We’re a few months in to 2015, and I can already tell the new year craze of “this will be the year I lose weight” is quickly dying down. I don’t think people fail at reaching their health goals because they aren’t capable, I think it’s because many people do not understand habits.
Habits are a type of memory, and to incorporate new habits into your life, they have to be as seamless as brushing your teeth. If you try to add in multiple, new, drastic habits (like trying to go to the gym every day up when you’ve never been to a gym before) that require consistent effort, then your new habits will most likely fail and you’ll go right back to old behaviors.
To fix this, a simple mindset shift goes far. Often, I find dieters focus on the outcome, and not the process itself of losing weight. Consider the subtle difference between the following 2 statements:
Subtle, but notice the difference? Statement A sounds like wishful thinking, something of the future that isn’t really attainable right now, nor are you putting effort into making it happen.
Statement B sounds like, alright, “I know I want to lose some weight, so let’s do this.” If I’m working with you with Statement B, we can easily reframe it into a question: What do you need to BE doing right now? From there, you can write out a detailed list of specific, measurable actions, anticipate obstacles, and plug it into a detailed plan on your calendar.
Focusing on the outcome also has another huge problem: What do you do when you lose the weight? Suddenly, you’ll need to learn new actions + habits just to help you maintain your weight.
This explains why so many dieters fail with some of the most popular weight loss programs out there. I don’t deny that many diets out there work when you are on the program. But what do you do after you lose the weight? Count calories or eat pre-packaged foods the rest of your life just to maintain your weight because that’s all you know how to do? That’s no way to live.
When you focus on the process rather than the outcome, you will lose weight, and you’ll also pick up healthy habits that stick with you for life.
Veronica Grant is a regular contributor to Make The World Move. Sign up to our free newsletter so you never miss an article!