Sunday, January 29, 2017

I Know Me

Over the past several days I have found myself repeatedly saying "I know me."

I know that as soon as I sit down in the evening I am going to fall asleep.

I know that if I eat one Swedish Fish and I am sitting near an open bag of Swedish Fish, I am going to have a difficult time controlling myself.

I know that if I tell my friend Amy that I will be at Zumba and she is going to be at Zumba then I'm going to show up at Zumba regardless of how tired I am.

I know that when I am feeling grouchy, my best move is to lock myself in my room for awhile because otherwise - watch out family!

It recently dawned on me the power in that statement.  I KNOW ME.  When I pause long enough to remember that, I am way more successful at making healthy and positive life choices.  When I don't, I am more likely to make poor choices.  I also don't pay attention to what is going on around me and think it is fair to say that I don't enjoy life as much.

Let me dive a little deeper to help explain that.

Zumba.  Here is what I know - I know that by 7PM I am exhausted.  I've been up since 5AM, I've spent the day literally locked in a room with my staff and 30 people with Dementia.  I've carpooled my kids around town, cooked dinner and done about 10 other random things.  By 7PM it sounds like the best idea in the world to put on my PJ's, sit on the couch and fall asleep. However, I also know that I feel healthier, less stressed and more energized when I include exercise into my day.  I know that I love to dance and that I love the Zumba class I attend.  And most of all I know that I love hanging out with my friend Amy whom I don't get to see as often as I'd like.  So, I KNOW that if I make plans to meet Amy at Zumba than I am going to show up at Zumba.  SUCCESS!

Let's look at one more:

Swedish Fish.  Here is what I know - I know that I LOVE Swedish Fish and can easily eat an entire bag by myself.  I know that because I've done it before.  I also know that I am a mindless eater.  If there are snacks in front of me I'm going to eat and eat and eat without giving a second thought to how much I am eating.  I know that if I eat one I'm going to crave more and that I have trouble controlling myself when there is an open bag within reach; therefore, I am thinking of nothing else but how much I want another fish.  I know that my days at work are very busy and my best strategy to eating lunch is to pack lots of healthy snacks that I can grab throughout the day - apple slices, carrot sticks, string cheese, pretzels.  Yesterday at work I walked into a meeting to find piles of candy, including bags of Swedish Fish, in the middle of the table - a great strategy to boost the mood in a late Friday afternoon meeting.  However, for me, I knew that I had not done a good job packing my lunch that day and therefore had not eaten and would not be able to eat until after the meeting.  I knew that if I sat near the Swedish Fish it would all be over.  My mind would be focused solely on those fish and I would most likely end up eating a lot of Swedish Fish.  So, I made the conscious choice to sit at that far end of the table in the seat farthest away from the pile of candy.  SUCCESS!  I sat through the meeting focused on the subject at hand and didn't madly consume the entire pile of candy.

That sounds so complicated, but the thought process takes only a few seconds.  What has stuck out at me over these past few days is that the process is taking less and less time.  I used to wrestle with these thoughts and struggle to make the healthy choice.  Now, I am still aware that I am making the choice, but it is much easier and feels more natural.  Trust me, there have been many times that I have either made a poor choice without giving it any thought or still made a poor choice after thinking about what I was doing, but I forgive myself and try again the next day.

Do you know you?  Do you know what triggers a poor choice or what areas of your life you need to really think about what you are doing before you do it?  It will feel difficult and unnatural at first to make yourself pause before you act, but overtime habits and cravings can change.  I'm proof of that!

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