Anything More Thrilling than a Good Before-and-After?

I love the before-and-after format. I pore over magazine articles that show before-and-after kitchens or closets, or that feature beauty make-overs. Many people apparently feel the same way – just look at number of TV based on before-and-after: The Biggest Loser, Pimp My Ride, Extreme Makeover, Trading Spaces, Nanny 911

The other day, at the gym where I do my strength-training, my trainer showed me the stack of charts that she’d filled in since I started. I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I couldn’t believe that I’d shown up that many times. I asked her to set the machines at the weights I could lift when I started. Wow, I’ve come a very long way since I started. That gave me a sense of accomplishment – a “before” and “after.”


It occurred to me that it would be fun to stage some more before-and-after moments in my life. I’m planning to re-organize some closets and clear some clutter, and to deepen my gratification, I’m going to take “before” pictures so that I’ll have a record of the improvements I’ll have made “after.”

A “before-and-after” requires a commitment. By documenting my “before,” I’m promising myself that there will be an “after” – and that fact alone will probably make me more likely to follow through. Also, making progress tangible makes it more rewarding – and I’m more likely to stick with rewarding activities.

How about you? Can you think of a place where you could hold your own before-and-after? A messy car, a garage, your desk at work?

The days are long, but the years are short.