Anytime a person decides to make a lifestyle change, people have a lot of questions. Why are you doing this? What are you doing differently? How long do you plan on sticking with it? Those are just a few of the questions that we are inclined to ask. Prior to the holidays I was given a little boost to make some changes myself. The changes for me are in the way I eat and the frequency of exercising. Over the course of several weeks people have begun asking some of these questions. I understand why people ask, but I don’t often answer their questions the way they would prefer. For instance, some have asked me how much weight I have lost. My answer will be the same each time, “enough that I am feeling better than I have felt in a long time”. For some that answer is good enough. For others, there is typically a look of disappointment that I did not divulge the numbers. There are three reasons that I don’t tell people how much I have lost. 1. It’s none of their business. 2. It’s irrelevant. 3. It’s none of their business. Oh and there is a fourth. I don’t say it because it encourages the final question, which annoys the hell out of me. “What is your goal?” That to me, is the same thing as saying, “I know you have lost some weight, but I’m hoping that you are planning to lose more because you’re still too fat”. What is my goal? My goal is that people would not ask at all, but that they would tell. Simply telling someone that you have noticed a positive change is downright motivational. A compliment will give anyone a spring in their step, when it’s given in sincerity.
Tell a marathon runner at the three mile mark that they have 23.2 miles to go and you might see their middle finger salute. Tell that same runner at the same place, I’m proud of you or you can do this, and you have given them what the need to go on for the next three miles and the next three miles until they reach the finish line with success.
Several years ago I received a call from a woman who had not visited with for a quite some time. She had been “thinking” of me and wanted to know if I would join her for dinner. I was really looking forward to it. My life had taken a downward direction for a time and things were starting to look up, so I accepted the invitation thinking that this would be a nice visit reminiscing about the good old days. I thought it was going to be a pleasant “catch up” conversation. Instead I felt like a criminal being interviewed by Barbara Walters for broadcast to the world. I was getting more uncomfortable by the minute and finally I snapped. I looked across the table and said, “If you are attempting to learn if the things you heard about me the past few years are true, then what you need to know is that they are true. What you also need to know is that my life is different today than it was then.” She had very little to say after that and really I gave her no opportunity for defense or explanation. The next words spoken were to the waitress by me, “may I have both checks please?”
Because of this experience and many others I too am learning that sometimes telling someone that their positive changes are noticeable is far better than asking awkward questions.
Those are my thoughts……Yours?