Where Am I Going, And How Far Have I Come?

I’m a little slow in learning the many uses for my smartphone.  I have an iPhone 3G.  I know – lame – but I just ordered the new one.   Although I have owned my 3G for years, I only recently learned (accidentally discovered, really) how to use the GPS map app on it.  I must have randomly touched something on the screen, which caused an amazing little  moving dot to appear.

“Hey, I think that dot is exactly where I am right now!”  Pathetic.

But that is not the point of this post.  I want to talk a little about zooming in and zooming out.

This app has helped me many times, most recently on a trip to California wine country.  Peter and I were driving around Napa/Sonoma, looking for our hotel.  I was tired and hungry after a long day of travel.  I just wanted to GET THERE!

At Author Jack London’s “Beauty Ranch” in Glen Ellen, CA – a spectacular property to hike AND a very interesting museum with items from London’s life

I pulled out my phone and (expertly) activated the mapping app, located our position, and started watching the moving dot.  I could see where we were going, and in the same screen I could see the magic dot indicating where we were.  The dot moved SLOWLY, barely at all in fact.

Approaching a critical intersection, I zoomed in for a closer view of the streets.  Guess what?  You guessed it – the dot moved faster!

I like this view, I thought.  I can see that we are making progress.  We are moving, and we will get there.  I felt very noticeably more hopeful, and very much less anxious about it.  Ah yes, this is another idea for a blog post, I thought.

Do you see the connection?  We all need to know where we are going, whatever the goal, in order to be on the right road, either literally or figuratively.  It is impossible to define the path of our actions if we are not even pointing in the right direction – toward a defined destination or end point.  This is important . . . very important . . . but

It is frustrating to know where you are heading, while at the same time feeling stuck, like there is no movement toward that goal.  In weight loss terms, this is like being “stuck” at a point on the scale or seeing it go down excruciatingly slowly.

That is precisely the time to zoom in for a closer look.  The goal may be weight loss, and the end point might be a number, but movement toward that destination still depends on DOING things differently and THINKING different thoughts on the journey.

Zooming in, these successes become perceptible.   You might realize that you are feeling more satisfied with your food choices and are not feeling hungry as often.  Maybe you have more energy and are meeting emotional needs better.  Looks like the dot is moving now, doesn’t it?

Zoom back out again when you need to remind yourself where you are going and how far you have come overall – the big picture.  In fact, this is the view of your weight that will make the most sense.  Zoom in too close, and your weight trend may look like a crazy driver, weaving from side to side or repeatedly going around the block before moving forward again.

The Golden Gate Bridge in the Morning as Seen from Sausalito

Like a mapping app, zooming in and staying there can cause you to drift off the main path, because the destination is off the screen and out of view – “Where am I going?!”  Similarly, zooming out continuously can feel frustrating, with the goal appearing so far away and movement at a snail’s pace.

Strategically being in control of the view you see can be a valuable psychological tool as you follow the moving dot that is current progress toward your goal.  What a great mental app!!

Tasting Wine at Silverado Vineyards in Napa


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