- Start with small, easy, accomplishable goals
Use human nature to your advantage!
Basic behavioral principles say that when we are rewarded for something, we are more likely to keep expending effort. Keeping this in mind, set some PURPOSEFULLY easy goals in the beginning. I’m talking minuscule, here. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, set an initial goal of going to the gym twice in one week. Seriously.
How it works
When you don’t achieve a goal, what usually happens? Do you pat yourself on the back and say “it’s okay” and tell yourself you’ll try better next time?
Well, some of you do. But, for the average person, this is not the case. Usually we have the tendency to beat ourselves up if we can’t reach a goal we’ve set for ourselves. This is especially rampant right now, since we have millions of people to compare ourselves to on social media!
“God Alyson, you seriously can’t make it to the gym 5 times a week? @FitislifeSarah on Instagram does it twice a day YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS TOO.”
If you set your initial goals small, you will achieve them with some ease. This will lead to, “YAY I achieved a goal!” Since you’re feeling so darn good about yourself, you’ll likely set another goal thats slightly bigger or more difficult, and so on and so forth.
Or, even better, you will supersede your small, early goals, which will lead to you feeling even BETTER about yourself.
2. Work within your limits (at first!)
You know that saying “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars”? This is a very sweet sentiment. However, what if we shoot for the moon and end up not even leaving planet earth? If you shoot for the moon, but life circumstances, hardships, your job, your relationship, whatever, gets in the way, sometimes you have trouble taking off altogether.
The F word comes to mind.
No, not that one. FAILURE.
This means that you will not land amongst the stars; rather, you will be in your spaceship feeling deflated and will want to drown in the nearest wine bottle.
Anything is Most things are possible, so absolutely go after your goals. Just make sure your goals are reasonable.
Shoot for the moon, but make sure the moon is within reach. Don’t shoot for the moon if all you have right now is a Prius. Take all the small steps first to build a spaceship!
(I’m done with the space puns, promise.)
Working within your limits is important, but this doesnt mean your limits can’t change! As you work toward your goals, you will learn and improve, and that is when you can extend that goal post a little bit further.
3. Stop “Should-ing” Yourself
How many times a day do you tell yourself, “I should be doing XYZ.” Who says you “should” be doing…anything? “Should-ing” yourself creates shame because you’re telling yourself what you are doing right now is not enough.
“But what if it’s true? What if what I am doing right now isn’t enough?”
Okay, I hear ya. If you’ve been on the couch all day and you have a million things that need to get done, maybe you do need to talk yourself up. But, what’s the point in beating yourself up about all the things you aren’t doing? Instead of saying “should,” practice replacing it with “want” or “need.”
For example, “I should be eating healthier.” Change this to, “I need to start eating healthier” if you want to to lose weight. If your goal is to lose weight, then eating healthier is an actual necessity.
“I should be exercising right now.” –> “I want to be exercising right now because I feel amazing after I do it.”
“I should go to therapy.” –> “I want to go to therapy to figure out my life.”
The other way switching “want” or “need” for “should” is “need” and “want” imply action. You can talk to yourself all the live long day about all of the things you “should” be doing, but this doesn’t mean you’re going follow up on it.
This may seem like a simple substitute of one verb for another, but if you continue to practice it, you’ll start to notice that not only are you accomplishing more of the things you WANT or NEED to do, you’ll feel less shame about yourself along the way.
4. Compare yourself to yourself, not to @FitisLifeSarah
Stop comparing yourself to others.
STOP. COMPARING. YOURSELF. TO OTHERS.
If you compare yourself to the person you were six months ago, is she better? Is she more focused? Has she learned? Has she overcome fears and obstacles?
Comparing yourself to others is not just bad for your emotional health, it’s a waste of your damn time. Why is it a waste of time? Your start line is the not the same as @Fitislifesarah, and neither is your finish line. What kind of f***ed up race is that? Not a very fair one. And TBH not a very fun one, either.
You are running your own race, there are no other participants. Set your own mile markers, and crush them. This will lead to more success and less stress along the way.