OK. I’m on a diet. A very strict diet. And the whole world knows I’m on a diet. After all, I’ve posted it to Facebook and Twitter. I’ve blogged about it here. I’ve joined a Facebook group to hold myself accountable for it. I’m weighing in at a clinic once a week for it. There’s no getting around it.
I’ve got my meals planned out for several days in advance. I log everything into an app when I’m planning my meals in order to stay below the 500 calorie limit this HCG Diet imposes. Then, when I eat it, I log it into another app that is connected to friends on Facebook. And I record my weight every day. Down 7 pounds in 3 days. I’m right on track.
But, in reality, not everybody knows. I’ve still got a handful of friends that don’t do Facebook or Twitter. They still don’t own any apps for the phone or iPad (or own an iPad for that matter). Unbelievable, right? So they don’t know I’m on a diet.
And, not everybody cares, right? There are a number of reasons for this. Each one is probably unique to the individual. But I get it. I’m living it, so its important to me. You’ve got other concerns. You’ve got your own life problems. Its OK.
I’ve got one friend that texted me last week and invited me to play pool over the weekend. He said, “I know you’re about to start this diet, and you won’t want to go do this while your cutting back.” That’s a friend who cares. He tried to put my needs first.
Another friend texted me last night. “Let’s get some dinner.” I thought about that for a bit. I don’t do well on this diet at restaurants. And it was just my third day. But I hadn’t visited with him for a while, so I replied, “OK, anywhere I can get a salad.”
“Can you get a salad at the Golden Corral?
My heart stopped. He had no idea what he was asking. Not everybody likes the Golden Corral, but I love eating there. Its part of why I’m on a diet. Steak, fried chicken, fried shrimp, fried catfish, green beans, macaroni and cheese, yeast rolls, boiled cabbage, roast beef and vegetables… and that’s just the first plate. I don’t even want to think about the carrot cake, blueberry pie, coconut pie, chocolate pie…
“Sure,” I responded, “I can get a salad there.”
So I went. And I did. And I was full. And more than just a little proud of myself.
But it all came down to focus. I knew going in what I was going to get. Mixed salad greens, a few slices of mushrooms, a few slices of cucumber, a few slices of jalapenos, and 3 to 4 ounces of grilled chicken strips.
When I went to the food bar, I simply did not allow myself to walk down the rest of the buffet line. No drooling over what I wish I could have. I even went so far as to turn my head away from the buffet line as I was walking out. Success came from focus. It was like magic!
I read an article yesterday on a study done with students who are connected in their classrooms with phones and iPads and other devices. They did a study for 15 minute segments. If a student checked their Facebook status just once in fifteen minutes, it correlated with a lower GPA. Students who waited had higher GPAs.
This is not a new thing. We’ve known for years that students who exhibit the willpower for delayed gratification are more successful than those that have to have things right now.
My question is this: Can we teach delayed gratification? Can we teach focus? Should we teach it? It isn’t on the Common Core State Standards list. It won’t be on the test.
So, my teacher friends, my parent friends, my education-loving friends, how do we accomplish the magic of Focus Hocus Pocus with students?