Monday, April 19, 2010

Step by Step

One lesson I’ve had to learn over and over again is to not try to do everything at once. I often get revved up and try to do a bunch of things at once. In the bad old days, it was mostly about food restriction and exercise in a weight loss attempt. While the goals have changed, the tendency to be overly gung-ho remains. Case in point: trying to cut out gluten and coffee while upping my yoga practice. All seem like great goals and really not that hard to do. But taken together, it’s a lot of change. I’m grateful that I caught my mistake within a few days and picked one thing to focus on: cutting out gluten.

I’m happy to report that it’s going well. I had a moment of doubt when Cute Man suggested Panera Bread for lunch while we were out on Saturday. I wondered if I could resist all that baked goodness. But then I thought to myself: it’s not about resisting anything. It wouldn’t kill me to have a piece of bread or anything else. However, I’m choosing to see what, if any, benefits there will be to avoiding gluten in my diet. It’s just an experiment and completely within the realm of personal choice (in this, I’m lucky – I know this is NOT a choice for those more adversely affected). That subtle shift in thinking made all the difference and I really enjoyed the salad and bag of chips I chose to have.

In a post that I happened upon today at The Simple Dollar, Trent talked about how most of us wind up taking 5 steps forward and 4 steps back when trying to make changes in our lives. The net result is 1 step forward, sure. But think of all the aggravation and hits to my confidence I could avoid by choosing to just do one thing at a time! That cuts down on a lot of feelings of failure and wasted energy. It doesn’t mean I’m giving up on reducing my dependence on caffeine or making my home yoga practice a daily habit. It means I’m focused on the big picture, realizing that self improvement isn’t a switch I can flip. It’s a work in progress.

I’m not giving myself hard and fast timelines on this. I’m going to do some periodic check-ins with myself to see how I’m feeling while avoiding gluten. When I decide to either continue with this indefinitely or decide it’s not for me, I’ll be able to move onto another goal.

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