You Mean, Nothing’s Different?

On New Year’s Eve we were at a house party and there was a friend of ours there who smokes.  She’s one alone, the only smoker in our group.  She shared with us that January 1st was her quit date, she’s been gearing up for it since September, apparantly she had a health scare earlier in the year so she’d decided quitting smoking was a good idea.  She told us how on January 1st she was going to officially be a non smoker.  People at the party who have smoked and since have quit gave her pep talks and tips and tricks while she gave us all the same excuses that everyone has used, that everyone uses so that you understand that this is going to be extra hard for them.  That they have special circumstances or issues etc.  Anyway, there was a Polar Bear Ride on January 1st afternoon that Ray went on (I still can’t wear proper pants yet….thanks, Tattoo….getting dressed for work tomorrow should be interesting!) and when he came home he mentioned that this lady had not quit, was still smoking, had a partial pack and a full pack with her.

I felt really sad for her……….because we have all been in that exact same situation.  You set a date to lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising, save money, eat less, whatever your issue is.  And on that date you wake up in the morning and absolutely nothing is different.  Nothing’s changed.  You’re still the exact same person with the exact same addictions, stresses, emotions and habits.  You would still rather nap than go to the gym, you’d rather have a slice of cheesecake than an apple or some carrot juice.  You still go to the mall and whip out your debit card when you see something you want rather than walk away.  Nothing’s different.

So what do you do?  What do people who succeed at revising their lives do differently than the people who do not succeed?  I was trying to remember how I did it when I turned my life around.  I don’t really know with any sort of absolute certainty what it was.  I do know some of the things that keep me going and I’m sure that they must’ve factored in when I started.

  • what you want to achieve has to be more important than what you’re doing now
  • discomfort is part of the deal
  • nothing, and I mean NOTHING changes overnight
  • you have to trust yourself and your process
  • practice continuous improvement, reassess as needed, tweak, modify and help build a snowball effect

More than any of the things above though, you just have to do it.  Buckle down, endure the discomfort and achieve something that is valuable and lasting and important.  Decide to be one of the people who succeeds.  Decide that you are going to succeed at something difficult that most people don’t.  Ask yourself, “Why shouldn’t I be a success story?” and then work your ass off to get it.

I looked at a picture from the week before I started Weight Watchers in 2007.  It took me 8 months to lose 85 pounds.  I’ve kept it off for 3 years and 9 months.   I realized this morning that this year is the first year that I have ever not had a number in mind that I want to get to or lose.  I thought maybe it was an oversight on my part so I thought about it and all that’s happened for me is that I woke up on January 1st and nothing’s different.  I just keep on keeping on………….exercise, veggies, water, lean protein and good fat.  It’s the same now as it was 4 years ago.  Nothing’s different.  If I want something to be different this year for myself I have to create it.

Here’s the before and after……..a week before I started WW in 2007 and the after picture is a cute picture from November when I tried on my mom’s wedding dress.  And then there’s a before and after headshot.



6 thoughts on “You Mean, Nothing’s Different?

  1. “practice continuous improvement, reassess as needed, tweak, modify and help build a snowball effect”

    That is the key to life, the snowball effect. It is very sad that even a health scare did not warrant enough attention to make a change in this woman’s life.

    We live in a society where is has become normal to be overweight, abuse substances, and choose food over health. It has also become normal to die in our 80s or 90s, ages considered to be hard earned, but these are the ages of those who have fallen due to their unwillingness to indulge in their health. We do make it hard on ourselves, but it does not have to be that way.

    Best wishes with your health…

  2. “indulge in their health”… I really love that, Peter.

    Shannon – looking at those pictures blows my mind. And I knew you back then, yet I’m still shocked at it. I think it’s because the way you look now is the REAL you. I don’t know who that other person was but I’m glad you came out of that other body to become the person you are now.

    I was thinking about how people make resolutions for the new year and then they somehow expect the clock rolling over at midnight to magically make something happen. It doesn’t work that way. You have to MAKE it happen. January is a great time to start fresh and get going on a self project, but tearing a page off the calender is not like waving a magic wand.

    • Thanks Tara, part of the maintaining, as you and I have talked about, is realizing when you’re somewhere realistic and then just living there.

      I’m so grateful that I have you in my daily life!

  3. This post really resonated with me. I used to smoke, but I never “quit”. Instead, I stopped. I began to just want it less, until finally I was in a bar, bumming smokes off my cousin, and I realized I didn’t want the lit cigarette, it was just burning down in my hand. I put it out, and that was that.

    I had an epiphany that quitting means you are forcing yourself to no longer do something you want. Stopping implies you simply don’t want something anymore, and are more open to a real change.

    Reading this I realized it was the same with the diet (aka lifestyle change). When I really wanted to stop eating badly, it was easier to stick to any plan I was on. The ones that failed were the ones I didn’t really want to do (“I was quitting food” I really wanted, not stopping because I no longer wanted it)…. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone but me, but thanks for this post, it helped me put some things in a different perspective as I work through my last hurdle, EXERCISING MORE (or, stopping being OK with not enough exercise per week.) 🙂

    • I love that….stopping vs quitting. I think you may have helped me put the finger on how I did my transformation 4 years ago. I wanted to stop being fat and unhealthy and that meant I had to do things differently.

      THANK YOU for that different way of looking at it. Because what we do that is successful is always framed in a positive manner…..the negative rarely works!

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