Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If-then thinking... It works!

Been quilting up a storm... made 105 blocks in past two weeks, which will become two throw-sized quilts in the near future. Plus I'm hand quilting a big reproduction bed quilt. And I'm back to my beading. Ergo... not so much time for blogging.

But tonight I just had to get a concept that's been working for me into words.

End of Dec. I wrote a post about some thoughts/wishes for the year ahead (here). One of them was:
I might want to be kind to my body
daily arm toning
daily clam shells to strengthen hips
I distinctly recall thinking, "fat chance... might want, but won't do." Plus in the week of snow and ice that followed, I wasn't even walking. No exercise at all on most days. Not so good.... What can a gal who doesn't like exercise do about this?

Well, help comes from unexpected places. Open the January issue of the Costco members' magazine (the one you automatically get as a member and probably recycle unread most months) to page 29. It's an article about Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals.

Here's the part that grabbed me and changed my response to exercise, hopefully forever!
Halvorson says...one solution is to use "if-then" planning, and explains how she used it to conquer her own struggles with losing her "baby weight."

Halvorson says she hates to exercise and "will hate it forever." In the past she would promise herself to work out three times a week, but kept putting it off.

Finally, she says, "I came to terms with the fact that my willpower was not going to be up to the task of keeping me from impulsively eating or making good decisions. So I started using if-then plans. If it is Monday, Wednesday or Friday at 9 o'clock, then I'm going to work out. If I'm hungry, then I'm going to have a vegetable. And it was remarkable." (She's lost 50 pounds in a year.)
If-then! Why not, I thought. If I'm making my morning coffee, then I'm also doing my arm toning exercises. If I'm watching TV, then I'm also doing my toe/arch exercises. So far, it's working like a charm... almost effortlessly. I make coffee and I do the arm things. Takes 15 minutes. When I'm finished, I mark an A on my calendar. Missed only one day since I started two weeks ago. Makes me want to buy Heidi's book....

Now I need an "if" to go with "then I'll do 12 clam shell exercises on each side." Maybe I could try, "if I'm headed to the computer room to check email, then I'll lay on the bed and do clamshells on the way." OK, good idea. I'll give it a try. (Read more about if-then planning here.)

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Today's gratitude: Heidi Grant Halvorson, fabric and beads, tasty dinner in good company of my husband at Jimmy's Paradise Cafe, Lunnette and Christy, the sound of a fully contented purrrrr, gentle rains, Muddy Waters, Johnny Lee Hooker.


  1. I have to confess, I never read through the CostCo magazine. It's always chock full of great bargains on things we don't want and would never use. But maybe the January one is still somewhere on the kitchen table...

    "If - then" sounds like a very good idea, and one I will try out. Thanks!

  2. You've written before about changing your thinking or how you word something. I am always amazed at the difference it seems to make. I may have to try some if/thens.

    Pleased to hear that you are being creative and look forward to seeing some beads on the other blog :-)

  3. Oh thanks for the reminder about if then and I TOO LOVE Blues music!

  4. Funny how inspiration can come from the most unexpected places.

  5. Ha ha, I'm a Costco member and didn't know we were even supposed to GET a magazine.

    I went and read that article on IF-THEN. It was excellent! I knew about phrasing goals in the positive, but had never heard of the simple IF-THEN approach. And I love the simple approach.

    If I have a goal on my checklist that I'm struggling with, then I will laughingly remember your post, and it will help me do it cheerfully!


  6. Good for you! It doesn't matter whether we want to or not, we just have to do it as surely as we have to breathe.


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