy Kemper, who lost 1.2% of her body weight and 2.4 lbs. She was tied by Vicki Riggen, who also 1.2% of her body weight and 1.7 lbs. If you’ve been wanting to make some changes the way they are, Biggest Loser “9” will be starting in just four weeks. Now that’s a pretty good “Plan B.”

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