The picture above shows part of our whole house renovation we completed a little over a year ago. I share this because it is a testament to what happens when you hold a vision, and go step by step. First it began with me designing the thing. Mapping out how I wanted to use the space, carefully drawing it out on a program and making a plan. When I first started designing it, the dream seemed very far away. Plus I’d never actually designed a whole house before. But I found a design program, and started mapping it out.
Our 1835 farmhouse needed a whole house renovation, but we had other priorities like sending my daughter off to college, and figuring out how to put together the money. Then there’s what’s behind the ancient walls, the fear we’d get sucked into a money pit. It started with thoughts, and concerns. But as I began to draw, to envision, I pushed the fears away. It was a scary proposition, but like almost every big wonderful thing that has happened for me in my life, I had to focus on the goal, not the fear.
I thought about each and every detail, pinning away on Pinterest, looking at cabinets, tile, countertops, home improvement shows. I researched contractors, plumbers and electricians. I got smart about appliances, how I would make each part of the house flow, focusing on trouble areas and persisting in drawing and re-drawing until it finally felt like it worked. When we did pull the trigger, I had to stay focused on one step at time or I’d end up completely overwhelmed. We moved out for five months. In order to complete 2 floors, add a 4th bedroom and move lots of walls, all within that timeframe, the project needed my attention every single day. I was working full time, but still made it important to get to the house everyday. There was a goal, and we had laid out all the steps and hired the crew. One day at a time.
When I look at this transformation, it is a very powerful reminder of what can happen with persistence. There was too much riding on this to go unconscious, or stop caring. We had a mission. Once demolition started, there was no going back.
I’m 2.5 pounds down in my first week coming back to consciousness with a “renovation” that got way off track, and another ½ this current week, mostly due to a few nights of a “little snack” and staying up too late. And with that, yes, the self-recrimination and the usual demons swirl. I’m so tired of it, I hesitate even writing about it. But writing is what brought me back. I’ve begun journaling every day. I’ve begun looking at the vision board again, reminding myself how good I feel when I’m operating in line with my vision. Just like the house, I had a really solid plan for how I would tackle weight loss. But I didn’t stay the course. When I was getting close to the finish line, I stopped focusing. I stopped making it important each and every day.
I’m coming back out of the fog, and it’s a hard reality check. The metaphor of the house quite literally hits home. It’s as though I started the work on my weight loss and left the walls and roof off. I abandoned this building.
The temptation to beat myself up is strong. If I can renovate a whole house in five months, why can’t I approach the weight loss in the same way I approach other big goals? I wish I could report that it only took a year and bam, I’m size 8 and all is well. This rehab is taking longer. I think about what the lessons are. And here is what I’ve come up with so far…
- Journaling every day keeps my brain and my behavior in check. It doesn’t matter what I write. Just write. Look at the vision board. Keep visualizing the end game.
- Stay on top of the numbers. I had a strict budget for the house, and there was no room for letting the numbers creep up. I stay connected with the numbers on the scale, with weighing my food.
- There is nothing more important than keeping my word to myself. I stick with the plan. Because I said so. Nothing and no one is more important than keeping my promise to me. Nothing.
- I need support–I couldn’t make over my house alone, and I can’t rehab this body alone. I get support by putting it out there in a safe space.
- There will always be stressors. Life will get hectic, things will annoy me, people might disrespect or hurt my feelings. None of that is worth sabotaging #3.
- I celebrate the small wins. Even in the darkest moments, there are things I can find that I am grateful for.
I am grateful for knowing what to do and certain this plan works when I work it. It is not only possible to reach my goal, it is inevitable when I trust the process and work the plan consistently.
Whenever doubt enters my mind, I look at the space around me.
It started with a thought…
And became a plan…
In five months it was a wonderful reality. Whenever I doubt what is possible, I only need to look around, stand in gratitude, and know transformation is possible if I take the steps, stay on course, and remain persistent in reaching this goal.