Saturday, 27 December 2008

What Will You Do Differently This Time?

A while back in a conversation with a very dear friend of mine, I went on excitedly about starting a new diet regime, aiming to lose some weight. I was very excited and confident that it was going to work. I had read up about exercise and calorie counting and I was confident I had found a winning formula. Amidst my excitement, my friend asked me a question that put a lid on my excitement.

“Moti,” she asked, “how long have you been overweight?” It had been ten whole years – ten whole years of either dieting, or exercising, trying this and that, ten whole years of a bit of effort here and a bit of effort there! Then she asked me another question. I even cringed as she opened her mouth and began speaking, because I knew she was on the usual roll again. Her usual roll of hard questions, I mean. “What makes you think this time it will work, if it didn’t work out in these past ten years?”

I never answered her second question out loud. But, silently, inside of me, a seed was planted. That question kept nagging for an answer. What was it exactly that made me think this time was going to be different? As I said, it had been ten whole years of some effort. But, sadly, I also realized that every time I stepped on my scale, it was telling me another harsh truth. It had also been ten whole years of failure. I managed to lose a kilo over here, a kilo over there, but I was far from that goal I had set for myself ten years back. That’s when her question made sense. How could I possibly expect different results if I was still the same person inside, if I still had the same thoughts about dieting and exercising and approached it in the same old way? Truly, what made me think it would work this time? As always before, my excitement with the new diet was clearly based on an emotion created by an advert or a circumstance. It was NOT based on a conscious decision I was making to change my lifestyle for good. Therein was my biggest mistake! I was surely doomed to failure if I followed that same road.

We are ending a year and beginning another one. This time, people are making New Year resolutions excitedly, planning this and planning that, raising their hopes, believing. I support all of you who are setting goals for your life. I am the first one to root for you! That’s why I am going to ask you the hard questions you are shying away from asking yourself. What makes you think it will work this time? How many of the goals on your list this year are always on the top of your list beginning of every year? And, for exactly how many years have they been on your list? Surely a change of a calendar year alone will not change things in your life. The question is: what are you going to do differently this time?

Listen, excitement alone will not get you far in achieving your goals. Neither will good effort and willpower! If that were enough, you’d have achieved all your goals by now, right? You need to do things differently this time. Don’t base your plans on your emotions. In fact, I’d say wait till you have calmed down and all the deceiving excitement has died down, then start planning intelligently how you are going to change your life and yourself. Make intelligent, conscious choices to be a different person, to discard what has worked against you, to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the new and fearful, so you can finally achieve your goals! Is it all that simple? If you asked me, yes it is. It takes one simple step after another. So, where and how do you begin? Right here:

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)


Mzwandile said...

The one phobia that most human beings suffer from is the fear of change. It's a scary prospect, doing something differently. Most people will change the cover of the book and read it again expecting a different result, instead of picking up a new book. This is another case where we have to go against our earthly nature, because as humans, we tend to become accustomed to our surroundings. You are quite right in saying we can't expect a different result if we haven't changed what we plant. The most successful species are those who know how to adapt to dissimilar environments. Stiff-necked people don't make it in life. Besides, as the saying goes, change is the spice of life.

Selena said...

I'm looking back at your blogs and it's now nearly the end of 2010!! I am asking myself this question now. I made goals for myself spiritually and physically at the end of 2009 and now carrying them over into 2011! I have reversed that question to ask "what didn't I do differently this year?" and I'm seeing what needs to change.