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Tom’s Fitness and Paris Martial Arts

A NEW YEAR, A NEW YOU–PART 5 (LASTING CHANGE)

Posted: February 07, 2011

Since Monday was the January 31st, I thought perhaps we could squeeze one more article out of this series before we can’t call it a new year anymore. Technically, we were still in January so it works for me.

Anyway, we’ve talked about how to start the year off right by setting goals, finding things that work for you, and doing things you like. All of these things will help you get what you really want: lasting results.

This is probably even more important than the initial changes themselves. Here’s why. I’ll bet you’ve heard of the yo-yo syndrome. This is where people take the weight off, and then put it right back on.

Going back in forth with your weight is extremely common. Most of us have probably experienced it ourselves. I see it all the time here at the center, and even have to deal with it myself.

What happens is that we get focused so strongly to achieve the goal, that once we get there, we relax just a little bit and maybe even celebrate it. We’ve arrived. It doesn’t even take a big let-down, just a little lowering of our vigilance, and before we know it, we’re sitting there in a cloud of dust, wondering what happened.

Somehow, we tend to think that it won’t happen to us. But it does, and it will. It’s even biblical. There’s a verse I used to quote to friends when they’d say they had it all together. “They that think they stand, beware, lest they fall.”

I wasn’t trying to be a wise guy or high and mighty—I just knew what the verse said, and thought it made sense—for them. That was all well and good until I looked around and found myself in my own cloud of dust, just 7 days from divorce.

What happened is that I’d gotten a little bit too cocky. I guess I thought that it wouldn’t happen to me. But it did. So now I quote the verse to myself.

Once you’ve fallen, you have a decision to make. You can surrender or get back up and start walking again. Sometimes getting knocked around a little bit actually makes you wiser.

Perhaps you can identify why you fell. What things contributed to your fall? What were you thinking? Why did you make those decisions?

Once you’ve figured it out, you can start to put your life back together. You can also use this information to help you keep from doing the same things again that got you there.

For people trying to take off those same 10-20 pounds again, it’s both hard and easy. It’s hard because you have to start over, but it’s easy because you know what to do.

Actually, it applies to people trying to take off the same 50 pounds, or even 100 lbs. I’ve seen people put that much back on again.

What we have to do is maintain our discipline and our vigilance. We need to do the things we know we’re supposed to do—and not do the things we know we’re not supposed to do.

Have reasons why it’s important to you. Stay watchful, especially when you know what your weaknesses were that led to your fall. Christian marriage counselors say we need to build a hedge around things to protect them.

If it’s a marriage you need to protect, you need to build a hedge around yourself to protect you from doing something stupid. Don’t let people in that shouldn’t be there. Don’t have conversations that lead to emotional attachments with somebody else. It’s a slippery slope, and a quick fall.

If it’s your diet that’s at risk, maybe you need to build a hedge around your mouth—or your pantry. Don’t bring things home you know you shouldn’t eat. Don’t stop at places where it’s easy to mess up. Once you’ve started down that path it’s easy to keep indulging. Take smaller portions. Have other, more healthy choices available.

Some people have told me it’s laziness that keeps them from getting the exercise they need. Maybe they need to build a hedge around their time or schedule. Or arrange workouts with others to help keep them interested. Or get stuff they can do at home if it makes it more convenient.

You see, it’s not just reaching the goal and arriving, it’s staying there that really matters. It’s where we are next year that counts, the year after—and the year after that. That’s lasting change.