Ahhh, 2017! A new year is well underway. Many of us are filled with new hopes, new dreams, and new goals as we vow to attack this new year with more gusto and resolve than the years in the past.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, eat healthier, and become more fit. Gyms are packed at the start of a new year as weight loss products hit a spike in sales. Everything is going so great as the excitement of getting to the new you electrifies the air…and then February comes. So what happens? What is the thing that makes so many of us fail so soon into the beginning of our goal to being healthier and more fit?
One thing I see over and over again is that the majority of people set a really hard generalized goal and after the first few moments of not being perfect, resolve themselves to being a failure and slide quietly back into their comfort zone of the way things were. There is nothing wrong with a hard goal. However, when you fail to specifically set the little steps required to reach that big goal, you set yourself up for a very very hard struggle. Wanting to lose 30 lbs is fantastic. That’s a hard goal. No one ever declared losing 30 lbs was an easy task. In order to get to the bottom of those 30lbs, you must map out a road to get you there. Part of that road MUST be leaving room for you to mess up.
There are many ways to go about losing weight. While there are some tactics that I strongly disagree with, like counting calories and measuring food, oh and starving yourself…that one is always a no no, I’m going to focus on the part of the journey so many people forget about when they first begin. Messing up. Not being perfect. Feeling like you are starting over and over again. When beginning a lifestyle change, or setting out on any goal, you MUST remember to give yourself permission to mess up, because at some point you will fall down.
Giving yourself permission to occasionally fail is not saying you should go about your goal half-assed. In fact, any goal you have I strongly encourage you to have a burning passion for. The more passion you have, the more energy and hard work you will commit to it. Get to the root of what gives you that passion. Why do you want to lose weight? To have a better sex life in your marriage? To feel more comfortable in your clothes? To have more energy to keep up with your crazy energy bound kids? To be more confident to walk into a room of strangers? To feel just plain better because you are tired of feeling sick and tired? All of the above? Determine in the beginning what makes you passionate about this goal, mark it in big bold letters high in the sky, set yourself on fire, and go!
Now, as you roll onward with your fiery heart and banner set ablaze with determination, prepare yourself to fall down. Many, if not all, people fall their way to success. That multi-billion dollar owner of that cool thing you just saw on TV had about 50-100 previous cool ideas that was thought to be a success. That incredibly toned fitness model that you most likely could bounce a coin off her round little booty did skip the gym on one or more occasion and has been known to total a bag of tortilla chips from time to time. My incredibly handsome hardworking husband who started an new company that flourished in the first year worked his ass off, got discouraged on several occasions, and went months without getting any returns on leads. What is the common factor here? A burning passion coupled with permission to fail.
Failure doesn’t need to be a negative word if you don’t make it one. Failure is one of the most fantastic learning tools we have. In falling down, you learn how what not to do in order to avoid falling down again. This one may take a few spins around the merry-go-round, and thats ok. This is where open mindedness comes into play. If at first you don’t succeed and try try again is giving you a massive migraine, well try a different approach.
I thought for years tirelessly counting every last calorie that went into my body was the only way I could be thin. I tried, failed, tried again, failed again, got sick of trying, binged, tried, binged some more, tried again. After beating myself in the head for a few years (my stubbornness beaming through) I finally let go of the fact that this method was not working. In fact it was creating more damage by igniting obsessive compulsive behaviors. I finally let go and went down a different road. The passion was still there. I burned with the need to be healthy, feel good about myself, and not struggle with food (insert head slap for thinking counting every calories would get me to not struggle with food). However, I allowed myself to fall. I picked my butt back up, sometimes faster and stronger than others, and refused to lose site of the goal. I reworked some things, fine tuning methods as I went.
So many people fall, maybe get up a few more times, fall again, and quit. Giving yourself permission to fall from time to time is honoring the fact that you are human. It’s investing empathetic energy back into yourself for a change. This whole thing to better health is a journey. People often forget that the journey never ends. There is the journey to losing the weight. Then there is the journey to learning to maintain the weight. Then there is the journey to breaking those extra pesky small habits with food that are unhealthy. Then there is the journey to loving yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin. All of these things are tightly interwoven into each other without end. To make the most out of your journey, honor and respect your imperfections as a human being and embrace the event of falling down when it happens, so you can quickly pick yourself back up again.