While tossing and turning last night with an annoying hacking cough, I kept thinking about what will make this healthy living change successful, where other efforts have failed. I'm beginning to believe that the focus on moment to moment choices rather than long-term goals may be the answer for me.
The pattern for me seems to be about six weeks of 'perfect' on plan diet, gradually adding exercise and setting an ideal goal at some point in the future (100 pounds in one year, 50 lbs by my birthday, a certain size by summer). What I've found is that I eventually become frustrated and overwhelmed if my progress isn't following a certain pattern (inches not dropping off, lower weight loss than expected) and I begin to believe all the negative voices in my head that tell me "you'll never make it" "what's the point" "you're a failure". I try to hang on to the small successful changes, but become depressed about not meeting expectations and turn to my old friend the binge creature.
I found myself thinking ahead this morning to wanting to fit into a pretty outfit by New Year's Eve. Then something amazing happened...I stopped myself right there and said..."It's okay if you don't" I realized that I can celebrate the small steps - avoiding the heavenly smelling, but calorie-laden treats at the coffee shop, making it half way through a dance aerobics dvd while still recouping from an ankle injury, sticking to the perimeter in the grocery store while hungry, and decreasing the amount of negative self-talk.
When I read through the Spark success stories out there, I see that many of you have adopted this strategy (setting small goals, living in the now, and shaking off slip-ups to get right back on track). For some, amazing goals have kept you moving forward with conviction day after day. If I'm to be honest with myself, I have to acknowledge that I'm just not that disciplined or structured (at least not yet in this lifetime). I have always needed a little wiggle room for my never-ending curiosity, mercurial mood-swings, changing tastes and tendency to get bored quickly.
I've decided to wake up each day and set some small goals for myself before getting out of bed (starting today). Today's goals: indulge in a store-bought coffee, but make breakfast at home, eat healthy throughout the day, run errands, check in with family, do some chores, spend a little time reading in the sun (lovely day) and last but certainly not least: pick an exercise dvd and do as much as I can (careful to avoid re-injury).
Those feel do-able, realistic and don't get the anxiety butterflies jumping around in my stomach. The other small thing I've added for the chocoholic in me is to allow something sweet each day. The fridge has some bite sized peppermint patties and skinny cow desserts as well as the fixings for the preferable healthy fruit smoothie.
As my father, the former marine, likes to say - follow the 7 P's (or 6 if you hyphenate lol):
"Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance"
The poor man had to deal with a daughter who preferred to fly by the seat of her pants in most cases. The bane of his existence lol.
Four of the goals are already accomplished, but I should probably get a move on if I want to fit the rest in today.
I hope you are all having a beautiful day.