We've all been there. We decide we want to lose a few pounds. We feel motivated and excited and ready to take on the world. It seems so achievable. Then quietly a little self-doubt begins to creep its way into our thoughts, and we start wondering if it's even possible.
When we choose to lose weight, it's a life-changing decision. It's not necessarily an easy destination, but it doesn't need to be difficult either. We should be excited and motivated, because by achieving our goal, we will not only make positive changes in all areas of our lives but along the way, we will learn things about ourselves that we would never have expected.
Then why is it that so many people choose to embark upon this journey, yet fail to start?
Every weight loss journey begins with the best of intentions. No one starts or plans to fail, yet statistics show, that most do. Even more surprisingly, many people don't even start! They become overwhelmed by what may feel like an unachievable task. They focus on where they are today, and just how much weight they need to lose before they achieve their goal. They fixate on a weight loss number and not the journey itself. The destination seems impossible to achieve, and as a result, they feel overwhelmed and begin to procrastinate.
Procrastination is a horrible thing. It robs us of our confidence and our ability to make life changing improvements. Plan and simple, it keeps us from getting started. We delay taking action, and become focused on less important, more pleasurable tasks until eventually our goals are all but forgotten.
Here's the reality, if you want to achieve something big and life changing, you must take the first step. There is no way around it. If you don't start, you can never cross the finish line. You wanted to take this weight loss journey for a reason, it was important to you when you set the goal. Recognize the significance of its importance, and understand that you are just overwhelmed and that it's okay for you to feel that way.
Why is getting started so hard?
- Self-sabotage. Be aware that you may be sabotaging yourself by procrastinating. If you find that you keep making excuses for starting your weight loss journey, it may be because you feel overwhelmed.
- Failure. Don't be afraid to fail. The only way you can fail at weight loss is if you stop trying and quit. Along the way, you may feel like it's impossible, but if you stay in the race long enough, it will be possible! You may not achieve losing the number of pounds that you set for yourself at a desired date. But if you were working towards your goal, you are likely closer than when you started. That's success, not failure!
- Understand that you might need to start more than once. Persistence will win every time. If you want something bad enough you must keep at it until you succeed. There is a Japanese saying, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight.” In essence, it means, that successful people don't always win without facing a few set backs. What sets the successful apart from the others, is that they keep trying, and they don't give up. They accept that challenges and failures are simply opportunities that when overcome, will move them closer to victory.
What Stands Between You and Success?
What stands between you and successful weight loss? It can be as simple as planning your journey and taking action.
- Goal. Set your overall goal outside of your comfort zone. It should challenge you. It should change your life and the lives of those around you. But don't be delusional, it should also be realistic. Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is considered healthy weight loss.
- Why. Know why achieving this goal is important to you. What will your life look like once you achieve it. Visualize it. Feel it. Write it down. Be very clear on why it matters to you. There will be days that the “why” will be what keeps you going or gets you back on track.
- Planning. Break down your goal into smaller pieces, what I like to call Step Goals. These are little milestones along the way to your ultimate goal. Don't make the Step Goals all about the number on the scale. Remember, losing weight is about making a lifestyle change. It's a good idea to have the majority of your Step Goals as actionable steps that will lead you to your overall goal.
- Get Started. Take the first step, it's the most important thing you can do. Put your plan in motion. Set a Step Goal that is easily achievable. Maybe you want to exercise every day, or eat a salad daily or stop drinking coffee and switch to green tea. Whatever it is, set a time frame of about a week for your first Step Goal. You'll build momentum and confidence along the way if you break down your overall goal, and you're far more likely to be successful!
Remember, there's no reason to allow your feelings of being overwhelmed to lead you down the road of procrastination. You don't need to achieve your overall goal overnight. Just make a plan, take small steps, and most importantly, take the first step. I think Robbie Vorhaus said it best, and it has become the way I like to think of my starting point:
"This very moment is the end of my past and the beginning of my future!"