Change or Maintain – You Can Only Choose One

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

If you’ve ever spent much time around a toddler, you’ve come to learn two valuable truths. First, whatever they’re doing right now, they will keep doing until the cows come home. Hopefully it’s something you don’t mind, like singing the same song for the forty-third time. Second, their mood will turn on a dime, and your little angel will turn into a demon in six seconds flat.

And once that downward spiral begins, it’s not stopping any time soon. The only thing that seems to work is letting them run down completely until they fall asleep from sheer exhaustion. Then, there’s at least a snowball’s chance they’ll wake up in a better mood. Maybe.

I talked about kids and naps the other day, so I won’t go into that again now. But the point I wanted to make is that, whatever wave we seem to be riding at the moment, we tend to ride that wave until it reaches the shore and there’s nothing left to do but go find another wave. Or until it dumps us off midstream. Been there!

Body weight is one of those waves for me. It’s something I’ve struggled with over the years, and the first thing I learned is that none of those fad diets works. It’s like bungee jumping. You go down really fast, then the laws of physics take over and you snap right back to where you started. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Seems I read that somewhere.

The other thing I learned is that my body likes to maintain. Whatever it’s doing today, it wants to keep doing. If I’ve been maintaining a steady weight, I may gain a pound or two, but it comes right back down. Same thing happens if I lose a pound or two. Now, if I maintain a trend, upward or downward, my body seems to say, “Okay, this is what we’re doing. Got it!”

So, the challenge for me is to get the weight going the right direction long enough to convince my body that’s what it’s supposed to do. And just like a dog begging for a treat at the same exact time every night, it somehow finds a way to shed those pounds. Now, if I could just get my body to learn new tricks as quickly as my dog, I’d have it made.

We’re creatures of habit. I’m sure that’s no startling revelation for any of you. Whatever it is we’re used to, we tend to follow that trend until something comes along to change it. That change may be forced on us, like a visit from the boss saying it’s time to find a new job. Or it could be something we decided to change on our own, like exercise and proper diet. Right.

But once we get used to those changes, they become a way of life. If the change moves us in the wrong direction, it should be no surprise when we arrive at the wrong destination. And it’s not like we don’t know it’s happening. On the other hand, if we’re headed in the right direction, we tend to continue that way until we get where we want to be. Just like magic.

The problem is, those changes are usually subtle. You don’t wake up in the morning and think, “Oh no! I’ve gained another pound!” We have bathroom scales to make that announcement. If mine isn’t doing what I want, I blame it on the batteries. But the point is, we have ways to measure our progress, so the long-term outcome should be no real surprise.

As a business analyst, one of the first things I do on any project is define the “as-is” scenario. Where are we today, and how are we maintaining that? The next step is gap analysis – what changes need to be made to reach our desired goal? From there, it’s simply a matter of implementation and feedback. Take action and measure the results.

I’m willing to bet most of you could quickly answer the question, “Where would you like to be in five years?” That’s easy. Somewhere better than here! But unless we do something to move the needle, odds are we’ll still be right where we are. The change doesn’t have to be drastic. It just has to be sustainable, and in the right direction. From there, nature pretty much takes control.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved