Do you ever look so far ahead at a goal that reaching it seems impossible? Does your goal seem so far away that you feel paralyzed and do nothing? That happens to me ALL the time. It happened to me last night. I have had a super busy past couple weeks and I have a couple more super busy weeks until the holidays. Last night I had to finish a final research paper for my grad class, study for my final quiz and take care of a couple things for work. And I still wanted to workout since I didn’t in the morning. So what did I do when all of these things started swirling around in my head? Curled up in a ball on the couch, under my blanket and listened to my husband scream at the Eagles/Pats game. I told myself that at 8 pm I was going to get up, do my 28 minute Tracy Anderson DVD, finish my tasks and be in bed by 10 pm. I essentially stuck to that plan but still I wasted a whole hour and a half laying on the couch scared. I was scared I wasn’t going to finish everything I had to do in the standard that I hold my work to.
I think this often happens with weight and health goals as well. We decide we want to lose weight, for example. But when we step on the scale or try on our favorite pair of jeans and realize just how much work we have to do to get to where we want to be it becomes an overwhelming task. The same thing happens on Monday mornings. We decide we want to eat healthy this week but the thought of planning 3 healthy meals and 2 healthy snacks, and skipping the cocktail at happy hour becomes too much to handle. That pressure alone makes us reach for the over sized bagel with cream cheese & a Salted Caramel Mocha.
Why is it that we don’t allow ourselves to take baby steps to get to our goals? Instead of looking at the mile marker in front of us, we always have our eyes fixated at the finish line. It’s the all or nothing mentality that continues to get us in trouble. Have you ever trained for a half marathon? Or a marathon? You download a training schedule, you start X number of weeks before the race as the plan instructs and by the day of the plan you are more than prepared for the race because you followed the schedule and it prepared you in enough time. We really should apply that to our health. Let’s say we want to lose 10 pounds. If we lay out a schedule for X number of weeks, in X number of weeks we’ll lose the 10 pounds. Nope, instead we try to lose 10 pounds in 10 days and never get there.
Recently one of my best friends and I started emailing each other everything we eat each day. (I highly suggest this activity if you have a good friend you feel comfortable doing this with). In a way I think we started this to combat Thanksgiving overeating and get ourselves back on track. However, this exercise has actually helped me see how much worse things seem in my heads than in reality.
It’s interesting how a day or meal I think is SO bad, my friend can find the positive in and vice versa when she sends me her food log. It’s helped me see how “one bad meal” is usually surrounded by 2 other goods ones. Writing out my food log daily helps me look at eating and health in manageable increments.
So I got to work early this morning and ate a protein bar & am currently drinking an iced tall soy latte. All I have to worry about next is lunch. Not dinner, not tomorrow, not next week, not Christmas, not next year. Just lunch. That’s easy.
Start small with your goals. There is no finish line, life doesn’t have a finish line. Our health and happiness will always be a journey, not a destination.