Let's Play Some Ball!!

OK~What's the next health goal you're working toward?  Lowering your blood glucose or cholesterol a bit?  Losing a couple of pounds or becoming more active?  Whatever it is, make it a tiny goal, and write it down somewhere you'll see it often this week. This is the goal you'll focus on just for now: one step at a time...or maybe one game at a time?

When you're working toward a health goal it's a lot like playing a game of basketball.  To win the game, you need to score the most points by sinking the most shots through the basket. But, the other team doesn't just stand out of the way and let you shoot.  Nope.  They do everything in their power to STOP you from getting that ball through the hoop--- they play tough defense because they want to win.  It's a game of strategy, strength, endurance and skill...and it takes drive, determination and perseverance to win.  And so it is with our health goals.

Let's say your mini health goal is to lose 2 pounds. Strategy sets the stage first:
  • Identify the 5 players on defense you are up against.  Maybe it's the Easter candy that keeps calling your name, leftover cheesy potatoes, your preference to curl up on the sofa after work instead of going for a walk, emotional eating, and no time to shop for healthy foods.
  • Defensive game plan.  You can bet that both Duke and Butler knew exactly what they were up against coming into the NCAA final game last night.  They reviewed films, watched games, and knew the strengths and weaknesses of each player on the opposing team.  The coaches created many plays for their game plan against that team based on the info they had.  In the game, if one play didn't work, they went to another.  For us, we have to find a way to silence the voices of the defensive player who keeps taunting us with the sale prices of Easter candy and telling us to stock up. Find ways to get around the defense and score:  go for walk, shop for fresh veggies! 
  • Offensive game plan. Create a way you can achieve your health goals easier. Offense is action. Purge your home and work environment of foods that have seductive voices and bring in healthier food choices. Put your sneakers on as soon as you come home from work so you won't be tempted to lie down on the sofa, and schedule a regular walking date with a friend to walk and talk about everything that is bugging you....great therapy with a little exercise on the side!  Whatever it is, just start with actions for your game plan---plays to run.  If they work, keep doing them.  If they don't, figure out another play, and run a new one! 
  • Momentum.  Just like in a ball game, when you score the basket, you get fired up, and the crowd gets into the game with you.  When you are successful doing something positive toward your goal, you feel good about yourself and the momentum starts leading you to more success....pretty cool, huh? Success breeds success.
  • Practice.  Once you've got your plays down, you have to keep them sharp.  You can bet Butler and Duke had plenty of mental and physical practice getting to where they did in the NCAA championship game.  We need to practice our skills in scheduling exercise, shopping for healthy foods...it all takes practice! The more you practice, the stronger you become, and the easier these new behaviors will be.
I'm just trying to get you to look at your "getting healthier" goal a little differently.  Your pursuit of this goal is a game, or rather a series of games in an entire season.  There is no failure, only feedback.  If you miss a basket, figure out why, and try again.

Geno Auriemma, the coach of the amazing UConn Women's basketball team said, " I've seen teams, when they're winning, they know they're going to win and want to win.  When they're losing, they accept losing: 'O.K., it's not our day today, I'll get it tomorrow.'  My guys refuse to accept that under any circumstances." We need this same winning attitude.

Practice, strategy, strength, endurance and skill...and it takes drive, determination and perseverance to win.  And so it is with our health goals...

Stay focused!  Fire up, you can do it!