Four years ago I started using the WWDiary app to keep track of how I was doing with the Weight Watchers approach to, well, watching my weight. I never officially joined Weight Watchers, but my wife did, and I seized an opportunity for self-improvement.
I’ve written about this topic here, and especially here (my favorite), and most recently (if Oct. of 2011 is recent) here.
I’m revisiting the topic in part because as I write this, it’s four years to the day since I started with that app, and I weigh 55 pounds less than I did then.
Another reason is that this anniversary, and how I reached what to me is a milestone, relates closely to the idea I came across today in this tweet from Ruud Hein (@RuudHein):
The link in the tweet takes you to this post on Google+ and onto another of those virtuous cycles that make the hyperlinked world such a joy at times. I’m crediting Hein, who credits All Smith and Branko Zecevic with linking to a post on Inc.com by Jeff Haden.
I want to highlight the excerpt that Hein highlights:
Commit to a process, not a goal….
We put unnecessary stress on ourselves to lose weight or to succeed in business or to write a best-selling novel. Instead, keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule instead of worrying about big, life-changing goals.
When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.
Often in my life, to-do lists have just depressed me–especially the end-of-day or end-of-week carryover, as still-to-do items plodded through the calendar. There was the temptation to knock off a mess of low-priority things.
(Admit it; you’ve done it, too. The deadline is looming and you spend the afternoon fixing the transitions in PowerPoint.)
Looking at the process is a higher-level way of answering the question, “”What do you want to have happen?”
Four years ago, I started with “lose some weight” but reframed that to “get in good shape” (which I guess sounded better to me at the time than “be healthy,” if only for the active verb). That turned out to be a far better goal, because it was easier for me to identify some processes likelier to get me there eventually.
I don’t mean for a second to position myself as a expert on weight loss — but I’ve become a far better manager of my own systems. I’m a practitioner of things that tend to keep me on a path I wanted–and still want–to be on.
I’ve been at my new job four months now. I have coworkers I look forward to seeing, people who want to share, to experiment together, and with whom it’s a pleasure to figure things out. Even as my current project rushes to the delivery date, I find myself engaging more both with my face-to-face peers and, sporadically, the many virtual colleagues I’ve encountered.
That’s part of the practice I need to be practicing: not just connecting, but regularly and purposefully connecting. Not just reading, but regularly and purposefully reading. Not just thinking out loud, but regularly and purposefully doing that.
CC-licensed photo by Víctor Nuño.