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We think goals are the answer to motivate us, and THEY DO, but only to some extent. And the problem with weight loss-specific goals is that they have an end date.
I don't know about you, but every time I hit my goal weight or the scale said what I wanted it to say, I would celebrate. I would tell myself, “yay, now I can be a bit more relaxed with food!” And then I would, and I would instantly panic about regaining the weight.
When weight loss is your primary focus, you do what you need to do to lose weight without really thinking about how to make it a lifestyle. Goals are great for setting the direction for where you want to go, but HABITS allow you to create lasting change.
Specifically, here are three reasons why weight loss-focused goals fail and what to do instead.
Weight loss goals are only a momentary change
- Self-control helps you get through something at the moment
- Using restraint to say you aren't going to eat dessert after dinner makes you feel successful at that moment – but tomorrow is a new day
- When you are living a lifestyle where you can choose whether or not you want dessert based on how you feel, it doesn't change your life for the moment because you are just living your life
What to do instead: Focus on the long term. What do you want to feel like? Rather than what do you want to look like?
Weight loss goals are at odds with long-term progress
- Weight-focused goals create a yo-yo effect because when you reach the weight, restraint, and motivation become harder to hang on to.
- The purpose of setting a weight loss goal is to look a certain way. The purpose of changing your lifestyle is to feel a type of way.
What to do instead: Commit to a change in lifestyle
Weight loss goals put your happiness on hold
- Sets up the “Once I reach my goal weight, THEN I'll be happy”
- “Either-Or” Conflict
- either you achieve your goal weight and feel successful
- or you don't, and you feel like a failure
What to do instead: When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to permit yourself to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.