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Friday, August 24, 2007

Fixing Broken Windows

I am posting this essay from the July 10, 2007 You Have Arrived Newsletter. We have so many new members who may have missed this - and it talks about some key steps to attacking a stall or weight gain. I hope you enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts.

Fixing Broken Windows

by Kaye Bailey

There is a popular theory in urban renewal that suggests fixing broken windows as they happen is the key to reducing crime and preventing urban decay. The theory is based on a 1982 Atlantic Monthly article by George L. Kelling. He writes, "Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside."

Perhaps it's a stretch but I believe it is possible to apply the "Broken Window" theory to our post-weight loss surgery health and wellness. The broken window, of course, would be a lapse in compliance with our program: eating unhealthy foods, the absence of exercise and so forth. If we break a window one day and do not fix it the next then we risk breaking another window. But if we practice self-renewal and fix that broken window promptly we can avoid the intrusion of vandals and squatters who would break more windows pollute our healthy new body.

The challenge herein is that if we allow the broken window to go without repair we then become the vandals to our own building (body). At times it is far easier to give permission to the squatters than it is to kick them out. One day of missed exercise leads to another and another and pretty soon the sloth-squatter has set-up camp in our building. I know for me all it takes is three missed workout sessions and my sloth-squatter is quite at home enjoying the broken windows. But when I saw the pattern I came to understand that one broken window (missed workout) could be repaired without struggle. Repairing three broken windows demands a forceful and determined self-renewal to fix my building.

In cities and in life there will always be broken windows. A broken window is not a sign of failure or neglect. Windows are made of fragile glass that sometimes breaks. And though we may pretend to be tough as steel we are more like glass: fragile and prone to occasional breakage. Windows can be fixed. Fix your broken windows promptly and forbid the squatter's entry. You've worked hard for your new life; give yourself the gift of self-renewal.

More essays by Kaye Bailey

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