Have you ever felt embarrassed to make a lifestyle change because you were unsure of how others might perceive you? You can never connect the dots of your life going forward, only backwards. We can take time and realize how one decision led into the next and so on often leading us to where we currently are.
On New Year’s Day 2007 after a long night of partying at my mom’s house in which we roasted a pig and properly tied one on, I woke up really hung over. I stumbled off the couch walked to the terrace and loudly proclaimed, “that’s it, I am never drinking again!” Not surprisingly everyone laughed off my New Year’s resolution.
I have never again drunk alcohol.
Interestingly enough when I stated that I would never drink again, I actually was joking. At the moment I had no intention to quit drinking. It was the response from my family and friends gathered there that morning that led me stop drinking. Did they not think that I could quit drinking? It was the reaction of those present that prompted me to show them that not only could I stop drinking, but that I would stop drinking.
I returned home that weekend full of determination to stop drinking! Now, I just needed a plan to put in place and carry out. I knew exactly what I needed, I would start exercising again. I, like so many others, had really let myself go after my time in the Marine Corps had finished. Years of bad food and good beer had caused me to ‘pack on the pounds’. Long gone was the lean frame of the Marine I once was. I was no longer the lean, mean, fighting machine my Drill Instructors had built out of my small civilian frame.
I started running every day, I joined a gym and I started “eating better”. I write eating better in quotes because I had no idea what eating better actually was. I was eating high processed carbs and protein with low fat. I had no idea that this was the exact opposite of what I actually should eat. Even with this misguided approach to food I still managed to get into better shape, simply because going from the couch to exercising every day seems to have that impact.
That was the first and most important dot in what would be the turning point of my life. Prior to that dot it had been more of the same decisions and the same results. That dot when looking backwards led to my trying to be healthier and fitter. I was fed up with being tired, hung over and lazy. I joined the gym and started running. The running led to my buying a triathlon bike and swimming with the masters team. I started doing triathlons because just lifting weights was boring. I met my wife at the pool in which I did my swim training.
What has been the decision that has changed the course of your life for the better? What life altering change will you put in place to make sure the next 15 years of your life and beyond are the best years of your life?