Keep your hand up, if you can trust yourself always. That is, you never, ever let yourself down.
There are many areas in our lives where we may have a tendency, a temptation to not do something we promised ourselves, to give in when we know that we really should continue. Or perhaps that's just me?
I’ve been going through this a lot recently. Last year I had a heart attack. No warning. No symptoms, until that very morning.
It wasn’t a poor diet – I’m pretty good at my diet. Could have been better and I am now, but it wasn't something of concern.
I wasn’t fit, but I wasn’t a sloth either.
Sure I was overweight. I still am. But then I am in my mid fifties. Hmm.
It’s been hard since then. My darling wife bore the brunt of most of my temper tantrums when the lack of nicotine allowed my neurochemicals to manifest what cortisol really does to you.
Whilst my diet wasn’t the problem, it still needed some attention. I had to give up cheese! Now for many of you, giving up cheese is neither a problem nor is it something you worry about. Well, I could live on cheese. I love it. All forms of it, the smellier the better. I could eat cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner and still fancy a snack later. Leave cheese in my fridge and I will leap upon it with gusto. So, no more cheese, at home anyway.
Since I was quitting the cigarettes, I thought that I may as well get the rest of my life in shape too. After all, I’ve been given a wonderful gift of Life Part 2. I have a clear purpose in life and a ministry after my short experience of death in the body and my all to brief trip to heaven.
So the fags . Gone
Cheese. Only the very special cheese and only outside of home – I can’t trust myself alone with a plate of cheese sitting in the fridge.
Exercise regularly with a clear target to achieve. In my case, to run 5k outside by the end of the year and swim 500m in less than 15 minutes.
I wanted to lose 11Kg and get some semblance of a hunky body back. I’ve had a barrel in front for more years than I had a six-pack. It is time to get back to being slim, fit and healthy.
Blimey though. This is hard work.
And I have a serious weakness in my own leadership.
I am probably the most ill-disciplined self-leader in the world. I am terrible at self-discipline.
I am very very good at avoiding things, but actually sticking to it. Not so hot.
I am better when I have accountability for what I promise. I know only too well, that I can trust me. So I seek accountability.
I ask others to help me hold me accountable. My wife for the smoking and diet. She’s been a star. Oh the tussles we’ve had when I really wanted to bend the rules.
For my exercise, I got myself a fitbit and started monitoring all my food, my exercise, everything. I collated a group of friends who use fitbit as well to keep each other accountable. And we do. We’ll taunt each other, cajole, cheer and celebrate.
Then I got myself a PT coach. His job is to get this abused and neglected body back in some sort of reasonable shape. Oh, and boy this hurts. I can manage to push myself to run and swim, but not push myself hard. And that’s why you want a coach. Not someone who’s just keeping you accountable, but pushing you further than you think that you can go.
Slowly, and steadily it’s working. I can run over 5k now – still indoors for now, but Singapore is a wee bit warm for outdoor running. My target is to run when I’m in Perth next November – outside along the ocean.
The weight is coming off and a good number of muscles have been pulled out of retirement. I feel better and get much more done in the lesser time I have. Less time because I have to get to the gym for 2 ½ hours at least 3 times a week.
So what does everybody do when something is working?
That’s right, we stop doing it.
We somehow think it’s our own smarts, that we’ve got this down pat, and everything will just continue naturally.
We can’t (and shouldn’t) trust ourselves. And that’s why we all need to seek accountability. For a lot of people these days, that means finding a coach or mentor because our inner circle is depleted. Friends cannot always be relied upon to keep us accountable, after all, they have their own lives to lead.