My step-father Irv used to take my mom, younger brother Jim, and me camping once or twice a year. These weren't my favorite trips. I would rather play sports with my friends and sleep in a comfortable bed than go on long hikes and sleep in a rain-soaked tent. Irv's commandment: "Leave the area cleaner than we found it" meant a final morning picking up trash from all over the campground. Those trips didn't instill a love of camping in me.
But I did love the campfires. Before lightening them, I prepared the kindling. Using a sharp ax, I'd chop wood picked up at construction sites into the thinnest pieces I could, set them upon some newspaper, top the pile off with logs we'd either brought or collected from around the campground, strike a match and light the paper. Once the kindling caught, the heat it generated would ignite the bigger logs and soon we'd be sitting around a roaring fire.
Sometimes after toasting marshmellows, with the fire down to embers, a neighbor might come by and we'd want to get the fire going again. In those cases, we literally "rekindled" the fire, starting over with the chopped kindling wood and stacking a couple of logs on top, allowing enough space for the air to work its magic.
What's this got to do with goals? We're past the half-way point in the year, and you may recall the 7 Samurai (or Magnificent 7) personal goals I articulated in February. I have kept the "little brainwashing calendar" as well as the process-related goals. But I was not making much progress on the weight-loss outcome goal (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 that were hindering my progress. "Choose one or two from that second list that you can–and that you will–change." That was the re-kindling I needed. When a medical check-up at the end of the month required a day of fasting, I remembered that 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!"
And it is. Just this morning, I hit the December 1 goal! I'm planning to go for more, encouraged by a friend and client who is about my height, and who once weighed as much as 92 kg, now a ripped 72.
This is about more than campfires or 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..."