“Planning is the active component of beginning with the end in mind. It is the first creation in your mind before physical creation. A goal is the end point and the plan explains how to get there. To be certain you can achieve your goals, break them down into manageable tasks with realistic deadlines. The goal inspires you, but the deadline motivates you.” ~ Steven R. Covey

This quote about planning was one I received in an e-mail today. I am in the process of a major life transformation, and boy, did this statement hit me right between the eyes. Countless times I have set goals to make changes in my life, but the only ones that were achieved were those with deadlines.

A notable “success story” was my weight loss in 2004-05, which was primarily motivated by my vacation trip to Hawaii. Since I knew I’d be in a swimsuit, and I wanted those beach photos to be display-worthy! Eight months before the vacation trip, I joined Weight Watchers. And it worked wonderfully. I lost 30 pounds prior to our trip, and afterward I continued to shed weight until I reached my goal. A year later, I fell in love, and darn-it-all if that weight didn’t find me again!

After the relationship ended, and quite painfully for my part, some of the weight practically fell off as I slipped into an ugly depression. Grasping at whatever positive things I could find around me, I made a conscious decision to continue the weight loss following the WW principles I had learned. It helped that my stomach had shrunk considerably with the loss of appetite (that ran away with my joie de vive), but eventually the appetite did return (though Joy remained conspicuously absent). And so I began a concerted effort to lose more of the excess weight through food choices.

Here we are a year later, and I’m still about 15 pounds from my goal weight. I’m enjoying my reflection in the mirror more, though there are still trouble spots that I’d like to improve. And as I’m inching into my mid-forties, the reality is that shedding pounds through calorie counting isn’t going to be all I need to do to get me where I want to be. Any view of me in a tank top and shorts is proof enough of that fact! Nope, it’s time now for me to get my muscle tone back following a decade-long sabbatical. While the goal is clear enough, as Mr. Covey so eloquently pointed out to me this morning, a deadline is what motivates. Well, my 25th high school reunion is fifteen weeks away. And three weeks before that, I will be cruising to The Bahamas. So there are two notable events which I would love to commemorate with some fabulous photos of me. And so the clock starts ticking.

Oh, and I have already knit a shawl to wear on the cruise (cleverly created from a colorway of yarn named Caribeno). And I now have a shawl pattern called “After Hours” which will be a prime candidate for the reunion. No other wardrobe decisions have been made at this point, but I sincerely intend to be a leaner version of myself when it’s time to make those choices!

Knit On.