Life goes in cycles, as does this journey. Just when you think you’re there, you’re often right back where you started. How many times have you said something like, “It takes six months to lose weight and one week to put it back on.” Happens here to me too, but not this time. This time I’ve realized success comes from having the right mindset. Willpower isn’t the answer after all. Determination, perseverance, grit, focus and mindset are the tools you will need, for you will most definitely have setbacks along the way.
In the past when I’ve had a setback I’d quit, give up and start the pity party. You know the one that involves food, wine and bad habits. Before I’d know it I’d be up ten pounds. Then I’d get disgusted and start saying, “Why bother.” It’s so much easier to give up. This journey we are on is truly a hard one. It is work, harder work than anything you’ve done before because you are never done. This is a lifetime commitment. That’s why I believe our mindset is the key to success. Most people avoid failure at all costs, but on this journey you will experience failure and need to learn that in these failures lie our victories.
One way to develop our healthy mindset is to focus on the small steps we take along the way. Forget about the scale for now and focus on your actions. If you walked 5,000 steps last week on average and this week you walked 6,000, that’s progress. If you drank wine every night last week and this week you had two glasses on Friday night that’s progress. Any and all progress must be celebrated, not just weight loss. That’s why I keep saying write stuff down. That habit will enable you to see and recognize progress.
Another way is to set realistic goals. It is not realistic to expect to lose 30 pounds in one month. Sure, it can be done, but we know that in most cases of sudden weight loss, it goes right back on. Generally, that’s because we did something drastic to lose it that can’t possibly be maintained. One to two pounds per week is a healthy, realistic goal and one that could become a lasting change. The same concept applies to your fitness goals. It is not realistic to set a goal to run everyday when first starting out. You will likely start out strong and very quickly lose stamina. Partially this will be due to your body be tired and partially due to falling in a rut. A more realistic goal is to do some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. This goal gives you so many options to choose from – walking, running, swimming, biking, Zumba, weightlifting, yoga, gosh the possibilities are endless and fun. This goal will set you up for success and a healthy habit will form.
Finally, meal planning will set you up for success far better than going day by day. Set a goal to plan your meals realistically. There are seven days in a week. When I meal plan, I plan to cook 3-4 meals per week. With my schedule, that is realistic and won’t leave me throwing out spoiled, uncooked food when life gets in the way. It also won’t leave me feeling pressured, or overwhelmed by all the food waiting to be cooked. With 3-4 meals, I’ll have leftovers for lunch and/or dinners and a manageable goal.
Success breeds success. I’m sure you’ve heard that saying many times in your life. It is true, especially on this journey. We all want the feeling of success and if we dont experience it on a regular basis, this hard fought battle will be lost. This week, set some realistic goals for yourself that will enable you to celebrate small personal victories. Live in and cherish those victories, then set more realistic goals. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will continue forward.
Expect setbacks along the way. I’ve sustained two major injuries over the past few years. A torn peroneal tendon required major surgery and rehabilitation. I was unable to run for over a year. Exercise was limited. Using my new found mindset and tools, I pushed through despite some temporary weight gains. Swimming became my new best friend and saving grace. I remember walking through the gym with crutches and then a cane. Practically crawling into the pool left me very self conscious, but I did it for my personal victory. This year, I stained a femoral stress fracture which left me unable to do cardio, even swimming or walking. Nothing! I’ve pushed through despite a slight rise in my weight. I did chair weight lifting daily sessions until I was able to add in some leg work. This kept me on the track towards my goals and kept me in the game. When you experience a setback, dig deep and remember why you started. There is always something you CAN do if you focus on that. It’s way too easy to get lost in what you CAN’T do. Way too easy to fall back. With these simple, realistic small changes you can create a mindset and habits that will carry you through.
How’s it going for you? I’d love to hear. Join my Facebook accountability group to share your journey and stay on the road to health. Send me an email, or leave a comment to be added to this private group. Have a great week and please remember to take it one day at a time.