Fit Writers: Reverse Engineering Goals and One Healthy Habit at a Time
The motto on the box says, “Lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time.”
It caught my eye on a day when I was grumbling about the plateau pattern in my weight loss goal. It reminded me that while I might still be tempted mightily by the glorious white potato, I’m also getting better about ordering food without a side of bread. One healthy habit at a time.
In my last post, I wrote about the changes I made to my OptaVia protocol to jumpstart my body out of plateau. It worked beautifully. I lost 5 more pounds in one week, bringing me to my August goal. It was the end of September, but never mind that. Progress is good. And then, my system decided to stop and take another breather. Here we sit again.
Mentally, I’m getting weary of the diet. Then I talk myself through what the next phase looks like, which is pretty similar to where I am now but with ordinary food and realize again: there is no end to a lifelong change until I’m dead. In which case, I still won’t be eating fries and wood fired pizza.
So, whatever. Slow and steady wins the race. I’ve got other things to do. (See what I did there? I don’t live to eat anymore. I can stop obsessing and rhapsodizing about food. One healthy habit at a time.)
Rachel Hollis is talking up her Last 90 Days challenge. It’s a focus on ending the year out strong, striving towards the place in life we’d like to be before New Year’s. When I read Girl, Go Wash Your Face my favorite part was her fresh take on reverse engineering goals. I merged up the idea with what I’d learned in Deep Work and have gotten a shitload accomplished in the last few months. That momentum, along with some clarifying changes to my work at Brave Writer and in my writing Work in Progress and I have a very clear idea of where I want to be by New Year’s Eve, when I’m ringing in 2019 on our annual trip to Savannah.
Now that the destination is in place and there’ s a clear timeline in place, the breakdown of steps isn’t hard.
That probably sounds a little more efficient than it is. Sometimes I take the long way around a problem. I think about it from all sides and turn it around in my hands. I shift its angles like a Rubik’s cube. I play devil’s advocate. I channel Marie Kondo and see what sparks joy. I pretend to be minimalist. Then, I overthink it all again. Eventually, either on my own or at someone else’s urging, I squeeze out the sponge and use whatever viscous fluid runs out.
All of that is part of my process. I can’t get to the distillation stage without going through all the recipe’s steps. What this looks like to others: I take a long time to think about stuff before acting. It might look like I’m wasting time. Not comprehending the instructions. Getting confused. And then, once I’ve got the oil of the idea to work with, I zoom zoom and make a whole bunch of stuff with it and it looks like I go fast, like a race car.
Yes, it did take me six months to decide to try OptaVia. I went vegan first. I quit drinking first. When I decided, my coach got it ordered and I started within a week. I started on a Friday with no need to “get started on Monday.” My commitment to it is not really shakeable until I do what I came to do, which was to give it six months and hopefully lose all 40 of my peri-menopausal second puberty weight.
Rachel talks about goal setting in the chapter entitled, “No Is the Final Answer.” Every chapter is named after a lie. She says to instead think of no as detour. A yield sign.
“No means merge with caution. No reminds you slow down– to reevaluate where you are and to judge how the new position you’re in can better prepare you for your destination. In other words, if you can’t get through the front door, try the side window.”
I dig that spirit of perseverance. I’ve been reminded several times in the past week to TRUST THE PROCESS. It’s hard for me. I’ve got chronic generalized anxiety that is carefully managed (and utilized sometimes for performance). I tend towards people pleasing when I’m not working my 12 Al Anon steps. I get panicky and palm-sweaty when I can’t see the destination. I need a fixed point target, towards which I can hurl my life force at full speed. We’re all much happier when I have that: me, my projects, and the people around me. Then, I get the job done and we all go home and rest. I like my down time as much as I like the growth spurt.
The first step in The Last 90 Days, which I am loosely paying attention to, is to state clearly all those destinations. Create fixed marks. I’ve done it for work, writing, weight loss, relationships, friendships, and style (I’m also teaching myself to dress with the Get Your Pretty On Fall Capsule Wardrobe Challenge). If this sounds like it takes a lot of energy, it does. High energy is a side-effect of OptaVia.
That’s how it works, going backwards:
- Determine the end goal
- Determine the deadline
- List everything that has to happen for the above to come true
- Put those tasks into the days allotted in reverse order
- Boom! You have a map to get there from here.
It’s one healthy habit at a time, in a row, until 90 days from now, you’re life looks different than it does now. Or, your project. Or, your assignment. Or, your waistline. Or, your wardrobe. It pretty much fits across the board.
Side note– I picked away at my website redesign this way and now it’s pretty much finished. Feel free to take a look around and if you notice anything not working the way it should, would you please let me know in the comments? The archives of my OptaVia posts are in the categories at the bottom of the sidebar.