Keeping Promises to Yourself

Maggie has a great post today about achieving success on the Body For Life (BFL) plan.  Maggie is an un-ashamed perfectionist who has utterly transformed her body on the BFL plan.

When I started BFL in August 2004, I began to participate in or at least observe conversations on several message boards geared toward women doing the BFL plan. It seemed to me that those individuals who stuck to the plan seemed to have great & continued success. On the other hand, those individuals who from day one wanted to find reasons that the plan needed to be altered or modified tended to not get good results. Finally, those individuals who seemed to not be able to follow the plan (skipped workouts, too much junk food) for even 48 hours tended to get no results. In the words of every NIKE commercial…JUST DO IT.

Currently (it’s still January & the time of New Year’s resolutions), the boards are teeming with women who just haven’t quite committed to a new lifestyle & who seem to need an extraordinary amount of hand holding. This may have contributed to Maggie’s rant as you do need to do a lot of digging past the whining and pleas for help to find useful information at this time (new workouts, new exercises, new recipes, etc.).  So anyway, she has me thinking about why some people can just quietly stick to the plan & achieve success and others just cannot or do not.

I think it’s all about keeping promises to yourself. I know for me, that I knew that I was getting quite plump (such a kind word) & out of shape. I knew that I needed to eat better & exercise more. I just kept making excuses to myself that my other tasks were more important. Being a scientist, I extrapolated my life 10 years out on my current path and decided that I would turn into Jabba the Hutt and would be at risk for diseases that I just don’t want (diabetes, heart disease, etc.).  About the time I started BFL, I read something about trustworthiness. I wish I could find the exact quote but the gist of it was “how could you be a trustworthy person if you do not keep the promises you make to yourself? Why is it that promises we make to other people are easier to keep than those we make to ourselves?” Thus, since I consider myself to be a trustworthy person, I decided to make myself a promise of a new and healthier life. Since I’m all about lists & plans, BFL was the perfect solution. It’s clear, specific, easy to follow and takes less than 1 hour a day.

A corollary to this is that I think that BFL works best when you are doing it just for you. My hubby is as grateful as can be that I have embraced this new lifestyle but had he suggested that I do it I think it would have been a complete bust even if he suggested it with the best possible intentions in the kindest possible way. I think that health living is something that you really must choose for yourself. While I have trimmed down in the past for other people in my life (he will like me better if I’m thinner), it just was not sustainable (nope he didn’t). For me BFL is a gift I give myself each day (or at least 6 days out of 7 because on the 7th day I give myself pizza). Because it makes me feel strong & vibrant, I think it is a gift to those who have to interact with me as well. But first and foremost, it is a promise made to me by me and a gift I give to myself.