This post is part of the series Losing Over 100 Pounds
Other posts in this series:
- Day One: Discipline is Not Punishment, Even If It Feels Like It
- Video: Terry Crews’ 5 Keys to Self-Discipline (Part 1)
- Day Nine: Stop Cheating and Prosper (Current)
Current Weight: 277.6 lbs
Body Fat %: 37.2
Target Weight: 190 lbs
Need to Lose: 87.6 lbs
Commitment and Honesty
After my second day back on the diet, I crashed and burned. I think it was really because I didn’t eat enough potatoes and wasn’t full, but something was still different this time around. Maybe it’s a lack of ambition or excitement since I’ve already done this before with noticeable results (not to completion, however). Maybe it’s due to other stressors going on in my life. Maybe a bit of both. Bottom line… I need something to keep me accountable each and every day.
I realized that its very easy to go to sleep at night after cheating or giving up (temporarily or not) on a diet, so being able to live with myself for another day after years of already being able to live with things I don’t like about myself obviously can’t be the test of commitment and honesty I need. So, what can be? What act requires consciously knowing that I have stayed committed to the diet that day?
I tried thinking of other things people do slowly that provides not only an end result, but also an immense sense of pride (going back to the “tangible” results I mentioned in the last post). So, I thought of the saying “taking it one day at a time”, which reminded me of “tearing down a wall one brick at a time”. What if, just like building myself up into a new me, I also built up something else right along with it beyond numbers on a spreadsheet and lines on a graph?
I knew Lego would be a perfect fit for this due to its convenient size and plausible number of pieces. I didn’t want to end up with a little house of some kind though, as it didn’t really fit the goal. To see what might be more fitting I stopped at Toys R Us on the way home from work and found four small kits (on sale) knowing that they averaged about 100 pieces (and in turn “days”) each.
Just like people use “Photo A Day” apps to document their body changes, I’m using TimeShutter for Android to do the same with the Lego figure. Sure, I’ve taken a “Before” photo already and I’ll take another one every three months, but I’m not too keen on taking a picture of myself every day, especially of what I like the least about myself.
It can be argued that you can use an app on your phone designed specifically to record daily commitment to changing behavior and that’s fine if it works for you. For me, it’s far too easy to ignore and not take pride in, as checkboxes on a screen, no different than numbers or line graphs on a spreadsheet, aren’t something you can hold. It simply feels different to share a bar graph or before/after photo on social media that you’ll one day forget about than to have a physical representation of your accomplishment outside of yourself to act as a source of pride, no different than a trophy, to adorn your desk or mantel.
Sure, if you reach the intended goal, you have become your own “trophy”, but many people in this position don’t care about their body enough to see it that way. I mean, we care more about a burger we’ll never see again and its instant gratification than we do our bodies and in turn our longevity. It’s how we got into this mess in the first place. Some of us care more about playing with Legos and having a cool nerdy collector’s piece than our bodies… at least until that day we have the tangible trophy that is ourselves. Maybe then, we’ll take care of it simply for the sake of taking care of it.
Implementation, A Solution to a Problem
- At the end of the day, I won’t be able to add a brick unless I stuck to my diet.
- If I didn’t stick with the diet by the end of the day, I’ll know I have to take two bricks off instead.
Not only does this provide me the test of commitment I need, but it also provides the incentive to get the figure (and myself) built versus the literal destruction of potential that is taking apart my progress.
This can be used for any changed behavior you’re seeking. Buying things you don’t need or your budget can’t afford, saving 10-20% of your income instead, exercising regularly, reading more, drinking enough water, or even not biting your nails. You can even do multiple figures at the same time, each representing something different.
I thought that I couldn’t have been the first person to come up with using Legos this way, but I just did a few pretty thorough Google searches and outside of people using one jar full of Legos representing pounds to “Lego” of and another jar to represent the pounds they have “Lego” of, I can’t find anything similar. Maybe I am the first?
First or not… I think this is going to work out very well.