The Secrets of Success: Look Forward, Not Back

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When we were researching and writing our best-selling book, The Spark, we discovered 27 secrets of success that thousands of successful SparkPeople members have used to reach their goals, lose weight and keep it off.

We're sharing 15 secrets from the book on the dailySpark from March 1-15.

Secret #14: Don't look back.
We define "successful" members as the people who have reached their goal weight OR lost at least 100 pounds but are still on track to reaching their ultimate goal. Of all of the most successful members we surveyed, literally ZERO percent said they let setbacks derail their efforts. How did they get back on track?

Of all successful members, 84% said that if they hit a setback in their pursuit of weight-loss or fitness goals, they just acknowledged the bump and quickly moved on to get right back on track.

In my opinion, this is one of the most important strategies you can master if you're going to succeed in long-term weight loss. It seems so simple, yet it's amazingly difficult for so many people to move forward after messing up or making a mistake—no matter how small. You may not even consider yourself a perfectionist, yet when it comes to weight loss, you suddenly expect perfect performance from yourself and beat yourself up when it doesn't go exactly as you had planned.

I know this feeling all too well. Growing up, I was Type A personality all the way. If I got a 95% on a test instead of 100%, it could push me to tears. When I gained weight in college, I was particularly hard on myself. When it came to losing that weight, I'd try the strictest, craziest diets ever and then get so mad when I failed that I'd further sabotage myself. You know the scene all too well. You expect to follow your eating plan perfectly, but then someone brings in doughnuts. You can't resist and you eat one. Then you're so mad that you "failed" that you eat another. Then you skip the gym. Then you eat ice cream for dinner. What's going on here? Despite the fact that behavior like that makes no sense at all, we do it all the time—and it's a big reason so many people fail at long-term weight loss. To quote one wise SparkPeople member (~INDYGIRL), "If you got a traffic ticket, you wouldn't go break every traffic law the rest of the day like you do when you eat a bite of pizza and just keep going. I like to remind myself that one slice of pizza is always going to have fewer calories than two slices of pizza."

We all need to learn to forgive ourselves in weight loss and in life. The most successful SparkPeople members have, simply by acknowledging their mistakes, learning from them, and moving on. What other choice do you have? No one is perfect—especially when it comes to weight loss! It may not happen overnight, but you CAN learn to forgive and move on, making you more likely to stay on track. Here are some SparkPeople resources that will help.
The Spark features story after motivational story of real-life people who learned how to put this secret into practice to reach their goals. Read their words--and get 12 more secrets to success--in The Spark.

Have you learned to overcome setbacks and continue pushing forward? How would you advise others to do the same?