Sometimes failure is just failure. You miss the mark by miles and move on. Sometimes, however, failure prompts a better effort.
Sometimes failure begets more failure … that then … eventually … forces a turnabout.
That last sentiment reflects how Week 6 of My Year of Micro Experiments went.
The goal of Week 6 was simple: No sodas.
Not for any days of the week. No cheat days allowed. Splurge days I call ’em. Makes it sound more like release than sin.
I made it 5 days. That weekend I went off program and didn’t come back. Which in this case was unacceptable.
I know me — Soda Me will take a splurge day and turn it into a splurge year.
So I re-upped for another week. At first I thought, What about at least 6 days in a row, maybe one splurgey day?
No no no, let’s go for 7 . . . see if you can give the crap up!
I used cokes as backup when I gave up Mountain Dew almost two years ago — because I don’t like it that much. But a couple days a week turned into many. For months on end. Not cool.
Especially when I began adding other sugary confections into the mix. Which added waistline. In a carb-heavy diet, girth happens.
More failure then abrupt success
This is the point in the Year of Micro Experiments where — at times — I embarked on two concurrent tweaks in the same week. Which later led to something similar though not identical: Running two overlapping experiments that started on different days.
You get one running and then add another. When timeframes and context were different, this went smoothly.
For example: One micro change in the morning, another in the evening.
Or, one at work, one for home.
The second week repeating the No Soda micro experiment I failed even worser. It was 3 or 4 days of sodas.
I went for it again — the third week of the same micro experiment.
This time it was laughable. I made it a day. I think. I was no longer recording successes or failure. After that I sloshed in sodas. I was awash in soda. I glugged sodas like they were the answer to all my problems.
November was coming and my brain — always looking for the easy out — decided October 31st would be the ideal time to have the last soda and then go on a soda detox for the remainder of the year.
October 31st, which was, what?, a week and more away. Whoa, it was Coca Cola gluttony.
Never have you seen a man puff out so quickly. I drank up to 3 a day!
It was gross. The Bloat took over my torso. Others took to calling me Puff Daddy. So I imagined. I could see thought bubbles circling people’s heads.
Then . . . wild unfettered triumph
November 1st rolled around . . . and I quit. (!) Cold turkey. I’m writing this almost six weeks later and still not one drop of soda has touched my pure lips.
So — failure upon failure upon failure. How did I turn it around?
I’d like to say it was two-fold:
1. Glorious excess
. . . leading to feeling gross beyond measure
Then . . .
2. A vision of who I could be in the New Year
The low followed by this resplendent vision of myself lean and nimble again, leaping over daffodils, dragonflies darting in halos about me, hair flowing in the wind —
I always have hair in my idealized version of myself — in the same way as we age we still feel twenty — or thirty — or whatever magical age number we were when we were in our prime.
November 1st rolled around and that was it. I was resolute. I suddenly identified with 2019 Me more than 2018 Summer And Fall Me.
The moral of this story?
Don’t stop. Don’t stop quitting something you ought to quit. One of those times will stick.
Also — when especially grossed out about your smoking habit, your unflossed teeth, your pimply fast-food-fed skin, your sloth, your downward spiral, your anything — when sufficiently disgusted by your current self, tap into Near Future You, who you are/will be when you’re in optimal mode.
Let Near Future You draw you forward … Unacceptable You will recede into the rear-view mirror.