Typically when I set my mind on a goal, it’s all I am focused on. If I want to lose weight, then my life becomes about losing weight. I always figured that that’s what it took to make a lasting change: being all about it.
But isn’t that a little like watching paint dry? What do you do when you’ve entered in all of your calories, done all of your exercise, and read all of the weight loss blogs? You have all this energy that you want to be putting forth towards your goal, but the truth of the matter is that the pounds are going to come off one at a time. Thinking about it more isn’t going to change that and that’s just how it is.
And I’ve noticed that for me, overly focusing on a goal leads to burn out. I put all of my time and passion into this ONE GOAL and it’s awesome for about two to three weeks. I pat myself on the back, tell everyone how amazing it was to change and how I am a whole new person, and then all of a sudden — BAM! — I hit a wall. It’s not that I don’t want to go the gym anymore, it’s that I utterly cannot fathom getting off of my couch and moving my body. I feel nauseous anytime I hear something about weight loss and I completely zone out. Cupcakes look amazingly more delicious than steamed vegetables and my resistance weakens. I start to realize that the magic of my transformation is gone and I am back in pretty much the same place I started from.
But in the past couple of years, change has been a little different for me. I’ve let go (mostly) of the “let it completely take over my life” mentality. And let me say: it has kept the improvement process way more interesting and I still have time to be me and do the things I enjoy (instead of surrendering only to one sole purpose).
So, how have I done this? Instead of putting everything I am into one area of improvement, I put most of my focus into one area, and then the rest into other things that I am also interested in changing. I’ve learned to multitask my progress. Instead of reading one self-help book about one topic, I read five or six about varying topics. I draw inspiration from different subjects and people to keep it fresh and widen my perspective. I prioritize my desires, but I don’t forget that the process is about becoming an overall better person, not just a person who’s really good at losing weight for a couple of weeks.
For someone like me, who can get bored very easily with routine and repetition, this is a revelation! I am able to change it up as soon as I get bored, but still continuously get closer to my goals. When one area of my life has plateaued, I can shift to another area and tinker with that a little bit and by the time that area has cooled off a little, that first area is ready to go again.
The truth of the matter is: although it’s exciting to give into one thing, unless we plan on living our lives like that all the time, it just doesn’t make any sense to approach it like that. Nowadays it’s cliche to say that anything we do is a “lifestyle change,” but in order to set yourself up for success, it’s best to think about how you can incorporate what you’re learning into your daily, weekly, and monthly life. Are you really ready to devote five hours a day to thinking solely about weight loss for the rest of your life? If yes, then maybe it’s your passion and you really should think about a career in that field. Otherwise, you’re probably going to burn out. So, give it your effort, give it your focus, but back up and think about the whole picture. It may feel like you are robbing yourself from making progress in one area by paying attention to another, but in fact, you’re setting yourself up to have a balanced, richer life — and at the end of that day, isn’t that what most of us are striving for?
Image Credit: Davis Doherty / Flickr