You've set a goal to lose weight, you worked really hard, went without, grit your teeth, beat yourself up when you screwed up and then...ta da!!! You reached your goal. You lost the weight.
Did you feel elated? Super happy you achieved what you set out to achieve? If yes, awesome!
But what if you didn't feel super happy? What if, instead you felt really blah. Meeting the goal didn't bring you supreme happiness, didn't change your life and make all your dreams come true?
The truth is, most of the time reaching a goal doesn't feel as great in reality as it does in our imagination. Maybe it does, but it's fleeting.
Take losing weight. Losing weight can be hard. Really hard. But you know what? Keeping the weight you lost from returning is also hard. Really hard. Sometimes it's even harder than losing it in the first place.
Willpower is also hard. Staying motivated about one particular thing over a long period of time is tricky. There will be days when it feels...well, impossible. We fall off the wagon and then feel bad. Sometimes we end up quitting because it feels too painful to keep failing. So, we go back to our old way of doing things. We don't eat a vegetable for a week (unless you include "veggie puffs"), we go from work to the couch, we blow our monthly food budget in one week by ordering in and our laundry piles up and the dishes don't get done. We say to ourselves. Man, it sucks that I blew it. I was doing so well, but I fell off the wagon so now I'll let everything just go to hell in a hand basket.
Research tells us that we need to incorporate healthy habits into our life. Researchers have found that Canadians who followed recommended healthy behaviours had a life expectancy 17.9 years greater than individuals with the unhealthiest behaviours.
You want to live 17.9 years longer, right? Of course! But how?
The key word here is habit. Forget goals. Screw willpower. Willpower will screw you over at its first opportunity, motivation will let you down and goals will give you a swift kick in the gut if and when you reach them.
Instead, focus on habits. Habits, habits, habits. Tiny ones, simple ones, healthy ones, fun ones.
Learning to appreciate (and perhaps enjoy!) the actual process and not just the end result is the key. Also, giving ourselves credit for the effort and not just the outcome is where it's at. You've probably heard the expression from Ralph Waldo Emerson "Life is a journey, not a destination".
It helps me to think of it like that.
Shifting to a long-term perspective from one of short-term instant gratification takes a mindset shift for many. We want to lose 20 pounds yesterday, afterall! Losing .5 lbs a week seems a lot less sexy. We don't want to wait. I will say that spending a day in deliberate action rather than by default actually feels better. No more guilt, no more self-loathing and no regret.
Imagine if you had started making tiny, daily, compounding changes to your life a month ago? A year ago? 5 years ago? Where would you be today?
What would your waistline, your bank account, your home, your career, your life-style look like today?
The awesome thing is...it is NOT too late. Why not start now so you can find out?
Start With Small for a better life!