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Thread: Super Breakthroughs

  1. #1

    Super Breakthroughs

    Do you have a SuperBetter breakthrough moment? A point at which something really clicked? Where you experience a power emotion? Share it here!

    To get you started, here's a story from player Amanda:

    I've struggled with my weight my whole life. Earlier this year, I made some great strides toward becoming healthier. It was my 31st birthday and I realized I had no control over my future. I feared a major illness or event (like a heart attack) would strike soon and my kids would suffer drastically. So I started making changes. The goal was better health. As I made changes and felt better, I was encouraged by my shrinking size and the decreasing numbers on the scale. That encouragement eventually consumed me. I was quantifying my results with my weight and how my clothes fit. I kepttelling myself it was about health, not weight but it wasn't really sinking in. Inside, it was still really about weight.

    Just under a month ago, I got my invite to SuperBetter and started playing, optimistic about turning my health/weight goal into a game. Since I wanted to achieve several goals in SuperBetter- get fit, get healthier, go vegetarian, etc- I chose a goal that covered all of them- lose weight. I enjoyed battling bad guys, using power ups, completing quests and trying for my Epic Win. But a week or so ago, I started to wonder if SuperBetter was having any effect.

    One of the most surprising quests I got (from a Ninja power-up pack I finally grabbed), was to stop getting on the scale. The challenge was to not weigh myself for two weeks. I weighed myself one final time and was nervous that I would get on the scale the next morning simply out of habit. I realized I could put the scale away and that problem was solved. I knew that I could lose weight in two weeks without weighing myself and that I would be able to tell by the way my clothes fit whether my weight was going up or down. (Again, notice the emphasis my thinking had on weight, not health).

    A few days before I started SuperBetter, my ten year old son joined a running club at his school. They were to meet two mornings a week before school, with an ultimate goal of the club running a 5K in December. I had to convince him to join but he enjoyed it, for the most part. He would run with his dad on the weekends and I figured this would be a good reinforcement. I have never been a runner. I was always slow and as I got heavier, it was harder for me to run without losing my breath or having my heart pound like it was going to explode. I've hated running pretty much my whole life.

    A couple weeks into running club and SuperBetter, I woke up and realized it was the first brisk morning here in Florida in a long time. I decided to join my son and his running club and give it a shot that morning. They were alternating running and walking at that point and I thought/ hoped I could do it. I jogged with my son but it was difficult keeping up.

    I don't recall if I made a decision that day or over the coming days/ week, but I decided that I was going to run that 5K with my son. I wanted to be healthy enough to be able to do it and feel good. I wanted my son to see that I would join him on this mission. I also wanted my (teenaged) daughter to see that such an outlandish goal could be reached and that I was healthy (or at least becoming healthier) enough to achieve such a goal. I had a sneaking suspicion this new goal was related to SuperBetter.

    I would work alone on this mission. The 5K was about a month away. I thought I could probably be able to at least jog a good portion of it by then. I started out walking fast and doing very short sprints around a lake in my neighborhood. A little over a week ago, I challenged myself to jog around the whole lake (0.6 miles). I went slowly because I wanted to reach that goal. I made it! I had surprised myself and was so excited that I shared my news with my two close friends. For them, jogging slowly for just over half a mile was no big feat, but they knew it was a big deal for me and they were very supportive. I decided to jog every other day and to get better every day, whether by going further or by getting faster. I kept pushing myself to do more, realizing that I would never know how far I could go if I didn't push myself. Next, I made it a whole mile! Then 1.6 and 2.1. This Saturday, I jogged 2.6 miles and I was psyched! I felt good, physically and emotionally. I knew I would be able to do a 5K, even if it was at a pace of 15 minutes per mile. Tomorrow, I will jog for 3.1 miles non-stop- a 5K. It's taken less than two weeks.

    Now, you might be thinking the 5K is the breakthrough. And it is a breakthrough. But it's not why I'm writing this post. This morning, as I checked off quests and power-ups in SuperBetter, I realized that fitness and health have truly become my goal. It is no longer about my weight. I was changing quests from weight-related ones to fitness ones. I deleted the quest about getting on the scale, because I realized I no longer cared what the scale said. I added "Upper Body Workout," which I decided yesterday to add to my regimen. ( I did upper body weight training this morning and will do that three days a week, alternating with my jogs.) The Ninja Power Pack was right. I needed to focus on getting stronger and feeling better. In fact, I changed my goal from "losing weight" to "getting fit." My Epic Win is no longer to "lose weight" in order to "weigh less than ___." Instead, my SB HQ now reads, that I am getting SuperBetter at "Getting Fit" in order to "Feel SuperHealthy." And I mean it.

    So, my breakthrough was an epiphany that left me fighting back tears of joy this morning. My true goals now are to increase my health by getting fit. And I no longer need or want a scale to tell me that I've achieved them. And I have SuperBetter (and Jane McGonigal) to thank for that.

  2. #2
    Response from player GatheringWater:

    Amanda, this is a really encouraging story. I'm glad you have shared it. You've encouraged me to look differently at my own goals.


    My Superbetter breakthrough involved a similar change in perspective, although I arrived at it from a different direction. My goal has been to reduce stress while I finish nursing school. Taking inventories made me realize that one stressor I didn't need was the feeling of failure I had when I stepped on the scales every Monday morning. I had lost 50 pounds between January and September this year but, since then, I'd neither gained nor lost.


