Skinny Daily Post


I had a boss once who was a good listener. When things went wrong, Iíd go flop in the chair in his office and have a big whine. Iíd tell him what was going wrong, provide all the detail of all the events leading up to and contributing to the failure at hand. My idea was that the more detail I could provide about the nature and source of the disaster, the better equipped we would be to find a solution together so this trouble would never occur again.

Iíd exhaust myself getting to the bottom of the mess, and inevitably after hearing me out, heíd ask, ďSo what went right today?Ē

It took only about 10 or 11 of these meetings for me to catch on. I was focusing too much on the wrong things. He wanted me to focus on and build upon my successes. I wanted to fix and prevent the failures. I was addicted to finding and pointing out error, he was bent on building on strengths and wins. And, well, he was the boss, and I was a minion. Go figure.

We can pretty much assume in life that things will go wrong, weíll step in poo, weíll get a bit of drywall stuck in our hair on national TV, weíll trip, forget, drop, misplace, or simply not be up to the task at hand. But these things are not actually failures. These are just little moments of mishap. Itís failure when you give up.

Failures by themselves are not bad. You can learn a lot from them. But knowing the difference between momentary lapses and real failure is pretty important when youíre doing something really hard, like losing weight. Is bingeing on a bag of chips a failure? No. Itís a mishap. Is going for a week without counting your calories or points a failure? No, itís a lapse.

Is it important to focus on every mishap and lapse? It is not. Itís important to focus on what went right today and build on that.

So, okay, you tripped and landed face first, up to your ears, in a tub of Chunky Monkey. That happens. Oh well. But you also took the stairs instead of the elevator today. Focus on the stairs. Build on the stairs. Tomorrow take the stairs twice. Forgive yourself for the ice cream experience, and move on.

This is where your journal or body log really come in handy. Donít be shy about congratulating yourself. Pull out your journal and write it down. In this private place, you donít have to be bashful. Your body log should be a record of all your big and little wins. If youíre proud that youíve walked three days in a row, give yourself a big boo-rah for that. If youíve made it through one evening without overeating after dinner, congratulate yourself for that. Found a new vegetable you like? Paste a gold star in your book.

Focus on the accomplishments, whatever they look like, small or big. Mine include all kinds of crazy things, like the first time I could pull the plug while sitting in the bathtub and the water drained out of the front AND back of the tub. Might seem like a small thing to you, but it was a big moment for me. The first time I could run a half mile was such a huge accomplishment for me, I drew one large exclamation point in my journal. I didnít bother to write more than that. I will always know what it means.

You want to focus on the good stuff for two reasons. First, and most importantly, success breeds success. The more focused you are on the good stuff, the more likely youíll be to stay with your program. Second, when you do reach your goal weight, youíll have an easier time maintaining if you can remember your hard work and how you felt as you came down the scale. Your journal will become a valuable record. Go to it. Make a habit of recording the good stuff.

Un-learning misery, Mckinley Health Center

Positive Self-Talk and Running,

11 thoughts on “Seeding Success

  1. bonnie says:

    Love the the post. My journey is long and slow but I have finally passed the 100 lb mark. You are an inspiration. One comment about new format. I havae old eyes. The print is so much smaller now that I find it a bit difficult to read. I’m still reading it’s just taking me longer.

  2. Janyne says:

    Absolutely love the new format!!!! I really look forward to this ‘jumpstart” to my day. Thank you!

  3. Beverly says:

    I found your site yesterday through a byzantine series of links, and although I’ve no idea how I got here I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read so far. It would be nice to be able to read all the columns you’ve written in a chronological or topical order of some sort. Have you approached a publisher? You have a charming way about you (or at least that’s how you come across here – I’ll not speculate on your day-to-day charm levels)and seem to have some solid advice to share. I’d like to hear your opinion on 12 step programs like Overeaters Anonymous. I read a couple of books by Kay Sheppard about food addiction and found them very useful, but the 12 step stuff has always turned me off (“Taming the Feast Beast” is an interesting if not terribly well-written response to the 12 step approach – by the by). Any thoughts on this topic? If you’ve already addressed it, perhaps you could drop me a reply when you have a chance and let me know how to find it. You may have a thorough and user-friendly index but I have been thus far unable to find it (which would seem to negate the whole user-friendly claim, but I digress).

    Forgive the psuedo-pithy, parenthetical-heavy style of writing. I’m just having one of those days.


  4. Renee says:

    Wonderful article. My philosophy to the core!

  5. M says:

    I agree with Bonnie about the small print….

    M (aged 48.5)

  6. JuJu says:

    Hi folks, thanks for checking in. Beverly, yes, there’s a publisher interested in this work, but she’s stalling to see how my “fame develops.” That means she wants and needs to sell a sure-fire hit to her boss before the commit. It’s a great house, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Thanks for your kind comments. The best way to view these chronologically is to use the little calendar feature on the right side of the page. you can scroll backward to January 07,2003, when I began posting. I’ll warn you that not every post is a winner…

    M and Bonnie, fellows in age, I know it’s hard to believe, but the type is exactly the same as in the old site. I hate to bear this news. If you’re like me, all type looks smaller every day. Darn it. But I’ll think about how to make larger type available.

  7. Bee says:

    Just read your most recent post on focusing on accomplishments – SO TRUE! Had a bit of a set-back on my birthday last week (albeit, it was a PLANNED set-back), and gorged on a plate full of nachos. Felt awful (physically), but emotionally & mentally I was awed that previously this would have been considered a normal helping and took the lesson to heart. It was great to hear that echoed in your post. Thanks for the inspriration! –bee

  8. M says:

    Re. print size: if it’s not the print size, perhaps it’s the contrast then.

    I have just got my first pair reading glasses … My son says they look ‘growly’ – that is good!


  9. JuJu says:

    There you go, growly M. The designers are darkening the type and looking at type sizing options. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when we have figured it all out.

    I have taken to wearing two pairs of reading glasses, one over the other, when it’s time to pluck eyebrows.

    No, I’ve taken to not plucking my eyebrows until someone tells me I should and THEN wearing the double glasses.

    Oh well.

  10. M says:

    Oh, and apparently your eyes stabilise when you reach your early sixties. So I’ll see when I get there!


  11. Trinka says:

    For those who are having trouble reading … just copy & paste into your word processor, and make it as big as you like!


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