When you’re doing what’s right for you, i.e., Saying Yes To YOU! You don’t have to beat yourself up. You naturally like what’s optimum for you! Making the right choices for you soon becomes natural & easy to do.  Forgiving yourself is a major element in changing your choices. So is forgiving those who taught you wrong.  Most of these teachers meant well. I’m back to Oscar Hammerstein’s song from South Pacific, “You’ve got To Be Taught”. I go to this song very often. I speak of this topic often because I feel it bears repeating.

Mini-Qs were the way I dropped and kept off 45 pounds and rejuvenated my health. The word mini-Q came to me in the park one day and made me giggle. If I giggle I’ll stick with something.  Mini-Q stands for the minimum of a daily quota we give ourselves for any task. But the words “task” and, even “quota” can put us I a “have to” tizzy. I’d beat myself up when I failed to follow the path that’s best for me. However – beating myself up isn’t the best thing for me (or for you)!  Saying just Q instead of “quota” came to me in the park across the street from my apartment. I had begun to walk a minimum of 30 blocks a day, which in New York City equals about a mile and a half.  I’d been aiming to walk 30 blocks for about a month at that time. I needed to get rid of weight and build up muscle.

In case you didn’t see the previous column about my walking goal, what happened that allowed me to keep at my mile and a half goal and, actually increase it – was a hoot and a half! (The NY Cabaret critics used to say, “The show was a hoot and a half!”) I was in the park across the street from my apartment building and I was thinking, “Doo doo! I’ll never get 35 blocks in today! Then, in my head, I went over where I’d been that morning and realized I’d already walked 24 blocks!  Just like that!  It was so easy!  I screamed out “Wow! I’ve done more than ¾ Q already!” The moms in the park looked at me like I was out of my mind. However, for me it was a major awakening.

Aristotle was right. We are the sum of our daily habits. I discovered that for myself and, also, for many people I’ve coached. Having something to giggle about when doing daily “to do’s” make those tasks seem much easier.  Aristotle didn’t mention that “beating yourself up” for not doing something you’re supposed to do, doesn’t help develop the habit and that it’s better to laugh at yourself and forgive yourself for making a mistake. (Remember that mis-take is merely a take on something that isn’t correct.) Had I gone on beating myself up I probably would have given up on the whole “35 block routine”.

I soon found that lightening up – and at the same time making healthy commitments – worked for choosing foods too. I did a lot of research into which foods were most nourishing for me.  Then I learned not to say, “No no, Bobbie, you can’t have pie.” I learned to say, “Now Bobbie, you get to have that yummy plum and the cashew nuts that are so good for you. Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! You can have two tablespoons of soy ice cream too! Yay!”  I decided that every night I’d have a fiber cookie and some cashew nuts. They happen to be optimum for me, especially as I’m aging.  If you go to my site you’ll find recommendations of places to search for what foods would be optimum for you. We’re not all the same.  You can find my book, on the topic of getting and staying in shape from 50 years old on, listed on the site too. (The same principle holds for any age. I geared it to the older set because I speak that language and there are lots of us.)

My weight and health have remained “fab” for about eight years now – and – I’ve been discovering, that choosing to do what’s optimum for ME this works in every area of my life. When I’m choosing to do what’s optimum for my personality and talents, accomplishing my goals becomes much easier.  I look forward to writing this column every week and it’s becoming simpler and simpler. Writing is something I’m meant to do. It’s “good for me”. Doing the technology required to put a website together wouldn’t be prime use of my talents – so I don’t feel guilty about hiring someone to help me in this area.

I often speak of “UNLEARNING”. I’ve found that “unlearning” is what most of our learning needs to be about. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – once you learn what’s right for you it won’t take long to automatically choose those things. By making a few choices in your favor every day, before you’ve even aware of it, voila! You’re making positive choices.    Pat yourself gently and forgive all the people, most of them well meaning, who taught you wrong information. Forgive yourself when you slip up and commit to stop and choose correctly.  Forgiveness is a biggie.