A big pattern in my life is whenever I find myself starting again. As per usual, I’d lost motivation, fallen off track, and ended up heavier and sicker than I was before I started. It was a miserable feeling, but I wasn’t ever ready to fully give up.
Whenever that happened, I’d sit down to do the only thing I’d ever known to do - plan a way out.
My goal was always clear since I was a kid - I needed to lose weight. A LOT of weight…. at one point it was about 180 lbs worth. More importantly, I needed to do it quickly before my illness completely took over.
Now tell me that’s not a lot of pressure!
I drew up a plan, but it made me feel queasy. I’d never been able to keep to one before and the worse I felt physically, the harder I knew this would be.
Then again, no one has ever said it’d be easy.
So I’d set out, bursting with motivation and drive, and I’d totally crush it… for a few months. As soon as something stressful happened or a relapse hit, I’d completely falter and allow my success to crumble. I’d allow my old habits to come back.
I was frustrated, sure, but once I became aware of the pattern, it made me realize something huge…. this goal of mine, while very real and necessary, felt far too big for me to focus on. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to lose that much weight and even if I could, the vision felt soooooo far away. I used to give myself SUCH a hard time about not being strong enough to just finally freaking do it already, but it turns out, my failures weren’t about my abilities at all.
In fact, it was my expectations that were getting in the way. It was my focus on this gigantic end goal that I wasn’t really sure I could reach.
Should You Have Goals?
Now, I’m not going to tell you NOT to have goals. In fact, I highly think you should not only set goals, but I think you should spend time figuring out why you want it.
What will hitting that goal give you? Maybe you want to lose weight to attract a partner so you can fall in love or you want to eat well to manage your cholesterol so you can be healthy to play with your kids when they’re older.
Once you know the real reason behind the goal, then you can start to create real ACTIONABLE goals that you can understand and relate to.
Why Do Big Goals Set Us Up For Failure
When you’re dieting, notice what you’re thinking about. I’ll give you a moment….
Okay, let’s be real… you’re thinking about FOOD. Of course you are! And when you’re thinking about food, what do you want to do? EAT.
What you’re thinking about is what you’re paying attention to. That’s what you’re giving your energy to and if it isn’t serving you, it’s screwing you up.
So how does this play into big goals? Well, when you have a big goal, it generally takes a little while to get to the end. You have to put in some serious energy, commitment, and time into this project and if you’re only thinking about the end goal, you’ll probably lose your motivation along the way. You start to think about how much you really really really want that goal and get frustrated that it’s taking so long. That’s the moment where everything starts to get all messed up.
If you start thinking about how you don’t have what you want, it attaches pain to the process. You get annoyed with going to the gym and eating well because they’re things you’re only doing to hit a goal and if you haven’t reached it, frustration is bound to take over.
So What Can You Do?
Ok, so obviously I understand how infuriating this situation can feel because the goal never goes away. Even when you’re trying to lose weight and you say “FORGET IT” and eat an entire sleeve of Oreos… you know in your heart that you’ll have to get back on the wagon soon because that goal is never going to disappear.
I’ve been trying to lose weight since I was 8 years old and through trial and error, weight loss and weight gain, I finally understand what blocks most of us and how to overcome.
That giant goal is adding PRESSURE onto your mind and do you know what happens when a container has too much pressure? It pops! Popping can come in the form of a meltdown, a binge, or even giving up entirely (for a few months or so).
The way to escape that problem is by setting up SMALL and REALISTIC goals that you can understand. Ones that you can feel and visualize with ease.
Instead of setting out to lose 180 lbs, set out to lose 10.
Instead of trying to heal your illness, set out to minimize one symptom.
Instead of trying to run a marathon, set out to run for a minute straight.
Instead of trying to overhaul your entire diet, set out to eat a healthy breakfast each day.
Instead of trying to meditate for 30 minutes, 2x/day, try 5 minutes, 1x/day.
Do you see the difference?
Once you have the smaller goal, focus on it.
Create a plan to hit THAT goal… and then once you do… create another.
You see, you don’t have ONE big goal… you actually have a bunch of small goals that altogether make this giant change. You don’t have to be at your end goal tomorrow, so why are you even thinking about it? You know the goal and you’re putting in the time and energy to build a strong foundation that will lead you exactly where you want to go.
The desire to hit your goals isn’t going anywhere, so do yourself a favor and let go of the pressure to get there ASAP. No one cares about how many times you fail… but they’ll care about how well you succeed. Show them that it’s possible, one tiny goal at a time.