Hello. I’m back.
I went away because I was a bit tired of espousing personal development philosophy while manifestly failing to come up to my own standards. Furthermore, as a direct consequence of said lack of integrity and the physiology that resulted, I felt bloody terrible. I had (still have) a dodgy knee, but carrying 42 lbs of spare weight wasn’t helping. All that weight was on my front, which probably didn’t help with the back. I was constantly tired when I woke up in the morning, and I was motivated only by virtue of the fact that I would do things only if they were on my prioritised action list in my planner. I could simply avoid doing things by not putting them onto the list. I needed space.
I booked some time off from work, and set myself only four WIGs – wildly important goals – for the 18 days available.
- Stick to a diet that had worked in the past.
- Go to the gym on every free day (i.e. those when I did NOT have whole days dedicated to other events – which only amounted to 2, anyway).
- Finish the edit of Police Time Management so that I can sell it through my professional body’s website.
- Clear and organise my attic.
Might not seem much but I had various events, meetings and other commitments to fill my time. Those 4 were the specific outcomes or strategies I chose that would address many of the physical and mental blockages that were causing my malaise.
How did it went?
- The diet I chose is known as the Natural Hygiene Diet (look it up). In a nutshell, only have EITHER a protein OR a carbohydrate ‘main’ accompanied by vegetables or salad, and avoid (as far as is reasonable) heavy sauces and other taste bombs. Eat lightly, and use fruit as your treats. It’s Slimming World without the sins. I also ate only four slices of bread the whole time. My only variance was a bit of a treat after a day-long conference and drive home, where I indulged in a sandwich snack and some sweeties.
- I surprised myself, here. I went to the gym every day but the two days when I had all-day commitments, sat on a static cycle for 45 minutes (and pedalled!), pushed some weight and did some gut-stressing leg raises. I even took my kit to an overnight halt before the aforementioned conference and did it in the hotel gym.
- I finished the edit far quicker than I thought and it will soon be available for purchase either on its own or as a freebie on an investigator’s course.
- This was a challenge because of an unexpected obstacle known as ‘other people’. I found it easy to sort out ‘my’ stuff – chuck, charity, colleagues, keep. Other people – predominantly ‘review, keep, put back’. And their proclivity for finding other things to do which could be done better/at other times/not at all, but seemed to pop up just when I was climbing the attic ladder.
How did I feel? Much to my surprise, by day 12 I felt physically much fitter, lighter, and more disposed to movement. On the final, 18th day, I weighed myself and I had lost 11.15lbs.
The attic is tidier and, most important, I can get at anything I need at short notice. (And I found some stuff I’d been looking for, for months!)
But why? Why did it work now and not before?
Anthony Robbins often says that when we change, it is for one of two reasons – inspiration, or desperation. The 100-Day Challenge, which I manifestly failed to execute, was born of the former, while the success of this moment was clearly, unequivocally and sadly founded on the latter.
I have said before that the principles (of successful living) work if you work the principles. The principles I worked this last 3 weeks were:
- WIGS. I set only four Wildly Important Goals, around which any other things were organised.
- Time Management. I recognised that I was sitting around ‘saving time’ and not ‘using time’, so deciding to use the gym at a specific time every day (4pm) was better than leaving it to ‘IF I have time’.
- Sensible eating. I realised that when I have been stuffing my face it has never, ever been because I am hungry. It is because I am bored. And I realised that seconds after a meal was completed, the ‘event’ was over and my mind and body had already forgotten. So why go to that effort? Just eat sensibly and feel just as ‘forgetful’, but healthier!
- I learned to cook omelettes, scrambled eggs and poached eggs. Thanks, Delia. Masterchef beckons.
One sobering event. Early on, I was at the gym when I met a friend I have known over 20 years, and I mentioned I was on leave and intended to use it daily. On day 11 I met him same place (and time) and he said, “I didn’t think I’d see you again.”
What does that say about me? What have I been communicating over the years, at least in terms of my physical state? Evidently, I have been saying, “Here I am again, this week’s fad. It won’t last.”