Thursday, July 23, 2009

Make just one decision

My son is a passionate baseball player. I'm certain he'll be the next Jorge Posada! We'll be the proud mama and papa sitting in the stands at Yankee Stadium some day.

I'm continually astonished that season after season Evan wants to get back out there and play again. The game is so brutal on a child's psyche. In this great American game, there are so many opportunities to fail... strike outs, errors, pass balls, wild pitches, humiliating losses in spring ball, fall ball and tournament ball.

At the beginning of his tournament season this year, Evan struggled at bat. He had never faced this frustration before. He tends to get on base most of the time, either with a single or a walk. As a batter, he's got great patience at the plate. He makes us nervous... we call him Full Count Kennedy.

But now he was striking out just about every game, and he was getting down on himself. We didn't seem able to help him, no matter how much time my husband had him out there taking pitches. What was going wrong?

I mentioned his struggle to his coaches and asked if someone could help him with his swing. One of the coaches said he knew what the problem was and how he could help. I was so relieved!

But, you know, it wasn't a mechanical fix the coach had in mind. No. He thought Evan's problem at the plate was mental. Here is what was going on in Evan's head. When he got to the plate, he'd be thinking: Should I swing or shouldn't I swing? Is it a strike or a ball? Should I let it go or go for it?

Instead, his coach said, Evan should go to the plate with just one thought: I'm going to swing. He should be ready to swing at every pitch. At the last second, if the pitch looks like a ball, just lay off it. Heading to the plate with just one thought in mind clears all the clutter and focuses the batter on one objective... to get a hit.

I've thought of that advice as I've been maintaining my 30-pound weight loss. Every morning, I get up with just one thought: I'm going to eat for my health today. Every other time I've tried to lose weight, I've always had this never-ending internal dialog: Should I eat this or shouldn't I? Can't I just have it this once and then tomorrow I'll start again? Why can't I have this when everybody else can? Maybe just this time.

So, to maintain my weight I've found the key is to clear the clutter in my head. Make my resolve to eat healthfully first thing in the morning. I can decide at the last second to allow myself a treat, but I make it a single, not a double or a triple. For me, that's a home run! (And, do you know what? Evan's hitting again, too!)

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