Goodbye Figment, Hello Today!

Meet Figment.

He is always stealing the things you really need to do… exercise, open that stack of mail, clean that cluttered corner, call that worried parent, spend time with that troubled teen, work on a better lesson plan.

Figment loves to take the important things you need to do and leave you with the urgent. He would love to visit with your sick Mom or write an e-mail to your old college buddy who has cancer and he'll certainly take it off your hands.

Figment is full of promises and plans and will be more than happy to plan your summer vacation for you. Figment is also a great blogger and will be happy to write that post for you… tomorrow.

Meet Today.
This is Today. He struggles. He never has quite enough time to do it all, but he can do something. He ticks a few special things off of his list. He struggles with interruptions and he lives very in the now.

Who is Figment?

You see, Figment is just that, a figment of your imagination. He represents all of the “I'll start that tomorrow”‘s in your life. He is life's perpetual excuse. He does not deny his ability to complete a task, he just puts it off until tomorrow…and the next day…and the next.

If you allow Figment to steal the most important things in your life, you will never do them.

How Figment can kill you.

When my daughter had her tonsils removed I was waiting in the surgery waiting room and shared the most heart breaking story with those waiting next to me.

A doctor came out and told this family after four hours of heart surgery that he had bought another chance for their heart attack patient (their father and husband) with four clogged arteries. He told them that if this man continued to smoke and eat unhealthy foods that he was signing his own death sentence.

The doctor then explained that he could not be expected to be a mechanic and “fix him up” every time his arteries became clogged and that at some point he was going to have a problem when the Doc wasn't there. Doc said the only thing that would save this man was a total lifestyle change.

The family was happy that their father and husband made it but talked in hushed whispers about this man's Figment plans over the last twenty years to begin exercizing and eating right.

You see, this man let Figment steal his life.

I will not allow Figment to steal my life!

I am a recovering Food-a-holic. I am a Southern USA woman and I love to cook. I'm pretty good at it (even if I say so myself) and love to eat the product of my labors too! Mmmm give me a covered dish supper and a reinforced Chinet plate!

Two years a go I changed my lifestyle and over the last two years I have lost almost fifty pounds. My husband has lost around sixty. (See my post How to Be Better at Everything You Do.)

Each May, I struggle. May 2005 I gained 10 lbs, this May I held it to five.

I have to stay healthy! I have made up my mind and I am NOT going back to my formerly sedentary ways!

I feel better, stronger, think more clearly, and commune with God more closely when I am pushing my body to move faster and try harder. I can again shoot hoops with my children, throw the football with my son, and run and play. This past spring I walked up around 800 steps to go to the top of a beautiful water fall in North Georgia.

The benefits I have gotten have greatly overcome the “missed” food. In fact, I haven't really “missed” the food, I still eat a lot of what I want. I can have a slice of chocolate cake… just not the whole cake!

Stealing exercise from Figment and putting it in today!

I've fallen out of the exercise habit over the last four weeks but this morning, I got up at 6:15 and thought about my Figment, “tomorrow I will exercise.”

I then decided, “You know what, I will exercise tomorrow but it will start Today!”

So, here I am after the hardest run I've made in the past year. I've lost a lot of speed and endurance, but you know what, I ran!

I have moved my most important thing from a Figment of my imagination to today! As I sweat over this keyboard, I feel like the winner that I am! I did something important! There are few adrenaline rushes like it in the world than that of overcoming internal obstacles to change!

For when something is a Figment, you are saying, “This is not important enough for me to do right now” or “I will not do this now. I don't want to!”

So, I'm challenging you today to put aside your excuses and take the most important thing you've left to Figment and snatch it back into Today!

When you do it — tell others and encourage them! (There are too many people saying we can't do it, we need more cheerleaders out there!)

Don't let Figment live the life you could have had!

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4 thoughts on “Goodbye Figment, Hello Today!

  1. Go, Vicki, go! I like the way you characterize Today and the imaginary Tomorrow. I’ve been on my bicycle 1-2 hours each day the past two weeks (as much as my sore butt will allow) and measuring my food intake carefully. Maybe I’ll reverse a trend that has bothered me for the last 20 years. Taking control of our own lives requires constant vigilance. It’s hard work, but the rewards are immense. Thanks for sharing your insight. I’ll keep it in mind when my resolve starts to waver.

  2. I love how you write!!

    After I do my morning Bible Study, I log onto my computer and hope you have a new posting!!!

    Thank you for what you share. I, have just started a diet regiment and hope to stick on it this time. Your blogging today will help keep me on track.

    Thank you again — you do write so well!!!

  3. Ooh, Vicki, this is a goodie! I am well acquainted with Figment, but have managed to (more or less) keep him at arm’s length for the past couple of years. Just this weekend, I ran the Race for Life (I think you call it Race for the Cure in the States) for the third year in a row. Check out my reflections on it – complete with photos: http://romeisfamily.blogspot.com/2006/06/race-for-life-2006.html

    I have been in my current job for nearly a year now, and have not been able to cycle to work as I did before, because it’s too far (21 miles each way, as opposed to 3 in my last job). As a result, I have seen the weight begin to creep back on. You have renewed my determination to do something about that.

    One of the reasons I lost weight, got fit and started paying attention to my grooming in the first place was that I realised I needed to be a good steward of my body and appearance. This is not a dress rehearsal. This is life. It’s so fleeting and we don’t get another shot at it.

    When I was running on Saturday afternoon in the heat, facing a huge hill right at the end of the race, I thought, I can’t do this. Then I thought, could I do it for 6 minutes? Yes. And 6 minutes was all I needed to reach the finish.

    Tonight, when I go to my Masters’ swimmers training, I’ll be a few lengths into my warm-up and I’ll think, no way. I can’t do this. Then I’ll think: could I do it for an hour? That way, I’ll grab hold of Today and keep Figment at bay, ensuring that my family gets the healthiest, endorphinest (yeah, I know it’s not a word, but it should be!) me possible.

  4. Jen-
    You encourage me! I need it. I was watching my eating and everything on Friday and I ran and gained 3 lbs. I often do that as I build muscle quickly. Hello today!

    Doug –
    Keep on going! Do not quit! That is great! My husband LOVES to bike but he has a hard time finding a place in a town that doesn’t really understand bicycling.

    Karyn –
    You have always amazed me ever since I “met” you on the INternet. Wow! I too ask myself those questions. I think the lessons we learn in the microcosm of the moment in exercise transfer so very well into macrocosm of our life!

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