It has been a while since I’ve written regularly on the blog. It’s time to get started again.
There are a few different kinds of goals. One’s where you are trying to become someone new and better. And ones that you cross off the list. Sometimes it seems I make goals that should be about who I want to become, and instead cross it off of a list to my detriment.
Weight goals typically fall in that category for me. After decades of trying and experimenting, I’ve finally figured out how to lose weight. It all started when my wife bought a Smoothie Blender. I finally figured out that no matter how much I exercised, my weight doesn’t care. It’s only through diet that I have been able to coax my weight down. When my weight reaches “the red zone”… which is around 170 lbs for me, I would go on a draconian, merciless, no-exceptions diet of not eating meat and starch until I hit my weight goal. From January to February, I went from 175 lbs to 155 lbs… The side-effects of the diet is typically grumpiness (sometimes outright anger) and some social awkwardness (when I go to someone’s home for dinner and nibble on some apple slices I’ve brought). But, I do it because it works. In my mind, I am super motivated by hitting the goal weight so that I can eat meat again.
But this is the type of goal where it should really be about becoming a type of person… and not just crossing something off of a list. Because once I check off my weight goal, I am like a kid in a candy store. I will gain 10 lbs within a week. I’ve been thinking for weeks about all the BBQ, chicken wings, steaks, etc that I’m going to eat as soon as I get to my goal weight.
So, then I do the diet again… and again… and again… when in reality, I just want to be a healthy person at a healthy weight. I read (listened) to a book called Atomic habits… The author made a few interesting points and suggestions that stuck with me.
- Making a goal to become an Olympic athlete won’t make you an Olympic athlete.
- Developing daily/weekly habits will get you closer to your goals. Taking time and care to establish how and when you’re going to accomplish habits will do much more for you than setting a goal.
- Treating these habits as our identity will help the habits stick.
- We should try to chain habits together so that you mentally force yourself to do the things you should be doing in order to get the things you want to do.
I’ve already figured out what I “want”. It’s meat…. And I’ve figured out that I’ll do all kinds of things so that I can eat meat. So, I tried to chain a few healthy habits and use meat as a reward for accomplishing them. I downloaded an app on my phone called “Child Reward”. It’s kind of like a sticker chart for kids to reward points for good behavior, then they can claim prizes with their points. I created a behavior called “No eating meat/starch + Exercise: 100 pushups/situps OR running). Then, I created a prize called “Eat whatever you want day”. I gave myself 10 points for a day where I eat healthy and exercise. Then, I would take away 30 points for eating whatever I want. This way, I would restrain myself for most of the week and give myself about 2 days per week to eat whatever I want.
When I built up my points and had my first reward day, what I found was that I went crazy! It’s my buffet day!! I bought and ate WAY more than I should have eaten in a single day. By the end of the day, I was feeling sick… FAIL…
So, I tweaked prize by breaking it up. Instead of a single day (All Day Buffet) pass, I created 3 different categories –
- 15 points for eating anything before 11am.
- 15 points for eating anything between 11am-3pm.
- 15 points for eating anything after 3pm.
I almost never eat breakfast anyway, so this breakdown made sense to me. I also changed my reward system… I noticed that if I’m eating meat, then I can’t get the points anyway, so I won’t exercise. I broke up my rewards to the following:
- 5 points for no eating meat/starch
- 2 points for 100 pushups/100 sit-ups
- 1 point for every 1 mile or 2000 steps I take.
So far, the new system has been working great. The point system has been fun to work with. It has been like playing chess with myself. There’s a “bad” Don that is trying to always game the system… and another “good” Don that is trying to keep that carnivore in check…
I am looking to do a 10k or maybe even a half-marathon this summer if anyone is up for it. Accountability partner is probably the best way to stick to something…. Let me know if you’re interested. (Can’t be on Sunday)
Another one of my goals is to blog more often. I should be journaling… and I’ve used a lot of excuses to avoid it. Hopefully, this is another goal of becoming a more consistent writer… and I won’t use this post to check off the goal…