“Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
My destiny begins with my thoughts. If I want to change where my life is going, the best and only place to start is covering the territory between my ears.
As a person who is a constant work in progress, I am always looking at ways to make my future brighter, and in the direction I want to be. When I was at my peak weight, I did some soul searching and knew that I needed to make changes if I wanted to live the long life my wife and I had planned. I needed to drop my weight, and increase my exercise to get to the level of fitness I needed.
This wasn’t my first attempt, as is well documented. As I reflect back, I can see where things derailed for me in each attempt. All of them started with me changing how I thought about things, and through the steps in this quote, my destiny was set.
After I lost the weight in 2001, I stopped caring about what I was eating. I had conquered the weight in my mind, and I was confident that I could maintain my weight loss without tracking in Weight Watchers or anywhere else. I went from a mindset of constantly counting, to a mindset of “I’ve got this”. My words about my weight changed, my actions changed, and so on. Even my character changed. I went from a person who was very concerned with his health, and knew that he needed to be mindful daily; to a person who was cocky initially, and just gave up somewhere.
From the summer of 2001 until the summer of 2002, I put on almost 50 pounds. I was creating a new destiny for myself in that time. From that time there were a few fits and starts, but basically the upward trend continued until by February of this year I was up 127 pounds from where I was in the summer of 2001.
I can look back and blame world events, or things that happened to me in my life along the way. I can dig and find excuses, but the real things that changed were my thoughts. I went from constantly thinking about my health, to complacency. From there I progressed to occasional worry, but no commitment. After that it was an easy slide into just not caring.
Nothing along the way seemed to change my thoughts. In April of 2012 I was diagnosed as a pre-diabetic. My doctor had me see a dietician, and I got myself a blood sugar tester, and was on my way. I was sliding into something that was potentially life threatening. For a couple of months I was diligent. I watched what I ate, took daily measurements, and kept my eye on the ball. I even lost 20 pounds. I returned in September to see my doctor, and she was happy with my progress.
Sadly, my mindset hadn’t changed. I once again found myself being cocky about my ability to lose the weight and change the number. I allowed myself to slip from there to complacency. I started a new, steady growth in my weight leading up to this year.
The progression in this quote is interesting, because as I reflect I know that my character was changing too. For most of my adult life I cared little about my health. When I took the year from May 2000 to September 2001, it was really the first time I had done anything positive. Once the slide started again, I can see that who I was also changed. I went from a strong-minded, goal-oriented person, to one who simply didn’t care anymore. I was going to enjoy my over indulgence, and to hell with anyone who got in my way.
- Another burger with dinner? Why not.
- A larger-than-life ice cream cone? Yes please.
- Two king-sized Kit Kats while driving home from work? Definitely!
- Packing a case of beer for a 1 week trip, and knowing I will re-stock? Of course!
I am 22 weeks into this health journey. I hope that it is one that lasts a lifetime, and that 5 or 10 years from now I am writing about how successfully I have kept the weight off, and not about how I tried for a year or two and failed miserably. I think that the difference this time starts with my thoughts.
- I have stopped thinking of myself as an inherently fat person who bumps through life.
- I have stopped thinking that I cannot win when it comes to managing my food intake.
- I have stopped thinking that Lifetime Fitness, and the people who go there, are pure evil just waiting to make fun of me.
- I have stopped thinking of exercise as a four-letter word.
- I have stopped thinking that I need to eat the most, or drink the most at the party to be the life of the party.
More importantly there are things I have started thinking…
- I have started thinking that I like eating less, and having just a bit of hunger in my life.
- I have started thinking that I like having color options for clothes, and shopping alternatives that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
- I have started thinking of myself as a person who can conquer anything in my life.
- I have started thinking that exercise, in one form or another, is a necessary to my day as food, water and air.
I don’t know what the future holds. I may wake up and some point, find this post and either laugh or cry at myself and my foolishness for thinking I could alter my destiny. But, I don’t think that will happen. I think that because I am mindful of my thoughts, actions, habits and character, that I can write my own destiny.
That is my reflection for today. How I am grabbing hold of my destiny, and starting with how I think of things. What will you do today to grab hold of your destiny?