A couple of weeks ago WW asked a question in the weekly given to members each week (currently online versions only) as part of that weeks topic. The same question I asked of members in my workshops when we would discuss goals—seasonal, holiday, long-term, short-term— and it had me thinking.
What does success look like to you??
We are in the midst of uncertain times. Days are filled with stress, worry, interrupted routines….. life does not look the way it did a few months ago. Change is hard. Emotions can make the journey of weight loss and being healthy difficult. Old habits can creep back in, unnoticed at first and then…. Well, before we know it old habits are the go-to, taking the control from our newer, healthier habits. And we wonder what the heck happened!
I have been asking myself every day for the past couple of weeks—What does success look like to me? What will make me feel good and successful when this pandemic is over, the stay-at-home order is lifted, and life gets back to “normal” for me? Where do I want to be on my journey when I get to be back in my comfort zone? Ahhh…….THAT comfort zone. Where I feel safest, where things are easy, where change doesn’t happen…. But, as I have said before, stepping outside my comfort zone is where the greatest growth happens. Maybe, just maybe, defining success for me and what it looks like, will help me to navigate this uncomfortable area, give me a goal and a focus for taking care of me and help me continue down the path of being the healthiest and best version of me that I can be…
What does success look like to me, now? An important question. Asking it makes me look at my journey, and what I want, what is important. Without asking and defining success for me, I cannot set goals or identify the steps I need to take that will help me move toward that success. Without asking and defining success, I am essentially choosing to let emotions and old habits take over…. I would be traveling down a road with no plan, no map, no eventual destination, eventually ending up in a place I do not want to be.
So, I have been asking the question every day. And the answer hasn’t been easy to find. I know that long-term I want to be at or below my goal weight. I want to be healthy. Don’t we all? So WHY is it SO HARD to define and picture what success looks like for me—success at the end of April? The end of May? The end of this pandemic?
Worry, sadness, loneliness, stress, anger, anxiousness…… those darned emotions! Uncertainty. Not knowing what is going to happen. Not being able to CONTROL what is going to happen. Being outside my comfort zone where I have little control over events. Yes, these are the things that make it difficult to focus on my goals, on me.
Yet, I have NOT lost all control. I control my choices, though the choices are limited and different right now, I still have a choice. I control my attitude and how I react to the things that are outside my control. I GET to choose what success looks like for me, despite the current circumstances I find myself in. So, I have not really lost ALL control.
Once again, I go back to that question asked a couple weeks ago—What does success look like to you? For each of us, it will look different—losing weight, maintaining weight, not gaining more than a few pounds… or not weight related at all, instead success is a behavior—continuing to move every day even if it is in a different way, or controlling portions or any other behavior that moves us toward health and weight loss. Defining what success looks like will help us to set a goal and then the plan for how to get there can be formed.
Taking everything into consideration, I have finally come up with what that looks like for me. Success for me is NOT going to be focused on weight, though weight loss will be a benefit of achieving my success. And frankly, focusing on the weight right now is just too darn stressful. So I am taking a break from the scale and removing some stress at a time when stress is so high. INSTEAD I am going to FOCUS on something a little less stressful for me. Success for me, when this is all over, will be that I tracked most days. Success means I paid attention to my portion sizes, sticking to small portions, weighing and measuring them.
I CANNOT control much right now, but I CAN make a CHOICE to be mindful when I eat, even if the food is higher in points. Portions and tracking are key to success for me. When this is over, and I look back on these months of uncertainty, I will be proud of myself for tracking and for controlling my portions. I know I won’t necessarily be perfect, which isn’t what this is about. As long as I track and pay attention to portions MOST days, FORGIVING myself for the times I slip a little, then that is TRUE SUCCESS! And I will feel successful, no matter what the scale says.
Because, sometimes success IS NOT about the scale. Sometimes success is about a BEHAVIOR. Especially when that behavior gives me some control at a time when life is feeling so out of control. And right now, controlling what I can and letting go of the rest is most important.
My goal through this is to track, weigh and measure my portions and make the best choices I can, for me right now. Now I can set my course, map my route and create a plan.
FIRST STEP is just to track ONE meal and the portions. Focus on ONE meal. My food scale and measuring tools are on my counter to remind me to pay attention to portions. First step. One step.
Going to just take this one-step-at-a-time. One-day-at-a-time. One-meal-at-a-time. One-choice-at-a-time.
The benefit is that I will be more mindful, more present, more focused. And we all know that the scale follows along, eventually.
What does success look like to you? What will make you feel successful when this lockdown is over, and life starts to get back to normal? Where do you want to be the end of April? The end of May?
Once you decide what success looks like for you and what your goal is, then ask yourself, “What is ONE thing I can do right now, TODAY, THIS WEEK that will get me on the path toward success?”
CAN you do that one thing? WILL you do that one thing?
One step at a time. One day at a time. One choice at a time.