Or “How to Persevere with Your Long-Term Health and Dietary Goals When Your Motivation is Beginning to Wane.” Except that is WAY too long a title, so Moti-Mani it is!
Regular readers and casual dropper-byers alike may remember that I’m now four months into a rather major overhaul of my family’s general health and wellness. As in we possessed neither of those things, and I was inching dangerously close to a pit that had nothing at the bottom but razor sharp rocks. Also diabetes, stroke and heart attack, but I thought the pointy rock thing was apt.
So I hitched up my pants (hahahahahahaha, there was no hitching, silly! I couldn’t even get my pants BUTTONED) and decided to do the only thing I hadn’t yet tried – make a real, concerted effort to save my own bloody life.
Nearly four months in, I’m pleased to report that I’ve shed a little over 40 pounds and four dress sizes. Better yet, I now sleep through the evening (or at least as long as my cat will allow.) I don’t get winded walking up a flight of stairs. I no longer wake feeling like a UFC match took place in my stomach during the night. My skin is bright and (mostly) clear. I have lots of energy. I no longer sweat while eating. Or breathing.
And while those are all FABULOUS side effects of a healthier approach to diet, exercise and general wellness, remembering to appreciate those seemingly minor gains for the major motivational milestones they actually are is a trap all of us fall into at one time or another. We have a tendency – in all aspects of life, really – to dismiss the mundane inanities of everyday life in favour of THE BIG SHOW. We live for those big moments, and that includes the things we feel passionately about, the things that motivate us.
How that tends to manifest itself in the dieter’s mind is a fixation on a major, end-of-diet treat (an expensive vacation, a crossed-off item on the bucket list, a five-star tour of France where you do nothing but eat cheese for 10 straight days, I don’t know your life!)
For me, that major treat is a ludicrously expensive, long and splashy trip to Disney World, one of my favourite places on Earth, and a spot I’ve been avoiding since gaining ALL the weight. I think about that still-very-nebulous vacation every day as I’m thumping away on the treadmill, imagining that each on-the-spot step is actually me hauling nimble ass towards the Haunted Mansion for the first of the day’s 13 straight rides. It’s wonderful motivation, an achievable big dream I can almost reach out and touch. It also sort of has a smell (popcorn, Dole Whip, propane and chlorinated It’s a Small World water, in case you were wondering.)
And that’s what this manicure is, the nail art representation of a beautiful dream that I’m taking much-needed steps towards making a reality every single day (me standing on the Hub grass of the Magic Kingdom waiting for one of the evening’s innumerable fireworks bonanzas as the sun sets in a pastel sky behind Cinderella’s castle, but of course.)
But plans of dream vacations will only take you so far, as being so far off in the distance themselves, they can begin to feel unattainable – gigantic dreams turned pipe dream. With a long, hard slog ahead and no clear horizon in sight, it’s just far too easy to give up altogether, particularly after suffering a (completely normal and unavoidable) setback.
So I’m choosing instead to also celebrate those little, in-the-middle victories – the increased energy, the improved mood, the sleep-filled nights. Because it’s good to always keep your eye on the big prize, but it’s also worth checking in every now and then with the smaller successes as well. They’re the real motivators, and the real reason to continue doing just what I’m doing – because it feels good, and because I feel good. Nothing more complicated than that. 🙂