Often, we can achieve a certain health goal — getting to a certain weight, or jeans size, etc. — and arrive at a sort of “huh” feeling. Achieving a goal that wasn’t what we thought it was going to be calls for an expectation audit. It’s an invitation to ask ourselves, “what do I really want?” Avoid an expectation hangover and check your idea of success before you start planing for success. Take it back a step and redefine what it is you’re working toward.
Keep it simple
Health can get complicated. Counting calories, mixing foods and measuring things… it’s insane how difficult we can make it. But health is, ultimately, about feeling our best. This, at the end of the day, has absolutely nothing to do with a number on a pair of pants — or any number, anywhere.
Health writer Summer Tomato reminds us of some back to basics health advice: “When you focus on eating delicious, healthy foods and getting regular exercise (in any form), as the months and years pass goals like reaching a certain body weight or jeans size start to feel a bit contrived. This isn’t because physical appearance or achievements aren’t important, but as your metabolism changes and your body gets healthier it becomes clear that you can feel and look a lot better than you ever really imagined. What exactly defines the perfect weight or size anyway?”
I love this, because it reminds me that health isn’t this compartmentalized, measurable thing that can be reached when a certain number shows up on the scale, fits on the body or whatever. Health is about feeling a certain way. It’s a relationship with your body, with the stuff you put in it, with the world around you. Get back to basics, and re-adjust your thinking.
Know your why
If we want to achieve any goal, we need to have strong motivation to pull us through when the going gets tough. What’s your personal motivation for getting healthy? Uncovering the emotional connection you have to the outcome will help you stay focused, clear, and actually working toward the right thing. It’s easy to get bogged down by the how — tactics and plans, when it comes to health, and lose sight of the reason we’re on the path in the first place.
Without worrying too much about how you’re going to get there, hone in on why you want to. What’s really important to you about it? For example, say you want to be healthy for your kids (if you’re there yet). From there, further the why. Why do you want to be healthy for your kids? To be a great mom. Why do you want to be a great mom? To be a loving core support for your fam for as long as you live. That’s the goal of finding your why — to uncover some real compelling inspo. When you know your why, your goal seems much more easily achievable.
Consider the journey
When it comes health goals, if we consider success to be just a lower number on the scale, then the journey will feel like a struggle — and reaching and maintaining the goal will just just look like more struggle. This is a recipe for falling off the bandwagon. After getting back to basics and knowing your why, ask yourself: how might you redefine success so the journey doesn’t feel like pure deprivation or torture? If you aim to make success something like, for example, creating a new relationship with food in which making healthy choices starts to feel natural and easy, then all of a sudden, success looks a little more exciting and the journey to get there is worth sticking to.