I have had some success recently losing weight and getting in better physical shape. This was the result of changing my bad eating and exercising habits. You would think this a good thing and now I have good habits. You’d think!
Be Wary of Success
To be honest, I have lost a large portion of the weight twice over the past year. Like most humans, I have a tendency to stop doing the things that brought me the success the minute I achieve the success. What should be a moment of celebration turns into a month-long return to the bad habits that got me in trouble in the first place. For many of us, there’s a complacency that appears when we think we have arrived. We relax for a minute, which turns into a day, which turns into forever.
To avoid allowing bad habit to reappear when times are good, and goals are being met consider these tips:
4 Tips for Staying the Course
1. Establish your “WHY” – If I merely want to lose a certain number of pounds, when I hit that number I am tempted to be done. I made it. It feels a lot like a completed project and I can now get back to regular programming. If, however, I establish my WHY as “improve my health and fitness so I can live long enough to dance at my granddaughters wedding” I am more likely to see the weight loss as milestone and not the end of the project.
2. Celebrate, but Don’t Obliterate – There’s a big difference between accomplishing a goal and achieving a milestone. If your WHY is strong then you should be able to establish milestones or a scorecard to know that you are making progress toward that WHY. If you view a milestone as the end of the journey it is very easy to claim, “mission accomplished” and return to bad habits. Celebrating milestones is a great time to remind yourself of the BIG picture goal and that you have not arrived.
3. Be Accountable for Making Progress and Staying the Course – One thing that always helps me is if I am working with others toward a goal. In the weight loss example, it helps that my wife is also in the battle with me. Accountability means ownership of the goal. It’s easy to blame circumstances or accept setbacks or make excuses. Being accountable means making a personal choice to overcome obstacles to achieve success.
4. Don’t let a Setback Define You – Any project worth doing is going to have challenges associated with it. Setbacks will occur. In the diet example, I had to face the fact that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve were going to happen. The lesson I have learned is that while there may be a setback on any or all of these occasions, you don’t have to keep piling on the failure. Stop. Assess. Learn. Restart. DO NOT GIVE UP because of a bad day.
Celebrate the good times and then lean into making them better. Don’t let good times and small wins distract you from moving consistently toward your bigger goals.