The ones where the house is falling in and needs a new roof…where the family has been living in a shambles with electrical that doesn’t work and plumbing that’s shot. And then, with the Goliath help of a thousand man crew…the house is rebuilt from the foundation up in 7 days and every single room looks like Ty Pennington personally handled every detail…from the faucets to the throw pillows to the appliances to the perfectly positioned tulips on the lawn. And the family gets treated to an all expenses 7-day vacation in paradise, conveniently removed from all the mess and dust and frustration.
Or there’s the style shows. The one where Stacy and Clinton hand a $5,000 Visa card to a deserving woman who is frumpily stuck in the 80’s and in two whirlwind days she shops til she drops and ends up looking like Cinderella at the ball. She gets styled and coiffed and pitches the clothes that’ve been holding her back from the life of her dreams.
You can do it with weight too. Chris Powell, host of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition chooses a morbidly obese person to cajole, coach, cry with, train and coddle over the course of a year…usually resulting in at least a 100 pound weight loss. Then, Wal-Mart hands over a $50,000 gift card as a reward.
Life isn’t like this.
You don’t get a new house in a week.
You don’t makeover your closet or your personal style in two days.
And most of us don’t need to lose 100 pounds and certainly couldn’t do it in a year without Chris’ help.
Life is, well, much harder than they make it look.
We don’t have sponsors or TV production crews. We have to go to work and raise kids and squeeze eating and living in around all of it. It’s impossible to have a single focus like these shows make it seem. All magically wrapped up in a 60-minute vinette.
But what you do have to know is what direction you’re going. What do you want to do with your life? What does it look like now? What do you want it to look like after?
Ty isn’t standing in front of your house yelling ‘move that bus.’
Wal-Mart isn’t handing over any gift cards.
No one is doing your hair and make up. Heck, I even ran out of hair product this morning and no one rushed over a replacement.
Life is messy.
It took me 6 years of dating my husband before we said “I Do” (we’ve been married 31).
It took me 7 years to figure out that the chaos full-time work made for my family with 3 small children wasn’t worth it.
It took me 25 years to finish raising my three awesome kids…all the way fretting over what parts I was screwing up.
It took me almost a decade of writing before I considered myself ‘good enough’ to publish.
Good things usually take time. More than we want to give. More than we think we have.
We believe we’re going backward if we don’t see instant results. Just because you can drive through McDonalds and get dinner in less than 10 minutes doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good dinner.
Good things usually need to simmer.
The before and after shows still have things to teach us. They have a plan we can follow.
• You have to know what you’re starting with. (The benchmark)
• You have to know where you want to go. (The journey)
• You have to know what success means to you. (The destination)
• You have to know what resources you might need along the way. (The tools)
• You have to know whose on the team and who isn’t. (The team)
When you know these key things, life seems simpler. You feel more content. You can stop wondering and worrying and overprocessing and obsessing. You can simply get to work. You’re on the path. Your path.
I’m suggesting you complete an Extreme Life Makeover. Your life is worth it. It’s a magical mosaic of a million tiny pieces…all coming together to form your days that in turn form your life.
Write down what your life before looks like. Every single detail. All the parts. Your health. Your money. Your friends. Your work. Your relationships. Your spirituality. Your house. And the list goes on.
Then, write (or draw) what you want all the parts to look like. Where do you want to live? How much do you want to make? Who do you want to love? What or who do you need to let go? What kind of car do you drive?
Life makeovers are tough because unlike television, you can’t stop everything else and focus on one area. Life is swirling and it never stops.
Tomorrow marks my one-year fitness anniversary. I’m 51 and this is the first time that I’ve spent any concentrated or long-term effort on my health. This time last year I weighed 207.4 pounds. Today I weigh 181.2. Total weight loss = 26.2 pounds. I did two simple things…I joined Weight Watchers and I walked 2 miles a day, 6 days a week.
I wanted to lose 47 pounds. I barely lost half of that.
Did I fail? No.
I’d give myself a C- at Weight Watchers. I didn’t track. I didn’t eat Power Foods or drink a ton of water. I did attend the 30 minute weekly meeting and I did weigh in.
I’d give myself an A- at walking. I walked 6 days a week regardless of everything else that was going on. Sometimes I got up early. Sometimes I had to walk on vacation. But I did walk.
Were there other benefits of this fitness makeover? Definitely. My mind is stronger. My body is stronger. My clothes are smaller. My energy is higher (even though most would say that my trademark energy was already off the charts). My blood pressure is insanely good.
One decision moved me in the right direction. One decision and daily perseverance. Before, I was fat. After, I’m healthy. And happy with how walking makes me feel.
This is the formula to use. A decision and daily action steps. Steps that will take you to the life of your dreams.
Don’t worry that Ty Pennington or Stacy and Clinton or Chris Powell aren’t going to show up in your life. You’re not going to win the lottery. Sadly, Santa isn’t real.
You have the power to change. It’s in you. You possess everything you need to produce your own before and after life makeover.
You can create your own amazing life. Step by step.