One of the quickest ways to disappointment is to give yourself strict, rigid rules that need to be followed to perfection.
One way in which we set ourselves up for disappointment and even more DE-motivation is through setting a time in our mind by which we “need” to achieve a specific outcome, or else is means we’re a failure or we suck.
“Amber, but what about goal setting? Don’t we need specific goals?”
In my opinion, goals are worthwhile ONLY if your approach to them allows for you to be gentle with yourself if you don’t achieve them. You cannot hold yourself accountable to a rigid timetable and also give yourself the win. It’s either/or. And I would argue that the latter is much more important as it applies to your happiness, and ALSO because it’s more empowering in the long run. Goal setting works in the short-term, but when the motivation is external (e.g. the threat of having to step on stage in a bikini), it doesn’t last in the long-term.
Here’s what happens when we set up a random timetable when it comes to our physiques and lose perspective when it comes to time:
We mistakenly feel like results can’t come fast enough. If we lose 5 lbs in the first week, it should have been 8. If we lose 7 inches in a month (incredible results by any standard), it doesn’t seem like all the much. If we need to lose 20 lbs by October and we only lose 17, it’s not good enough.
What is the rush? WHY do we feel like it all has to happen so fast?
I will give you this one key insight about time: The faster it comes OFF, the faster it comes back ON. Truth.
And despite what you may think, fast fat loss is actually not what you really want. The reason being that sustained fat loss is the result of many, many days, months and years of practicing good behaviors. Fast fat loss is a result of intense, willpower-based practices that, by definition, must rebound. You literally have not had THE TIME needed to turn those white-knuckling practices into habits yet. So inevitably, once willpower wanes, the old habits are still there, ready to override any ounce of willpower you try to muster.
Here’s a timetable for you: Today.
Focus on that and only that. What will you practice TODAY? Don’t think about tomorrow, next month or your vacation this Fall. Today is all you need to effectively practice your healthy habits. Your next meal. Your workout today. Get through that. Practice that.
And begin allowing your arbitrary timetable of expectations to fade into insignificance. It’s liberating! Knowing you get to practice (not be perfect!) a healthy lifestyle forever is empowering 🙂