Creating new habits can be difficult, especially when the rewards for the new behavior may be more long-term; with higher immediate rewards for the old habits. Weight loss is certainly a goal where achieving the desired rewards takes time and patience, and giving up some of those short-term gratifications.
When you make the decision to stay on track, or deviate from, your goal and creating your new habit, do so mindfully. If you decide to move away from your goal for this meal, moment, or day, do so with full awareness of the pros and cons of such a decision. We will all have moments, situations, life events, stressors, etc. that get in the way and have the potential to get us off track. Learning to lose weight, and live a life, of moderation – with mindful decision making – will help you stay on track to meet those long-term rewards, despite some more immediate gratification along the way.
Tips to stay on track for the long-term…
- Each day and week, take inventory of your to-do list, events, special occasions, deviations in schedule, etc. to know in advance what has the potential to cause stress or get you off track of your goals.
- For each of those moments, decide in advance how to best handle the situation. If you decide to get off track for a meal, moment, or day, plan now how and when you will get back on track.
- Example: You have a work dinner tonight so will eat at a restaurant and want to enjoy the food. Schedule a workout and plan for healthy meals tomorrow (exactly what you will eat, when you will prepare it, or where you will get it).
- When considering whether or not to get off track, consider the reasons why. Is it simply one of your typical excuses?
- Excuses are dangerous because they can often be readily available, but too often they become too frequent, too short-term gratifying, and away from those long-term goals. You may be tired, but you can make a case for being tired every day. This likely is not a good enough excuse to skip a workout (unless you have already exercised 3-4 times this week and you truly need that break). Monitor your overall situation, be honest with yourself, and evaluate your excuses with care.
Life will get in the way, and no one needs to be 100% perfect all of the time to succeed in any goal. Make the conscious choice to indulge, skip a workout, change your meal plan, etc., just do so with a specific plan for staying on track for the long-term. This will also make it less likely you will give in and tell yourself, “well, I had one bad meal, I might as well eat poorly the rest of the day.” Choose to get off track periodically, but back on track the next meal or exercise session. Being mindful of, and taking responsibility for our decisions, goes a long way in reducing the guilt associated with getting off track.
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