When we set out to lose weight, we generally do so with an end goal in sight. Whether the goal is vanity related or health related, we have an idea of where we want to be. Maybe we desire to fit into a certain size dress or wear this season’s cutest bikini. Or, maybe we want to be able to free ourselves from some medical issues or rid our lives of daily medications.
Whatever our initial reason to lose weight, somewhere along our journey we tend to veer off course. We get caught up in the process of losing and “forget” where we were headed to begin with. We start to fight with the number on the scale and soon that is the only battle that matters. The war is no longer important because we now have tunnel vision and cannot see beyond what is right in front of us.
What happens when we do this to ourselves? As we all too well know, most likely we begin the stages of giving up. We start to rationalize why it’s too hard. Or, we convince ourselves that we’re okay just the way we are. We really don’t need to change.
So, how do we keep the fight in ourselves to move beyond the hard times and achieve our goals? How do we turn things around when we start to lapse, or relapse? I heard it best the other day when someone said, “If you fall down the stairs and land half way down, do you just hurl yourself down the remaining stairs because you already fell down half of them? Or, do you pick yourself up and climb back to the top of the stairs”? Ouch! Point well taken.
We have to keep our motivation going. We have to continue to focus on ourselves and make our goals top priority. If you want something bad enough, you will stop at nothing to get it. So, how do we keep ourselves moving in the right direction?
Here are some helpful tips and guidelines to help you win the war when you find yourself caught up in all the little battles:
- Remember why you want to reach the goal to begin with. This is your driving force. This is why you have passion for doing what you’re doing. You can have some short-term reasons, such as looking good for an upcoming event, but to have true, deep, center-of-your-soul passion, you have to find a lifelong reason. Do you want to be alive and well when your kids have kids of their own? Do you want to get off the blood pressure medications? What is your reason?
- Don’t beat yourself up when you lapse. No one is perfect and no one is going to make the right choices all the time. Sure, there are people out there that you think fit this criteria but if you were with them day in and day out you would come to realize that they are no different from you or I. We all have struggles and we all make some bad choices from time to time. So, don’t beat yourself up for being human. Acknowledge that you could have made a better choice and let it go.
- Don’t allow a lapse to become a relapse. If you do lapse, don’t allow it to become a relapse. Don’t continue to make bad choices. If you are an all or nothing thinker, this is hard for you. But it is up to you if you use this as an excuse or if you use this as a motivator to change and break the cycle. When you are sitting half way down the steps, do you hurl yourself down the remaining steps or do you pick yourself up and climb back to the top?
- Look beyond today to tomorrow. When you start to feel overwhelmed by what is going on right now, you need to remind yourself that it is one moment in time along a worthwhile journey. Don’t allow yourself to be frustrated by every little decision making point or every little hurdle that presents itself. Remember that when you reach your goal, you will have the quality of life you have always desired.
- Use every decision making opportunity as a tool to empower yourself. With every hurdle that is presented to you, you have a choice. You can give in to the hurdle, let it beat you down and walk away from it with your head hung low knowing that you let it win. Or, you can look at the hurdle as an opportunity to prove what you are made of. You can use your power, your skills, your knowledge and your passion and make a good choice and walk away from that incident with your head held high because you took the harder and better option and you won! You beat your enemy! Keep doing this and you will do it automatically and be at your goal in no time.
- Remember how far you have come already. Whether this is a journey you have been on for one day or one year, you can look at some positive decisions you have made already to get you closer to where you want to be. Celebrate those successes. Congratulate yourself on taking the right road instead of the road that would have taken you off course. Don’t minimize any positive steps you have taken. You wouldn’t do that to a friend, so don’t do that to yourself.
- Breathe and realign yourself. When you start to feel overwhelmed and caught up in the moment, stop yourself. Take a few long, deep breaths and realign your thoughts. Replace the negative “I can’t do it” thoughts with positive “I can accomplish anything thoughts”. Get yourself back into a state of being self-supportive, not self-destructive.
- Be your biggest cheerleader. When you are at a sporting event and your team is down a few points, do you chastise them and tell them they are worthless and leave the game because you just know they aren’t going to win? No. If you are a true fan, you cheer them on. You build them up. You reach within your soul and pull out every ounce of strength to send their way because you believe in them. Even if a little part of you is scared that they won’t win, you pull for them anyway. You will accept them no matter what, but you are going to try to motivate them with every bit of energy you can muster. Do this for yourself when the chips are down and the score is falling behind and you will find an energy, an excitement, a fire you forgot existed. Cheer yourself to success. Don’t walk away in the fourth quarter when you are down a few points. Summon your strength and go where you’ve never gone before to pull off a win and raise your hands in glory because you did it!
Remember that everything you do is a journey. It has a beginning and an end. And, at every end of your journey begins a new journey into something different. You will constantly be tested along the way and it is up to you whether you continue your journey or sit in the middle of the road and do nothing. I hope that you move beyond the potholes and the closed roads because the picture at the end of your journey is a bright, sunny place filled with smiles and laughter. You can look back and say to yourself, “It was a long road, but I persevered and life is good”. Keep that ending in sight because with every step that you take in the right direction, you are closer to where this journey will end and a new one will begin. Happy travels!