Do you say you want to lose weight and get in shape, yet find yourself dragging your feet?
You’d give anything to achieve your goal, but when it comes to actually taking action you have a hard time committing to the necessary changes?
If goals were easy to achieve, we’d all be living our perfect little lives with our perfect little bodies in our perfect little world.
But the reality is, even goals we want with all of our heart and soul are difficult to achieve.
Changing behaviors that you’ve had for months, years or decades takes patience and determination.
The good news is that you have what it takes to succeed. You just have to learn how to fine tune it.
Try these three simple steps.
Acknowledge Your Behaviors
Without beating yourself up, objectively review your weight loss and weight gain history. Act as if you’re an outsider looking at your eating patterns.
Are there certain events or situations that drive you to food?
- For instance, does a bad day at work lead to unhealthy eating choices?
- Do you have tendencies of an emotional eater (eat to soothe or comfort) or a situational eater (it was there, so you ate it)?
In addition to the things that trigger overeating, take an honest look at your family and friends.
- Are there people in your life who are supportive of your goal to get healthier?
- Do they assist you by taking part in physical activities with you or help you learn healthier ways to cook?
- On the contrary, are there people that you’re close to that haven’t been so supportive?
- Maybe they are food pushers who try to get you to eat one more bite or try a dessert even though you’re full?
Understand Your Strengths
The point behind truly acknowledging your past behaviors and patterns isn’t to get you to belittle or berate yourself for yesterday’s actions. That isn’t going to help because you can’t change the past.
The goal is to understand where your strengths are so that you can add more of them into your life to set yourself up for success.
- For instance, if you have a highly supportive friend, spend more time with him or her as you try to reach your goals.
- Or, if you find that your willpower is stronger in the morning than in the afternoon, maybe you’ll want to try to schedule stressful meetings in the AM when you’re less likely to try comfort yourself with food after.
Recognize Your Weaknesses
Just as important as realizing your strengths, you need to know your weaknesses so that you can eliminate your exposure to them.
- For instance, if you know that the break table at work is always loaded with sugary treats, you may decide to avoid that area altogether.
- Or, if you can’t drive past your favorite fast food joint without stopping, you may want to choose another way home.
In that case, you may either choose to limit contact or have a heart-to-heart with them. Let them know how important it is to you to choose healthy behaviors.
They won’t always listen, but if they choose to disrespect your request to back down, you can deal with the situation without feeling guilty.
Focus on Today
Now that you have a clear understanding of your journey up to this point, you can direct all of your energy on the present.
Staying present in the here and now is crucial to success. It is the only time you can make positive, healthy lifestyle changes.
You can’t redo yesterday and tomorrow isn’t here yet.
During the course of a day you are faced with many pivotal moments that will either lead you closer to your goal or separate you from it further.
Every decision you make matters, regardless of how small it seems.
- For instance, if you commit to doing just ten minutes of exercise a day, you will have worked out over an hour over the course of the week.
- And, if you did it for a year, that’s over sixty hours of exercise you wouldn’t have done if you did nothing.
- It all adds up.
When you find yourself face to face with a decision-making moment, like whether or not to work out or eat another donut, ask yourself how far you’re willing to go to achieve your goal.
For instance, let’s say you’re at a local restaurant and you love their ranch dressing. Being a “dieter” for years, you know that full ranch dressing is pretty high in calories. You could eat healthy and order the salad without it, but you wouldn’t feel satisfied and may be more inclined to try and make up for the disappointment by snacking later.
So, you ask yourself how far you’re willing to go to achieve your goal.
You decide that you’re okay with getting the salad with the dressing on the side, so that’s how you order it.
You can have the dressing but save yourself a majority of the fat and calories because you’re going to dip your fork in it as opposed to drenching your lettuce.
Could you have made a healthier choice by just getting the salad with the low fat dressing? Sure.
And, that’s what most “diets” would tell you to do.
But, that’s why diets fail.
You have to be able to enjoy life and if you’re not, you won’t make the changes permanent. You have to create a lifestyle that you’re willing to live with if you expect lifelong results.
Look, no one’s perfect.
You are going to stumble from time to time and make not-so-good choices.
Cut yourself some slack.
If you fall halfway down the stairs, what do you do? Do you pick yourself up and go back to the top or do you just give up on yourself and fling yourself down the remainder of the stairs?
Don’t Worry About Tomorrow
It’s tough sometimes to stay focused on today, when this dark cloud called “tomorrow” is over our head.
It’s filled with uncertainty and fear of not seeing our dreams come to pass. And, it can sap our energy to even try to make changes.
Don’t be so caught up in waiting until tomorrow that you forget to live today.
Not allowing yourself to be happy until you’ve lost 10, 20 or 50 pounds isn’t living at all. It’s merely existing and you deserve better than that.
Now get out there and make things happen!
Remember that the walk of 1,000 miles began with one step.
Take that step.
You won’t regret it.