I’m Not Above Bribery

25 Apr

I don’t know if you do this also, but I bribe my kids occasionally to do stuff. Like yesterday, I told #3 I’d give her fifty cents if she’d pick up all the DVD and Wii game cases that #4 pulled off the shelf. After she finished, she decided to capitalize on the situation, found a Swiffer duster, and asked if she could dust, too. When she was about halfway through the dusting, she stopped and said, “How much are you going to pay me for dusting?” Because I didn’t want her to go on strike over salary negotiations and leave the job only partly done, I told her I’d give her a dollar for the whole thing. Problem solved.

But this post is about me. I’m in the middle of a bribe for myself. Some people would call this “rewarding yourself,” but it’s just a bribe to do something. As you may or may not know (or care, for that matter), I’m on the Weight Watchers program. I’ve been stuck at the same weight for about a year and I can’t get past it. I know what the problem is – food. I eat it. A lot. And not good-for-you stuff, either. My favorite snack over the last few years has been a big glop of creamy peanut butter with some chocolate chips mixed in. I always feel a little ill after I finish it, but that never seems to matter while I’m consuming it.

I “mostly” write down the stuff I eat and I “mostly” stay within my points range. Unfortunately for me, “mostly” doesn’t work. Back before #4 came along, I was losing weight like crazy. At least that’s how I remember it. I can honestly say that I was on a roll and had developed great habits. I also used to reward bribe myself along the way when I hit milestones. I’ve treated myself to pink hair, a new bottle of perfume, and some new Birkenstocks. I even gave myself diamonds once. But these days, nothing seems to inspire me. I needed a carrot on a stick to get this old donkey to behave again.

Back at the end of my spring break staycation, I met Hubs and the kiddos in Santa Fe at Kohl’s on their way home from his parents’ house. We got shoes for 3 kids, and then browsed a bit. I’ve been needing a new purse, so I keep my eyes open when I’m out shopping. That day, I struck gold. I found this:

It fit all my requirements, so I bought it. As you can see, the price tag is still attached. It sits on my jewelry box, a silent reminder of the task I’ve set before myself: write down everything I eat for 4 weeks. When I do that, I get to move in to the new purse. I’m on Week 3, Day 3. Twelve more days to go. I decided this was a more attainable task than something like “lose 5 pounds.” Who knows how long it would take me to do that? Actually, I think I’ve already done it, but since that’s not my goal for the purse, I’m not going to dwell on it.

I mentioned here that I crashed and burned on the Dietbet I was part of. Yeah – that was $50 I’ll never see again. Not only did I not reach the goal of 4% of body weight lost in 4 weeks, I didn’t lose anything. Not one ounce. My beginning and ending weights were exactly the same, down to the tenth of an ounce. That was even with a bout of stomach flu. Know how I soothed my bruised ego? With a glop of creamy peanut butter and chocolate chips. That really helped – until the stomach ache and self-loathing kicked in.

So – I need some ideas for my next bribe. How do you treat yourself?

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5 Responses to “I’m Not Above Bribery”

  1. Courtney Carson April 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I like manicures, pedicures and massages 🙂

  2. korbinreeves April 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    April,

    I think the answer you are looking for is in your post, but it requires a little different perspective. I call what you are experiencing the “rocking chair affect”. You seem to be making progress, but in reality where you end up doesn’t look much different than where you started.

    We all have repeating patterns of oscillation in our lives. Sometimes it can take years for us to end up right back at the same place we started. We even make some measurable superficial progress. So many times we believe it was just a lack of motivation or hard work that kept us from achieving our goals. Often we start the tape recording (the one we told ourselves a million times) of “it just wasn’t the right program”. In reality, it isn’t the motivation, hard work, or the program this isn’t working. We are simply following the path of least resistance.

    Think of it like this: the flow of a river is based on the contour of the river bed. They way we move within in a building is determined by where the walls and doors are placed. We are no different than the water flowing through the riverbed in that we follow the path of least resistance (glob of creamy peanut butter with chocolate chips).

    If we want to change the flow or path of least resistance for the river we would have to change the structure of the river bed (build a dam). The process is the same for our lives. To change the path of least resistance, we have to change the underlying structures in our lives. Why (if you read this far)? Because the underlying structures of our lives determine our behaviors which in turn determine our results. To change the results we have to change the underlying structure. That is why just trying to change behaviors doesn’t work long-term.

    Anytime we experience the “rocking chair affect” in our lives it means the underlying structures of our lives are oscillating structures. The weight loss industry’s success (not necessarily intentionally) is built upon this principle. Recurring customers. As long as the underlying structure is an oscillating structure, it doesn’t matter how hard, how motivated, which program, or which “bribes” we use. The experience will be one of coming full circle.

    The good news is that you can change the underlying structures in your life by using the creative process and structural tension. Robert Fritz is the pioneering expert in the field of structural thinking. I would highly recommend his book “The Path of Least Resistance”. It will help with the issue you described above and also be very helpful in your career as a writer. Probably not the feedback you were looking for, but in my work we have helped many people break the “rocking chair affect” by changing the underlying structures in their lives and businesses. God Bless! Korbin

    • That Nolen Chick April 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      Wow – definitely food for thought! Thanks for the input. I’ll check that book out.

      P.S. Missed you at the 20th last summer!

  3. Kristin April 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    A day at Ojo Caliente hot springs! 🙂

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