A few weeks ago I wrote about a better way to approach New Years Resolutions. The cliffnotes version is this: When we set long-term goals there is no sense of immediacy. We don’t feel compelled to take action NOW because, well, we have a whole year to get it done! If we set a goal to lose 40 lbs over the course of a year, the first several months are no big deal –we can always get back on track and catch up so we might as well enjoy the Mexican food and ice cream!
I suggested setting 12-week goals with 3 sets of 4-week milestones. If you haven’t checked out that post yet, do so now before you keep reading.
I think breaking your goals down into small, bite sized, more urgent pieces is a wonderful strategy but its not all that it takes. We have to take the time and effort to make sure we understand exactly why we want to achieve our goals and what’s on the line if we don’t do it. This process cannot be glossed over. When the going gets tough, this is what will either allow you to throw in the towel or push you to keep going.
You cannot merely say that you want to lose weight because you’ll look better and feel better. That’s not enough. That’s not going to keep you from grabbing a handful of M&Ms when you’re stressed out. It’s just not. Sorry. You’ve got to go deeper. If weight loss is a goal, the first thing I want you to do is establish your 12-week goal and 4-week milestones. But you aren’t done there. Then I want you to set aside 30-60 minutes and WRITE DOWN your answers to the following questions/statements:
- In what ways is being overweight painful or uncomfortable? Consider the physical and emotional implications of your weight.
- In what specific ways is my weight negatively impacting my relationships? Consider your relationships at work, with your spouse, your family, your children, etc.
- List three situations where your weight held you back from doing something you wanted to do or enjoying something to the fullest.
- How would your life improve if you achieve your weight loss goals?
- How would your relationships improve if you achieve your weight loss goals?
- What pleasure do I get from being overweight? Seriously – don’t assume the answer is “none”. Overeating or indulging MUST bring you some pleasure or you wouldn’t do it. Be honest here.
- What pleasure will you get from WORKING towards your goals?
- What are the consequences might you have to face if you do not choose to make weight loss a priority?
You have to get real about what is at stake and what thoughts or behaviors might keep you from making progress. Choose think about the pleasure you’ll get from working towards your goals instead of focusing on the pain you might endure from changing your behavior. What you think about you bring about – so carefully redirect your thoughts from anxiety, deprivation and fear to excitement, progress and challenge. Commit to this daily. Be on guard against your thoughts and use them to help propel you – do not allow them to hold you back. This is 100% in your control.