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The Next Big Thing

I just devoured a bag tortilla chips and a bowl of cheese dip, which I chased with an icy Corona. The chocolate ice cream is calling me from the freezer, and I suddenly remember that I bought a box of those fancy waffle cones last week. It is the second week of my diet. How am I doing?

Truth be told, I ate the green beans and cottage cheese; I ditched the cookies and candy; I snacked on celery and carrots. I had expected to drop at least five pounds following fifteen days of total deprivation. When that didn’t happen, I sort of shrugged my shoulders and fantasized about peanut butter cups and mashed potatoes with gravy. I’m only human.

Let’s face it: we all want instant gratification and a quick fix. (Those mashed potatoes, for example, can be made in a jiffy if you use the dehydrated kind from a box, or better yet, buy them already made at the grocery store.) But nothing happens overnight, whether it is losing ten pounds or finding your way back to health after battling a life-threatening disease. It takes time and patience and persistence. Yeah, those things.

Sometimes, I wonder if it goes against our very nature to commit to a project long-term, to stay excited about an exercise program or eating healthy? How about other things like a career? Or a hobby? Or relationships? How do we keep the boredom from creeping in, taking away any bit of excitement or determination we might have once had?

We become infatuated with an idea and pursue it with zeal until something else comes along that tickles our fancy or piques our interest, and then, we lose the resolve as we reach for something new. Like an insect that flits from plant to plant, we are looking for the next big thing that will make us feel alive and bring us joy. And ultimately, we are caught in a vicious unsatisfying cycle.

If we always see happiness and contentment and success as just beyond our reach, something waiting around the bend, we become lifeless souls, unable to give or receive anything that exists in this moment called now. And this becomes the basis for a very frustrating way to live.

Time will always reveal what we are meant to know and show us what we are meant to see. I truly believe that. But that takes patience, of course, along with the willingness to be honest with ourselves. And so, I find myself reevaluating my goals. Because I want to fit into my jeans; because I want make sure my body is strong enough to keep me healthy, I will make better choices. I remind myself that each day is a gift, even if I have to pass on the pizza. I think we call this “the pep talk.”

When it comes to change, I have learned to ask myself a simple question:

Am I making some progress every day?

Somehow, this keeps me from throwing up my arms in surrender, and helps me get back on track. And it works better than counting calories, too. The race, regardless of the destination, is won one step at a time. (Hmmmm.. Maybe that means I need to start walking.)

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