Do Your Goals Seem Just Out of Reach? Quit First.
by Mary LoVerde
This is my photo of the bathroom in a recent hotel stay. The caption could also be, “To what ‘lengths’ will you go to get what you really want?”
By now many of us have set our new year’s goals and probably more than some of us have already reverted back to our evil ways.
Statistically our odds of staying on track aren’t great (about 12% of us have the stick-to-it-ness to succeed.) There are many reasons, excuses and dog-eaten homework assignments to describe this phenomenon. I’ve come to learn that one of the biggest barriers to our success is that after we have set our intention to lose weight, save money, stop yelling at our kids and or finally start meditating we fail to first quit everything that is in the way of what we really, really want.
Yes. I know. It is counterintuitive. Who wants to be a quitter? My answer is: Everyone who wants to be successful.
Why is it so imperative that we quit first and act second? Because unless we do, it is going to feel like we are swimming in wet cement, lots of effort and exhaustion without much to show for it.
Let’s take the perennial favorite intention: losing weight. Before you start on the Cabbage, Russian Pilot, Five Day Caveman or All-You-Can-Eat Kumquat diet there are things (attitudes, beliefs, actions and expectations) that you are going to need to get rid of, for example:
Quit thinking you can do this alone. Human willpower is not all that strong of a muscle and fatigues quickly when it is craving, hungry, bored, in a hurry, needy, emotional, tired, stressed out or angry. And you’re probably going to be many of those things in the first few weeks of your new eating program. Once you quit the illogical plan that you should go solo you can partner with Oprah or Jenny or your sister or best friend. Now someone has your back when you think that just one Twinkie won’t matter.
Quit thinking you will lose weight without exercise.
This belief has gotta go. First of all, only 17 percent of people report that they exercise while on a weight loss diet. I know from behavioral research that some people exaggerate ever so slightly when reporting good habits, not that I am implying that any of us would. But the importance of exercise cannot be overstated. In fact, according to the National Weight Loss Registry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, people who lose weight and keep it off for a year or more exercise an average of 60-90 minutes daily. Chant after me: Diet AND exercise, diet AND exercise…
Quit leaving the temptations around.
My best friend, Brenda, makes the most amazing oatmeal, chocolate chip-walnut cookies. Please understand that these are not your ordinary homemade cookies. Not only are they moist, chewy and delicious, they can TALK. I know because I hear them call my name even though they are in the freezer in a zip lock bag under three pounds of frozen hamburger. They are in a word, irresistible. I have virtually no chance of staying on my low-carb diet if they are anywhere on the premises. I love the anonymous truism: Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell. I have to quit everything that is in the way of staying within my caloric deficit goal and that means letting go of the goodies.
So, you get the idea. Now think about the goals you have set. If your compliance with your new year’s plan is getting wobbly, look at everything that is in the way, write them down and vow to quit them first.
I fervently hope that your goals in 2017 all remain easily within arm’s reach.
Wishing you a lifetime of connection.