Competition

One of the big surprises of my weight loss experience a couple of years ago was discovering how competitive I am. I’d known I didn’t like playing games with people because it was stressful, but I didn’t know why. I don’t remember now if I even had a theory about it. I have a vague sense that I thought I wasn’t any good at any thing so I never had any fun.

Then I started my weight-loss diet, courtesy of the Weight Watcher points system. Everything had a point value (based on a combination of calories, fat and fiber), and in order to lose weight, I was limited to X points per day. (The number of points varied, depending on how much I weighed–I had more points per day at my heaviest than at my present weight.)

The competitive thing kicked in fairly early on–there was no way I was going over my daily points tally. I’d be hungry, I’d be tired of the struggle, I’d want to give up…but as soon as I thought about having that dish of ice cream, or whatever the temptation was, something kicked in, this hard clamp inside would grip me and I wouldn’t be able to have the tempting thing, no matter what.

I’m dealing with that again. I’m trying to make sure I write regularly, so my fear of the page can’t get its claws into me. I’m using a system I heard about, setting a daily goal–something small and not very intimidating–and then putting stickers on a calendar for every day I meet my tiny little goal.

There have been days this month where I really didn’t feel like writing. But as soon as I imagined not being able to put my sticker–a foil star–on the calendar (Irish Castles), I had to write. I had to be able to put the sticker on the calendar. It was that same clamp of determination, that same competitive thing, that same, “I have to win and stay out of my way until I do” thing.

I’m kind of ambivalent about this facet of my character. It’s strong and it makes me intense. I wouldn’t want to play Monopoly with me, so I don’t want to play Monopoly with people I like. I want to keep them in my life and I’m not sure that would happen after one round of death-Monopoly with yours truly.

On the other hand, when it serves me, it serves me well. So, like most things, it’s double-edged, a gift and a curse; how you see it depends on the angle from which you see it.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Jan 25, 2007 @ 01:03:00

    Like you, I never thought I had a competative bone in my body. And I don’t, really–not toward other people. But I am competative with myself. When I get in that zone, I don’t want to blow it and nothing can stop me. But I have to get into that zone–that’s the hard part. I’ve been trying so hard these last couple of months to get there, and I want to be there, but I’m not yet.

    I think it’s great that you’re there and I love the gold stars on the calendar idea. I’m going to pick up some cute stickers and see if that works for me. Thanks for the idea. I’m so excited about your WIP. I just can’t wait to hear how many pages you’re up to now. 🙂

    Reply

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