Set rules not goals

I’ve been saying “I want to lose weight” since I was seventeen and my mom got me my first diet book. Needless to say, that did not end well and I’ve been yo-yo dieting since then. It’s a long time to feel bad about your body, I can tell you that.

But because of all my previous failures, I’ve learned one thing: it’s bad to set goals. When you say “My goal is to lose 10 pounds”, you are setting yourself up for failure. You may end up losing the 10 pounds, you may even end up keeping it off for good. But the majority of people will not. They will set these unrealistic goals that they have no idea how to reach and when they fail, they will feel bad about it and end up being discouraged and find solace in food, triggering a never ending spiral of pain, hunger and humiliation. Especially humiliation. Can you tell I’ve been there?

So rather than hurting ourselves like that, wouldn’t it be better if we approached losing weight from another angle? Rather than saying: “I want to lose x pounds in 3 months”, wouldn’t it be easier to say: “I want to go to the gym 3 times a week”? Create a set of rules that will promote good health, rather than setting unrealistic goals?

We all know that in order to be healthy we need to eat right and have physical activities every day. And, even if we don’t want to admit it, we all know in our hearts what that means for each of us. For me it means reaching for the vegetables not the french fries. It means going for a walk in the evenings after a hard day’s work instead of mindlessly watching TV. It means finding time to meditate instead of feeling busy all the time. And out of these good things to do, I’ve created a process that get’s me going, even if the scale is not showing me a lot of love yet. I trust that following these rules will get me where I want to go and there is no pressure on me. The weight will come of eventually. In the mean time I’m getting healthier every day.

I’ve been going to the gym for 6 months now, which is nothing short of a miracle for me. I may not see a big improvement in my weight, but I can run faster, go longer, lift more. I haven’t had a cold in these last 6 months. I’m feeling better than ever. The old me would look at the scale and say, “I haven’t lost the weight I should have, I’m never going to be slim and fit”, and then she would have reached for the chips. The new me trusts in the rules I’ve implemented in my life and feels good.

Be good to yourself, set good, healthy rules, not unattainable goals.  And if those rules don’t work, tweak them a bit. Sometimes you need to walk before you can run.

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