My step-father used to take us (Mom, brother Jim, and me) camping once or twice a year, sometimes more. These weren't my favorite trips. I would rather play sports with my friends and sleep in a comfortable bed rather than in a rain-soaked tent. And Irv's commandment: "leave the area cleaner than we found it" meant at least a final morning we'd be picking up trash from all over the campground. So these trips didn't instill in me any love of camping.
But I did love the campfires. And before lightening them, I was tasked with chopping the kindling wood, which actually was pretty fun. Using a real Ax (unlikely the metaphorical Andrew's Ax you're reading), I'd chop wood picked up at construction sites (was that legal?) into the thinnest pieces I could, set them upon some balled-up newspaper sheets, top the pile off with logs we'd either brought or collected from around the campground, and start the fire. Once the kindling caught, the heat it generated would get the bigger logs started and soon we'd have a roaring fire.
Sometimes after the marshmellows were roasted, and the fire down to embers, some neighbor camper might come by and we'd want to get the fire going again. In those cases, we literally "re-kindled" the fire: you had to start over with some of the small, chopped kindling wood and then stack a couple of logs on, allowing enough space for the air to work its magic.
What's all this got to do with hitting goals, you ask? A quick review. We're just past the half-way point in the year, and you may or may not recall the 7 Samurai (or Magnificent 7) personal goals I articulated for the year back in February. I have kept with the "little brainwashing calendar" as well as the process-related goals. But I was not making much progress on the weight loss outcome goal (in order to weigh 75 Kg on December 1, I needed to lose 7 kg). And here it was, mid-May, and I had lost less than 2 kg. That's when a true "rekindling" took place.
I met with a personal trainer who suggested I write down all the things I was currently doing to help me reach my goal, and then write down all the things I was doing (or not doing) that was hurting my progress. "Then just choose one or two of the things off that second list that you can–and that you will–change." That was the re-kindling needed. And when a medical check-up at the end of the month required a day of fasting, I remembered how an empty stomach is not a sign of lack of nutrition, and I convinced myself to experience that feeling the same way I experience muscles working at the gym, and say to myself, "It's good for you!"
It really is. Two months and 3.5 more kg down, the December 1 goal is only a kg away, so I'm planning to go for a bit more, encouraged by a friend and client who is about my height, just a few years younger than I, who once weighed as much as 92 kg and now is a ripped 72.
Now this is about more than campfires and weight loss. Whatever it is that we want to improve requires change. Not all change is improvement, but all improvement is change. And like that old campfire song says, "It only takes a spark to get a fire going..."