It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This quote came to mind over the weekend as I caught up with (or attempted to) my blog reader. We’re entering the last week of February, and I’m picking up on some disappointment out in the weight loss segment of the blog world. The initial enthusiasm and high expectations of the new year are starting to fade as the reality of achieving lasting weight maintenance sets in. We tell ourselves that any loss is a good loss, which is true, but we still hope for weekly losses of two or more pounds each and every week without exception. Frustration sets in as we realize that neither real life nor our bodies got the memo on that, and repeated frustration often leads to a lessening of our resolve.
I lived that scenario for at least a couple dozen cycles before I realized that I was “climbing a ladder leaned against the wrong wall,” to use Steven Covey’s description. My wall was the number of pounds I lost. Period. Better health–physical and emotional–would follow the weight loss. And that may have been true to some degree, but I couldn’t control the pounds I lost or the time frame in which I lost them. When the eventual plateau hit, I would grow frustrated and lose my way.
The solution turned out to be fairly simple: I moved my ladder. I switched to another wall and focused on changes that would help me achieve better health, believing all the while that weight loss would follow. But even if it didn’t, I knew that I would feel better and be better for taking those steps. Each rung of the ladder–things like eating 5-7 fruits and veggies every day, adding in whole grains and healthy fats, choosing lean proteins, exercising six days a week, and getting the proper amounts of sleep–was a goal in and of itself as well as a path to success.
I know that we all approach the challenge of weight loss differently, but if you’re feeling frustrated by a lack of progress (real or perceived), may I suggest you consider shifting your focus–changing ladders, if you will–and making the steps of the process your goals, rather than the number of pounds lost.
If it worked for me, it might just work for you!