Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Persistence

I’ve got this four-part mantra that serves me well when I follow it:
Be open. Work. Persist. Refine.
It addresses most of my struggles and is a reminder that small things done regularly lead to big change. To lose weight I simply have to be open to new ideas, work out and eat well, persist in this each day, and make changes as needed. Yet I remain stubbornly fifteen to twenty pounds overweight.
The most difficult of the mantra is persistence. I’m doing most things well, but I need to keep doing them most every day.
Jerry Seinfeld had a big calendar and crossed off each day in which he wrote working on his material. His goal was to have an unbroken chain of Xs on that calendar.  I bet, given his success, that he hasn’t broken the chain.
There are running calendars printed on posters so people can chain of running days together. The idea is to promote persistence and the belief is that persistence yields results.
I’ve kept a chain of what Julia Cameron calls Morning Pages, three pages written by hand first thing every morning. I started July 5, 2014 and haven’t stopped yet. Christmas morning, I got up before the family, sat before the tree and wrote three pages. Of course. I’m a little impressed with the chain, but happier that it has become ordinary. I’m not surprised that I wrote on Christmas morning. It’s what I do.
Persistence is having faith in the power of doing a little bit at a time. I can’t do much today, but I can do a little. If I do it today, after having done it yesterday, and go on to do it again tomorrow, things will work out well. I’ll lose weight and become fit. All it takes is eating thoughtfully and moving my body most every day.
This morning I ran five-miles with friends. Yesterday I ran five-miles by myself. Two days before that I did a four-mile Christmas Eve group run. The day before that I did half an hour on the elliptical and lifted weights. I’m not thin yet, but I’m thinner and more fit than earlier this week. None of these on their own is much, but collectively that’s persistence.
Persistence requires faith. That I’m still fifteen to twenty pounds overweight fills me with doubt, but yesterday I was a pound heavier and the day before that I was heavier than that. Little by little, persistence is paying off.
Be open. Work. Persist. Refine. A good life is a matter of persistence and faith to keep going.