9 Dieting Paradoxes that Make Perfect Sense - Part 1

Weight loss can make smart people look silly, confound roomfuls of award-winning scientists, and baffle the rest of us, who are otherwise competent and brilliant in our own right. Somehow the mysterious answers still elude us.

Part of the mystery and frustration could be that we often look at the whole dieting question backwards. There are a number of assumptions and beliefs we often hold that are actually the opposite of what’s really true. However, there are some paradoxes (statements that seem contradictory but are actually true) that you should hold onto. Putting these to use will help you see progress and, more importantly, gain confidence.

There are 9 Goal Achievement Paradoxes that you can apply to your weight loss goals, or any part of your life. Here are the first three. Perhaps they can lend some insight for how to solve some puzzles in your own life:

PARADOX 1: Perfectionism does not lead to perfection.
Excellence is a good thing. So is working as hard as possible to create, build, and perform to the best of your abilities. But what you may not realize is that trying to be perfect can actually hinder your chances of being excellent.

The pursuit of perfection comes with an ugly flip side: a fear of failure, or fear of making a mistake. This fear keeps a lot of people from trying something different or learning a new skill. They'd rather not try than go through the anguish of not doing it perfectly. The perfectionist likes to stick with things she knows that she can do.

To succeed, you need to grow, learn, and expand your world. By erasing your opportunities for testing the water, perfectionism limits your growth, and takes away your chances of finding a more excellent path.

That's why your physical foundation is so critical. It gives you the confidence and support you need to take those chances, to recover from mistakes, and test the limits of possibility.

PARADOX 2: The harder you work, the more fun you’ll have- Really!
There's a time for work. There's a time for play. And sometimes they happen to be one and the same.

We all know people who say their jobs don't really feel like work. That's because they absolutely love what they're doing. They consider themselves lucky to have work that’s fun, or to be part of something they really believe in. The secret is, this can happen in any area of your life—not just your career.

Your goals reflect your interests, what you'd like to do, and what you care about. Can you think of a more fun way to use energy than on stuff you deeply enjoy and hold dear? If it sounds a bit idealistic, it is. But going after something you really want is what makes it fun.

You'll still need gallons of elbow grease, but goals shouldn’t seem like work at all. It's your playtime.

PARADOX 3: Focusing on only one area can hurt your progress in that area.
Building a healthy lifestyle while emphasizing a key part of your life is important. But that foundation is just the beginning, and can't happen by itself.

Your healthy habits can work together to take your life to another level. Improvement in one area helps—and depends on—the others. To reach your full potential in anything, you can't neglect all to zero-in on one.

For example, you could become decently creative if that's all you focused on. But for impressive progress, you'd also need to pay attention to nutrition, fitness, sleep and stress management.

Limiting your focus too much can not only hinder progress, but it can also be harmful. Losing sleep, eating poorly and living with stress are common mistakes people make when they're obsessed with a goal. In the short term, it may be effective, but results could reach new heights in the long run if these important needs aren’t neglected.