We all have a basket full of wishes. We wish we were thin. We wish we had a better job. We wish we could get an A in the course we are taking. We wish we felt better. We wish we had enough money to pay our bills. And on and on and on. Yet so much of the time our wishes appear for a moment and then disappear as we just continue doing the same things we have always been doing. And then, some day, we may rue the day that we kept postponing making a change or starting a project or taking the first step toward reaching an important goal.
Last year I lost nearly 70 pounds after I started my Do List. I had tried for 30 years to lose that weight, without lasting success. By writing my blog each day, by expanding my do list I found that I expanded my resolve. My commitment became more firmly entrenched. I focused on what I needed and wanted to do which, basically, was to eat less. By switching my mindset from permanently passive and wishful thinking to the active let's-do-it mode, I succeeded. One pound at a time. Day after day and week after week. And then last October my wife died and for nine months I shifted back into the passive mode. I just couldn't concentrate on anything, let alone my continued quest to lose weight. But at least my weight stayed constant at 250, I did accomplish that much since after decades of yo-yo dieting I had never before been able to hold my weight constant even after I lost a few pounds.
Then about two weeks ago I decided to resurrect my Do List job that I began last year and try to finish out writing about the 365 tasks that would make my 2015 Do List complete. And guess what? After scarcely two weeks, my weight dropped from 250 to 246. Imagine, weighing 246 for the first time in 30 years or more. When I began writing again, I began focusing once more on what I wanted and needed to do. As I wrote each day, I became anchored to a firm commitment to get back to my original goal of ultimately reaching 220 or so. How could this result happen after being locked in at 250 for nine months? Actually, my result seemed to occur like magic. I didn't do anything different except think about, and write about, and think some more about how I needed to get back in gear. I needed to leave the Land of Wishful Thinking and enter the promised land of actual accomplishment. And it was easy. If no one else ever read my Do List blog posts, if no one else ever tried to write daily to reinforce what they need and want to do, if no one else ever tried to change their habits and do something different, if no one else ever followed any of my Do List assignments, writing my daily Do List tasks would be of infinite value to me because writing this blog has been the key to my success in accomplishing something that has eluded me for so many long years.
With every five pounds I lose, my health improves. Though I take blood pressure medication, my blood pressure is easily controlled now. I am at less risk for a bundle of health risks. I feel lighter. I can move more easily. I have greater self respect. I had a dozen or so health tests and measurements at the hospital yesterday and every one of them was within normal levels.
I feel that I can't let myself down. I can't go back to the overweight person I was for so long. The exhilaration of getting on the scales and seeing a 4 pound drop this morning after nine months of wishful thinking was worth more than I can tell.
My blog has been about making small changes. One step at a time. One task at a time. One day at a time. Simple rules. A firm commitment to do the day's task, to making the first step. After even small progress begins, a miracle often happens because after trying so long and so hard to get started, then our progress moves on auto pilot, on cruise control, and we just keep going, miraculously, after being stalled for so long.
Today's task: Graduate from wishful thinking. Stop being passive. Create a miracle in your own life. Good luck, and keep going. The Curmudgeonly Professor.