Life Lessons from a Weight-Loss Journey: Structured Plans Sure Help
For the last few months, I have been devoted to something: serious, permanent life transformation! Namely, losing weight to get my body and physical health to a far more optimal place than I’ve ever been before. And, as you can see from the picture below…I have been successful. So far. As many of you know, keeping weight off, after you have struggled with being overweight for years, is the REAL challenge. At any rate, since this process of changing my daily habits has been so consuming of my time and energy (not so much anymore, now that I’m in “maintenance mode”), I figured it would be worthwhile to stop and consider what bigger life-lessons I have learned in this intense season. And if I’m pondering and articulating genuinely helpful life-lessons, I might as well pass them along to you. So, here comes the first one…
Structured plans sure help! This is coming from a guy whose natural preference is to “fly by the seat of my pants” or “play it by ear,” so to speak. I literally hit replay twice in a row on Spotify in my car today, because I was really feeling Frank Sinatra’s “My Way!” For some of us, structure feels like a stifling of our freedom. We don’t want to be told what we can’t do or what we have to do! We want to do things OUR WAY!!! But, let’s be honest grown-ups here. At least for a few minutes. Shall we? If there is some area of life where we know we need to make major changes to our usual way of doing things, how could it ever be successful to make those changes by doing it the way we feel like it, since doing it how we feel like it is what established the patterns that need overhauling at this point?!? Maybe I’m the only knucklehead who struggles with this? Yeah, I doubt it. So, if simply making changes as I see fit is going to be insufficient to really overhaul some key area of life, what can I do, instead? FOLLOW A STRUCTURED PLAN!
Another HUGE benefit of following a structured game plan is that it keeps you from constantly having to decide what to do. It minimizes your choices and your guesswork. Put simply, you don’t have to figure it out for yourself. You just have to follow The Plan. Just. Do. It. I don’t necessarily have to follow it 100% all day, every day with perfection. Let’s be real – who can do that? But If I genuinely want to experience the kind of change that leads to lasting Transformation, I’ve got to be willing to follow an established structured plan as the new norm. And I’ll give you three basic points to check regarding your possible plan before you even try to implement it. If you can honestly check all three of these boxes, I believe you will have a far greater likelihood of success.
- Is the plan SOUND? Does it even make logical sense? Is it built on any kind of real science or established track record of documented positive results? People are always touting some grand new plan to revolutionize this or that in your life. Sure. But is it actually reasonable? Is it built on something solid, or just catchy? Do your homework. Check it out. Ask around. Google it. Ask tough questions and pick at it for a bit. If it holds up, if it truly seems to be a sound plan, proceed to the next point.
- Is the plan SIMPLE? I’ll admit this one is not an absolute necessity. I mean, it’s really not. But, I promise you this: the simpler your plan, the more likely you are to stick with it consistently enough to experience real transformation. When plans for change become over-complicated, our deep longing to cling to the comfort of the familiar kicks in harder than ever and tramples over the fancy new strategy. The Heath Brothers have a fantastic book that really illuminates this point well. We do well to keep things simple, when it comes to teaching an old dog new tricks. It doesn’t matter how sound and scientific and amazing a game plan for change is: if it isn’t simple enough to learn and follow very quickly, you might as well not even bother. Now, if you’ve got yourself a new plan that is both sound and simple, you’re ready to run it through the third and final test.
- Is the plan SUSTAINABLE? Sometimes a new formula for whatever area of life really is sound, and it’s genuinely pretty simple, but it’s just not something most people can keep doing for very long. And we’ve got to be able to keep doing our new deal, if we expect it to Transform our lives, and not just give a brief little boost of improvement. We have to sustain it. This is the reason certain diets provide amazing weight-loss results, but seem to leave many people vulnerable to quickly regaining all their old weight. The diet itself may be sound and simple, but it isn’t sustainable enough to stick with it for the long haul, and it isn’t designed to bring about changes in enough ways to maintain the apparent transformation – unless you rigidly stick to the formal diet, which you don’t really want to do forever. You get it. Maybe you’ve lived it.
And while I may have started and finished this little Life-Lesson with a focus on dietary changes, I want to encourage you to see the application throughout other areas of life. Need to overhaul your financial situation? Try the above checklist to choose your best plan for a new money structure in your life. Want to make some real spiritual advancement in your life? Try the above. Looking to improve key relationships? Same deal. I hope these simple ideas really help you in finding the transformation you have been longing to experience! And I’d love to hear about it when you “reach the Promised Land” of whatever life improvements and overhauls you are beginning to achieve!