I'm participating in a health-care challenge for the next 10 weeks. I'll probably write more about it later because I'm learning a lot through the process. But today ...
One thing I'm learning is the value of "slow and steady."
I'm counting calories, eating within my limits, and exercising more often. But this isn't some kind of crash diet. It's just building healthy rhythms and practices into my life and schedule.
And this means the "results" are slow.
Over the last 3 weeks, I've lost 4 pounds. That's a lot for some people, but not for me. I could lose 20 times that and still get scolded by my doctor for being over the healthy range for my height.
I'm tempted every day to get frustrated and give up.
I'm tempted every day to take an unhealthy, quicker route to weight-loss.
But "slow and steady" has several perks ...
1) It's sustainable
I did a lot of crash-diet things when I was trying to be an athlete in high school and had to make weight for a team. I'd lose weight and gain it right back. I couldn't live the rest of my life on bacon and grapefruit, so I couldn't keep my weight loss.
For long-term objectives that you want to hang on to, the slow and steady approach moves you toward your destination with the resources to keep you there.
2) It's healthy
Rapid weight-loss taxes my body. My body doesn't understand what's going on. It thinks there's a famine. It kicks and screams and fights, thinking it's protecting my life.
Slow and steady - whether in something like weight loss or organizational growth - gives the rest of the system time to catch up with the changes that are being made. If the overall goal is health, slow and steady has to occasionally be the route.
3) It's humble
A few days ago I found my summer weight-loss plan. It was super-ambitious and went down in flames. It over-estimated both my willpower and my physical/emotional resources. Some schedule challenges and some injuries and the whole thing collapsed.
Humility is - at it's core - a willingness to be honest about ourselves. Who am I really? What am I really capable of? What can I do and what is beyond me? Honest answers to these questions often place us on the "slow and steady" route. We just lack the resources to sprint the distance.
And that's okay.