It’s that time of year again. Everyone is talking about summer weight loss. The internet is covered with posts on the best diets and weight loss hacks to get fit for summer… and it seems like everyone is in a bid to lose weight!
Interesting that for most people, weight-loss goals are strongest twice a year – first in the new year with resolutions to get fit and healthy… and then again in the summer months to get fit for the beach!
Each time you promise yourself that you’ll stick to your goals and eat healthy and workout regularly. But after some time, life gets in the way and then most of us stop. And if you stop, you feel guilty and beat yourself up for not sticking to it. And the cycle begins again.
Let me share with you a quick story… Two years ago one of our patients Julie came to see me mid-January and said: “This year my resolution is that by new years eve I’ll finally be able to set a resolution that’s NOT to lose weight!” I asked her why she didn’t make a different resolution this year, and Angela said it was because she really, badly needed to lose 2-3 stones first.
“How long have you been setting this resolution for?” I asked, “About 10 years” she said, “I won’t be happy until I lose 2-3 stone, so I’ve really got to stick to it this year.”
Does this sound familiar to you too? Many of us think getting motivated to reach a goal requires tough-love and setting things we think we should do to fit in to be ‘accepted’… but the reality is they usually come from a place of feeling shame or not feeling ‘good enough’. So it’s not your fault if you feel this way!
Fitness and fat-loss are advertised in our faces everywhere. Despite the fact that these kind of goals have the opposite effect on motivation than we hope, most people continue to set them, and get frustrated when they can’t reach them.
By the time Angela walked into my clinic that day, she had 10 odd years of heavy guilt and shame weighing down her goal to lose weight. So I flat out told her she was going to find it hard to reach that goal again if she kept the same goal and suggested she make her goal forgiveness for not losing it yet. “That’s all you want me to do?!” she asked looking confused. “Yes! That’s all!” I replied.
Why? Because year after year when you have the same goal and don’t reach it, each year it becomes harder to believe you’ll ever accomplish it, and each year you feel worse that it goes unaccomplished.
Nothing kills the achievement of your goals faster than the fear of repeated failure...
So here’s my big tip for you this year when it comes to your resolutions: How about we make a pact to be kinder to ourselves instead of setting out on a mission to improve ourselves with goals that if we stumble on and fall over, we beat ourselves up over?
If you find yourself slipping off track with the goals you’ve set – forgive yourself. You haven’t failed just because it’s mid-summer and you’ve already stopped. You can get back on track and pick yourself up. Of course it’s easier said than done.
Being kind to yourself is a difficult thing to do. But while it might take a lot more self-reflection than counting calories and drinking green juices, giving yourself endless chances is the path to successful goal setting in any area of your life.
Not allowing yourself to feel like a failure is very important. Instead, look at small but CONSISTENT steps you can take daily to help you achieve your goals. Because in life, it’s a lack of consistency that prevents you from achieving your plans.
So have a plan, set mini goals to achieve your overall goal. Celebrate the achievements you make along the way and know it’s ok to slip up, you’re human, I slip up all the time! All you’ll be far more likely to stick to the healthier habits you’ve set yourself this year. What goals you’ve set yourself for the rest of this year?