    My breakthrough was recognizing that I don't have the same resources now that allowed me to lose weight earlier in the year, so continued loss was an unreasonable, unfair, and unkind goal. Just maintaining healthy lifestyle changes is a real accomplishment, something to be proud of and not a failure.


    I decided to continue to monitor my weight to make sure I didn't start to gain, but to weigh myself less often. I got out of the cycle of trying when I wasn't likely to succeed and redefined success as maintainance. I decided to reconsider a weight-loss goal after graduation.


    Now, here is the funny thing: after relieving myself of this source of stress and failure, when I weighed in two weeks later, I'd lost 4 pounds. I wasn't trying to lose, it just happened. My conclusion is that the struggle against unrealistic expectations and feelings of failure was sucking away energy that I could have been using for exercise or preparing healthful meals.


    So, using Superbetter to relieve stress gave me insight into another area of my life, with a positive outcome. Thanks, Superbetter!

  3. #3
    I have been playing SuperBetter for about a month now. I had a wonderfully resilient reaction yesterday.

    I had been doing some work for a neighbor. We had an agreement for me to do some work and I was living by that agreement. She, in essence "fired me" when she could find someone who could do the work more cheaply.

    In the past, this would have been totally and completely devastating, causing weeks if not months of internal struggles.

    When I got the news I reminded myself that I am an AWESOME person, had done an AWESOME job and my work went above and beyond what had been asked of me. I kept to my promise to give an accounting of my time and expenses. When she paid me, I tried to give her an accounting of my time and expenses and she told me to SHOVE IT! As she walked back to her house she continue to holler about this and that.

    Again, in the past, this would have been totally devastating.

    This time I have resilience, though. I have chosen not to defend myself to her. One, she would not be open to it and also I know I made an agreement, lived up to the agreement and beyond. Her reaction is more about her and not about me.

    I am not perfect, though. I am still giving some energy to it; it just happened yesterday. Now, I remind myself that I am an AWESOME person, had done an AWESOME job and my work went above and beyond what had been asked of me.

    SuperBetter has been a godsend for me!

    A few months back, I found my life at a high. Things would go wrong and they would be a blip on the road, just something else to overcome. One thing I noticed during that time, that I chose to not play the roll of a victim. I knew I liked that place and wanted to figure out why I could be acting in this way and bottle it.

    Then I had a big business deal sour and I lost my mother in law. Suddenly I found myself taking every opportunity to play the role of the victim. Something would go wrong and I would easily fall into my, "Woe is me", state. I knew I had fallen back in the roll of a victim and knew that was not a healthy place. I felt stuck. I knew I wanted out but I had no way to get out.

    Then SuperBetter came along. About 3 active weeks into SuperBetter, I reflected on six months ago when things were going swimmingly and, post apocalyptic went I couldn't even dog paddle. It dawned on me; resilience made the difference!

    What is the root of SuperBetter? Building resilience. That is why I had success six months ago. I had unknowingly been practicing resilience with myself!

    So, now with that knowledge, I am a SuperBetter convert. In the past, the little accomplishments of the day where quickly made miniscule. Now they are acknowledged for the little successes that they are and are helping to build resilience, the life blood of Post Traumatic Growth.

    The happenings of yesterday had the potential to be as bad as my business dealings that contributed to my downward spiral. In another couple of weeks, with my new found continual practice of resilience, this will be just another event that happened that I has become a life lesson.

    Thanks Jane and thanks SuperBetter! For helping me feel SuperBetter! It is this process of feeling SuperBetter! that will help me to become the SuperBetter! individual I want to be.

  4. #4
    Hehe - yer *my* life changed for the better when i threw out the scale - booo to scales .... the scales dropped from my eyes - my body rocks! [in case you didnt realise]

    And SuperStephen - just *love* the story about that person tellin you to shove it ... hopin u shoved *yerself* in the right direction - re-sil-e-anccccccccccce!!

    All good wishes - keep steady over those invitable blips in the road ..... fix yer suspension matey and yer on yer way!!!!

    Moodie xx
    [also a jobseeker ... soon to be a jobfinder - maybe even one that pays - why not???????]

  5. #5
    Had a surprisingly wonderful experience yesterday. Let me tell.

    A suffer from moderate Social Anxiety. I have no problem getting out and about in the world, but for the most part, would rather not try to interject myself in the world. I would much rather be a wall flower.

    For about the past 6 weeks, I have been playing SuperBetter! One of the power-ups I have presented myself with to say hi to strangers. As I got more comfortable with that, I added an additional challenge of adding some small talk; how's your day, pay them a complement, stuff like that.

    Yesterday, I went for a hike with my wife and eleven people from her work. Needless to say, I knew none of them. That would have been a great place for a wall flower. I could of been a hermit and stuck to myself. Some reason I didn't. As a matter of fact, I ended up having conversations with at least 8 of them and said at least hello to them all! Some of the conversations where in excess of 5 minutes as we hiked along the trail. At times I found myself in two conversations simultaneously!

    That blew me away!

    So my challenge for people suffering from moderate social anxiety, start saying hi to strangers as you make your way around the world. Perhaps it will lead to a similar break through as me.

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