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Week 17: Day 114
Health Strategy: Record of Imperfect Performance
April 24, 2005


If you used McCay's question (see yesterday's strategy), then you were probably surprised at how few things you really "have to" do. You also probably found that many of the items on your "should do" list seemed (on later inspection) to be inconsequential. If you seem too pressed for time to exercise, you may want to go back to yesterday's "Health Principle" and review the method suggested by McCay (the book and his methods do still earn much respect from the time management gurus 45 years after first publication).

Just another reminder: no one does it perfectly. "It" can be anything you want to make it. But, specifically in relation to health practices, no one does it perfectly. It's the continual, repeated, daily resolve that gains momentum (not the repeated, daily, perfect performance).

By resolving to look daily at what's really important, some of my patients consistently find time for good health practices. The people I've seen turn their health around, do so not by suddenly finding more will power. They seem to make quantum leaps in fitness and health by deciding to look daily at something different-to make new resolutions that take them where they want to go and to look carefully at progress toward those resolutions even when performance is not good.

This is where records become helpful. Great coaches keep records, great athletes keep records, successful businesses keep records, and my most healthy patients and most successful weight loss patients keep records. If you want anything to improve, the simple act of keeping a record will improve performance.

We talked about records in an earlier discussions, the point today is to keep the record and look at progress even if the performance is less than desired.

Make the record an encouragement by only keeping records of the good things you do. I don't promote recording everything you eat because you're not going to find record keeping encouraging when you must write down the unhealthy thing you eat. But if you record every time you eat a piece of fruit or every time you walk a mile, the process becomes a small reward for doing something healthy. Ever written something down on your do list just so you could then mark it off as accomplished? Recording only success encourages both the healthy behavior and the record keeping-making a positive feedback loop that leads to better performance and improved health.

The way to start the process is to start keeping a simple record of the accomplishment of one or two healthy behaviors (which is why I add a spot for keeping this record at the end of each day's health principle). For the most power in the technique, choose one or two behaviors

Read on...

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