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Herding Cats

Thank you for reading this week’s Operation Melt update.

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives.

I am trying to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Throughout my journey, I have learned that many life lessons can be learned by getting fit. This week I am sharing another installment of Fitness Lessons are Life Lessons.


Herding Cats

I have often used the phrase “it’s like herding cats,” but it wasn’t until I got two kittens this summer that this saying really hit home.

If you don’t know, the common saying (or idiom) “it’s like herding cats” is used to describe attempting to control something that doesn’t want to be controlled. I often use it to describe trying to keep projects on track or getting groups of people to all work together.

Back to the kittens. These two little ones look really cute and cooperative, right? Well, that’s not how kittens operate.

These two little girls are very mischievous and like to get into lots of trouble. Here is a pic of one of them sitting on top of the refrigerator and watching the other one explore the top of our kitchen cabinets eight feet up.

When we are not at home, or when it is bedtime, the kittens have to go to their room. We have a large guest bedroom that has been fully dedicated to the cats. We don’t put them in their room because we don’t trust them, on the contrary, we do completely trust in their ability to destroy our house.

Last night, as we prepared to leave for dinner, the kittens both went to their room on their own and it was no struggle at all. I can assure you that this is not the norm, it is usually a way more elaborate operation to get them both into their rooms.

Using toys and other encouragement, we can often get one kitten into her room with minimal struggle. Then the second one gets smart about what’s happening and decides that she is going to make it more challenging. So, we close the door and leave one kitten in her room and we go work on bringing the other one up. We prefer not to carry them to their rooms, we want them to go on their own. A laser pointer, a feather toy, or any number of other things can help. But, sometimes, it means we carry them.

Earlier this week, we got one kitten to go into her room and she started eating her food. The other one needed more encouragement to come to her room, so we closed the door and went to coax kitten number two to her room. It ended up with me carrying her to her room opening the door to put her in and the other one zooming by me back down the stairs. There is little in life that is more disappointing than learning that you have been outsmarted by two ten-month-old cats.

At this moment I truly understood what herding cats really meant.

Our Goals

This week it occurred to me that herding cats is the perfect metaphor for the ups and downs we face when chasing our goals.

As my frequent readers know, I have been frustrated as I have watched my weight increase by a few pounds over the past year. Inexplicably, my daily calorie deficit has not led to sustained weight loss or maintenance. There are lots of factors playing into this, and it is nothing terrible, but it is certainly frustrating.

This week I had a sodium-driven weight fluctuation that temporarily drove my weight up several pounds. I was so frustrated when I stepped on the scale that I actually said some mean things out loud to the scale.

My weight increase is combined with several other frustrating factors. I have had a significant decrease in running because of cold and ice. My resting heart rate has been less predictable than ever drive by several factors. Plus there are some other frustration areas I am facing related to non-fitness goals.

At the same time as all of these frustrations, I have encountered many other positive things in my fitness journey.

I just achieved my all-time personal best with assisted pull-ups this week. I was able to do a single pull-up with just sixty-five pounds of assistance. Doing pull-ups has been a big goal for me and it has taken a long time to get to this point. But I have improved by over thirty pounds in just two months.

This weekend I also achieved a new personal record with the amount of weight I lifted on the hip and glutes machine. I was able to lift my body weight and could have added even more.

I am seeing my strength quickly increase before my eyes and my body shows it. My muscle definition has really started taking shape over the past few months. For the first time in my entire life, I can say that I am essentially happy with my body. Plus, I know it is just going to keep improving.

I have also had some great successes over the last year with other goals outside of fitness.

What I have learned over the past few months is that trying to control our bodies is like herding cats. When one thing is going the way that you want it to go, like my strength increase, something else may be going in a different direction, like my weight. By the way, it is almost certain that a large portion of my weight increase is muscle growth.

The only thing I can really control is my effort and my decisions.

By making good decisions and putting in my best effort, I will create an environment in which my goals can thrive. If my goals don’t go exactly as planned, that is out of my control. I just need to keep making the right decisions and giving the effort I know I need to give and trust that the results will follow. As always, one of those “right decisions” includes continuing to seek professional input on why the outcomes may not be going how I want.

Remember: the only thing you can do when herding cats is give your best effort and accept that things aren’t going to be perfect. The cats are going to do what the cats are going to do and you just have a little influence over that.

Now I need to go check on the kittens, they have been too quiet for the past hour!

I Need Your Help

Before you go I would like to ask you for a favor. I can’t build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness on my own. Please consider helping your friends find today’s post by following me on Facebook, on LinkedIn or via Instagram and sharing today’s post to your feed.

While you are at it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s post, your goals or anything else on your mind. Send me a note via my Contact Me form,

Thanks again for reading today’s post and here’s to achieving your most important goals!

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Published in.My Journey UpdatesFitness Lessons are Life Lessons

Disclaimer: The Operation Melt website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously evolves, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website.

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