The Lunchtime Puzzle

October 20th, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Motivation

Two days a week, the girls go off to class for three hours in the afternoon.

That means two days a week, I have three hours to myself.

Sometimes I stay and help out in class, sometimes I run errands, sometimes I do housework, sometimes I work on a blog post.

Lentil Taco Salad

Sometimes I eat leftover lentil tacos on a bed of lettuce with salsa, Greek yogurt and 1/2 an avocado for lunch in front of my computer so I can watch Modern Family on Hulu.

Sometimes I look at the stuff I eat for lunch and I wonder how on earth I got here. I was that girl who ate frozen and boxed meals and snacked on fat free candy and sipped calorie filled drinks throughout the course of the entire day.

Motherhood was a big factor in caring more about nutrition, but running was my tipping point.

I wanted to run because I thought it could help me lose weight. I was right, but for a while – running really sucked.

I really wanted to stick with it though, so I started to figure out how I could get running to feel better. I lurked in the Runner’s World forums to see how runners ate, I devoured books on health and nutrition, I found healthy food blogs.  When I realized that eating better foods made running a lot more enjoyable and eating junk made running feel like exactly that – junk – there was no turning back.

If you’ve got something you want in this life, there’s probably a lot of pieces that have to come together before you’re going to get what you’re after.  It’s sort of like putting together a puzzle.

When you put together a puzzle, do you dump the pieces on the table and start putting it together right away?  No,of course not.  There’s a method to putting a puzzle together.  You flip over all the pieces first. You look for the corner pieces, then the edge pieces, and then you start to fill in the gaps.

Big puzzles take time. Big, lasting change takes time.

Sometimes it takes a LONG time. Sometimes you need to call on other people to help you put some of it together. Sometimes you lose a piece and you have to search for it. Sometimes you are so sure a piece is right that you jam it in and pound on it with your fist to MAKE. IT. FIT., only to eventually concede and give up. And that’s OK – it simply wasn’t the right piece for this part of the puzzle.

Work on any puzzle long enough, and eventually it starts coming together. It starts to look like that picture you see on the box.  It starts to look like what you’ve been working toward. Piece by piece, it happens.

Figure out what you need to do to put your puzzle together. Start flipping pieces over and get working on the corner and edge pieces to get your foundation in place.  Slowly but surely, it will all come together before your very eyes.

One thing’s for sure though, that puzzle is not going to put itself together. You’ve got to open the box and get started. Get up and walk away for a little while when you get frustrated. Come back to it when you’re ready. One piece at a time, it will happen.

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4 Responses

  • Jane/you-know-who says:

    All of your posts are fun to read, but this one is r e a l l y good. Analogies and my brain work well together.

  • Cindy says:


    this was like spot on!

    I really want to be a runner too but I stink at it and I just sort of gave up at the moment.

    and I want to be a great knitter but charts freak me out.

    and I want to do a billion other things but I don’t know how to get started.

    Puzzles are one thing I can do.
    You are brilliant my friend.
    you kind of just broke it down into small bites that are easier to deal with
    Happy Friday and go eat that gorgeous salad for crying out loud!


  • Katheryn says:

    Great post. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • As usual, your post has inspired. Great analogy 😀