Oatmeal Changes Everything

cereal-oatmeal1I have a big announcement. I ate oatmeal today. I’m going to eat oatmeal again next week. KaPow!

I bet you didn’t see that coming. How could you really? It came out of nowhere and well, it’s not like anyone expected it.

Small Changes, Big Results

I’m really not joking about the oatmeal. I did have a bowl today, but here is why that is important.

I usually have the exact same breakfast everyday. Two Eggs, Ham, Toast with a little cream cheese, and coffee. Nothing much to report there either except that I have it EVERY SINGLE DAY without fail. I don’t wake up and wonder what I will eat. I know. I know where everything is. I cook it and I’m done.

Mixing up a habit or a ritual like that takes a bit of effort usually. Sometimes in our enthusiasm to change, we go too big, too soon. We make grand statements about how we are suddenly going to blog every day, exercise every day, switch our diets entirely. For me, making grand claims like making a wholesale switch or do anything every day from now on, is usually a recipe for failure. Success comes when I make small, but critical adjustments.

Failing isn’t a bad thing, but feeling like a failure has never been motivating for me. Big sudden changes and declarations have caused some unnecessary failures. Don’t get me wrong, the goals can (and I think should) be big. But the steps along the way don’t always need to be.

Success builds upon itself. As we see evidence of what we are capable of, we start to discover that more is possible. In order to make even the small changes, though. I’ve learned a critical component for helping me to gain those small wins more consistently.

Decide and Prepare

Given that my morning breakfast ritual was already pretty well engrained, I had to make a decision and set some rules well before. My first decision was choosing two specific days, Tuesday and Thursday when I would change what I was having. Second, I had to choose what. It had to be easy to make but most importantly, I had to know exactly what I was going to have the moment I woke up. Those simple but powerful decisions were made before the week even started.

The next step was preparation. In the case of oatmeal, it’s pretty easy. I just needed to know that it was there and how much I was going to cook. So, instead of ham, eggs, and toast which I’ve enjoyed for well over two years (every day), I had oatmeal. I had it again and I’ll do the same thing next week.

This works because I don’t wake up with a decision to make, wondering what I’ll have to eat that day. It’s decided. This works because instead of looking around for what I need, the ingredients for the change I am making are already there. I don’t have to decide in the moment, the decision has been made.

I won’t get into why I switched my breakfast. It matters, but not to you. The fact that it was oatmeal instead of ham and eggs doesn’t matter either.

What does matter is that we are all trying to become better and make the changes that get us there. What does matter is that we can help the process along, when we decide and prepare

Start small. Gain a win. Gain another and build on your own success.

Prepare to win. Put success in your way by deciding ahead of time and having what you need right there. No decisions, just action.

It’s not about the oatmeal, but it does….change everything.





1 Comment

  • Just Plain Marie

    January 15, 2015

    I really agree with this “eliminating decisions” idea. We’ve been doing it for a while, from meals to clothing to morning chores. We’re farming, so knowing that you get up, eat breakfast (oatmeal usually!), get dressed in preplanned clothes, feed the animals, etc. really helps.

    And yes, it works with everything, I think. The planning part, though, is sometimes hard, and that’s where, like you, one should start with eliminating just one decision at a time.

    My children like their oatmeal with cinnamon and chopped apples. :)

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