Feb 8, 2011

Finishing Stuff and Perseverence

Roni posted this challenge today at Blogtolose.com, and I'm taking it up in my own way. She asked what are your unhealthy and healthy habits? What do you do that you aren't proud of, and what do you do that you are? I instead asked myself and answered the following questions. 

Question: What do I do badly?
Answer: Finish stuff.

Question: What do I do well?
Answer: Perservere.

I find these answers coming up more and more in things that I do in my life. Every semester of my post-graduate education (to be finished in May, can’t wait!) has been like this. I start out great, even get ahead of schedule from time to time, and by the end, my enthusiasm is nil. With weight loss, I started great, lost 55 pounds in 10 months, and since have lost only 5 pounds in the last 10 months. There are many more examples, but you get the point.

With weight loss, I’ve come up with some ideas as to what is holding me back. One is that I am afraid of maintenance. I know this will be hard, and that it will last the rest of my life, and that “maintaining” doesn’t seem to have any excitement or zeal to it. Few people will be saying “hey you look great!” after I’ve been the same weight for 5 years. The newness of maintenance will wear off quickly.

I just googled the definition of “persevere,” and it’s: “Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success.” Ironically, even though I finish stuff badly, I persevere well. I trudge on because that’s what I’m good at. I know that there will be little indication of success, because by the time I get there, the newness will have already worn off.

The weird thing about being bad at finishing yet good at perseverance is that it still leads to success. Even if I’m afraid to be finished, I will push through and eventually succeed at what I’m doing. Maybe I just need to never consider myself finished with weight loss? And I think that is precisely why I have slowed so much in my efforts, losing only 5 pounds in 10 months.

So, I’m led to wonder: Am I finished? Am I finished with weight loss, even though I’m far from what would be considered a “normal, healthy weight?” Am I finished with weight loss because I don’t really care about it anymore, and I’m more concerned with what I will be able to accomplish in the future? I’m beginning to train to run a half marathon, and will run one by the end of this year. That’s my major goal right now, and if weight loss comes that’s fine. If it doesn’t, I really don’t much care. I am happy with my body, and I know that it will never be perfect.

Does this mean that I’m finished? If so, then it’s a perfect example of how I am not good at finishing stuff—to not even realize that I might indeed already be there. And if so, it also shows that I’m good at perseverance—because I keep at it, even through the slowest possible weight loss, because I’ve truly embraced the “rest of my life” approach. I guess the truth is I might be done with the part of my life that focuses mostly on the loss of weight, and I may have moved on to the part where I concentrate on finding other ways to be healthy. 


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