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my quest to achieve a balanced life

plodding towards success with a four day win August 17, 2010

Filed under: Life, The Universe, And Everything — didibuttonsley @ 8:03 pm

Well holy hand grenade, Batman, my plans for the day were foiled by the universe!
I was reading “The Four Day Win” by Martha Beck, and figured it was about time to start putting some of the concepts into action. The first exercise is called “Creating A 4-Day Win.” Perhaps we should go through it together, and then you can try it out for yourself. Reader participation is not required, but strongly recommended. After all, the buddy system isn’t just a tool for gangsters and crime syndicates.
Step One: PICK A GOAL. What I want you to do is think of something that you really want to do. Deep down all of us probably think that our lives could be a jillion times better if only we would just do (insert amazing feats here) as often as possible. If it’s your health and weight you would like to improve you may cook up some things like: exercise every day, no eating after ten p.m., eat five half cup servings of vegetables a day, etc. Martha Beck reminds you to make this goal QUANTIFIABLE. So instead of saying “I should eat my vegetables” or “I gotta get my fat ass working out more” say “I should eat five servings of vegetables a day” or “I gotta get my fat ass working out seven days a week.”
Want to know my goal? Of course you do, or I bet you would have stopped reading by now.
My goal: Go to the gym four days out of the week, walk my dog (for at least an hour) four days out of the week, do yoga three times a week, devote three sessions a week to pilates, and spend three or four nights doing belly dancing every week. Whew. That was actually the goal I wrote down in the book. You should write your goal down too. Hopefully you didn’t have to waste as much ink as I did.
Here is the funny part. We are supposed to look at our goals and laugh, and notice that they aren’t terribly useful as goals. If the goal we made had been a good one, we’d be out there getting it done. According to “The Four Day Win” if the goal worked we would have made it a habit already. Are you totally shocked that I’m not doing all that shit that I listed up there? I’m not shocked. I’m kind of giggling.
Step Two: Play Halvesies Until Your Goal Is Ridiculously Easy To Attain
Examine your goal and then cut the effort in half. Martha Beck says that we aren’t going to get a damn thing done until the rapture (my words, not hers) unless we take what she refers to as “turtle steps.” If we work at a slow pace we give ourselves the space to integrate new routines into our lifestyle. We can’t expect to go from being tv watching slugs one weekend (I actually don’t watch television, but you get the idea) to climbing Mount Annapurna the next weekend. After you have chopped your goal in half, pare it down another fifty percent or at least reduce it until you are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that you can achieve your goal. Now write this down!  (your goal. not mine! what good will writing my goal do for you?)
My Ridiculously Easy Goal: Tomorrow I will do one of the following things for at least half an hour: walk my dog, go to the gym, bellydance, do yoga, or do pilates. This goal is so oh-so-attainable now that it is making me happy to think about it.
Step Three: Identify A Daily Reward
You must think of a reward that you will give yourself TODAY for achieving your ridiculously easy goal, and you must give yourself this award without question as soon as your goal is taken care of. This reward should be a pleasurable activity or a physical object. Buy yourself a session at a tanning salon. Give yourself a facial. Go out and get that hooker red lipstick and wear it for no reason what so ever. Purchase the slightly more expensive lotion that you have always wanted to try. You can also reward yourself with activities that you like to do. Watch your favorite tv show or rent a movie. Take a long, hot bubble bath. Spend some time scrapbooking. Whatever you wish to indulge in, go for it, but keep it simple and make it something small.
My Daily reward: pick one of the following- give myself a facial, go tanning, do a hair treatment, take a bubble bath
Step Four: Identify A Four Day Reward
Ok, now think of a slightly larger reward that you will give yourself after you have managed to complete your ridiculously easy goal for four CONSECUTIVE days in a row. See a movie with the girls. Hire a babysitter and go out for the evening. Get a manicure. Buy yourself a new pair of sandals. Go play some miniature golf. Whatever you choose is up to you, but make sure that you give it to yourself when you complete four consecutive days of achieving your goal.
Remember- if you don’t meet your goals, you don’t get the reward. If you are having trouble you may want to increase the reward or decrease your goal until you finally get motivated and get things going. It will help if you post your goal, your small daily reward, and the slightly larger reward on a piece of paper in a few different places, and then check off each day for the next four days. Try posting it on your bathroom mirror, the fridge, the dashboard of your car, your workspace, the door of your house, etc.
I intended to start my first four day win today. I had my gym bag packed, my ipod charged, my super sweet tanning lotion tucked away, and I was ready to rock the house down by knocking off the first day of my ridiculously easy goal plan. And then the place where I purchased my tanning package was closed early. No problem, no problem, I’ll just give myself a facial as a reward instead of going tanning. I got to the gym and FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER my little plastic keychain thing that gets swiped to open the door didn’t work. What in the name of kool-aid is going on here? I have to laugh at how funny things are sometimes.
Good thing nothing worked out though, because it gave me the idea of posting all of this nonsense in the hopes that perhaps some others might be interested in following along. This Martha Beck book is so promising and funny, that I’m going to follow all of her four day win exercises. I’ll continue posting them in this blog in case anybody wants to try them out. Supposedly they are designed to retrain the brain so that “You’ll end up with a whole new way of thinking, and that is what will ultimately make you into a healthier, more relaxed, and skinnier being.” I definitely recommend reading the book, because I won’t be able to copy the whole thing down in here, but while you are waiting for lovely to ship you a copy you could follow the first few exercises in here.
Have I mentioned how much I adore Well, I do.


One Response to “plodding towards success with a four day win”

  1. skinnyk10 Says:

    wow – sounds like quite a day and quite a book! I could use a little motivation. Thanks for the laughs .

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