Switching Ladders for Success

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!

24 thoughts on “Switching Ladders for Success

  1. Hi Cammy, this is a fantastic post. And advice that we can ALL take and learn from. Thanks so much for your insight, your motivation and your inspiration!!! Have a great day.

  2. Fantastic post, Cammy…said twice for emphasis – FANTASTIC. First of all I love Goethe and M. Scott Peck (I must read his book again). I especially like that as soon as he realized that Life Wasn’t Fair, he didn’t have to worry about it any more and just accept it.

    My inside crazy brain is expecting this and that too, but I will not let it take over the sensible part of me that is doing this for life. There is no stopping. I’m moving my ladder.

  3. this blog world still amazes me…You have now given me a great visual for what I decided I was doing with all of this…….A ladder…a different wall…kind of like the other side of the street….so glad I found you and your blog!

  4. Great minds think alike…I just wrote something similar about how my weight loss is going!

    Love this outlook!

  5. Oh Cammy, what a beautifully written description of what is going on, and a good solution for those who are struggling. Me, I still try to move that ladder back over to the weight loss wall once in a while. Man, its nothing but frustration when I do that!


    in fitness and in careers (uh not that Id know a THING about that second one :))

  7. Cammy, I love this!!!!!!!!!! I think this may be my fav post of yours & that is hard to say cause I love them all. I think this can really help people!

    Thx for your wisdom!

  8. I feel the idea of Switching ladders is similar to discovering latent energy inside us. Great thought!

  9. I remember the saying “keep doing what you are doing and you will get getting what your getting” I use this a lot in my recovery world. It works just as well in real life. I like the action of moving the ladder to find a different path one that works and gives us what we are looking for. Love the analogy. You are so right that we are all going to succeed in different ways but it is so nice to get information, insight and advice from others around us. Great post! Thanks :-)

  10. I loved your post, Cammy. There’s lots of diet fatigue out here in Blogland–me included–and we’re so hard on ourselves. Setting weight loss goals that I, for one, am unlikely to achieve, makes for a frustrating, unhappy existence–and one crabby person at times! I’m thinking a bit differently today! I love your honesty, and I respect your experience. Love your blog!

  11. Hi Cammy–I like the metaphor of ‘changing ladders.’ That is what I am trying to do as well–I am eliminating all my focus on weight loss, and instead focusing behaviors and skills I want to acquire, like cooking and journaling. The behaviors may be the same, but the focus and the experience is totally different! Hopefully this will lead me to the kind of success you’ve enjoyed :). Another great post.

  12. Very well said! I love the analogy and this will stick in my mind!

    For me when I took the focus off losing weight and made it about getting healthy, everything changed. I no longer felt deprived nor did I focus on the “can’t haves” I looked at all the ways I could make my lifestyle healthier.

  13. Yes, I can actually feel that since I’ve taken my focus off weight loss and turned it towards getting fit and healthy, the weight just seems to take care of itself. So, if there’s a period with very little movement on the scale, there won’t be any second guessing of the plan. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.

  14. This is wonderful!

    We can do so much if we shift our attitudes and perspectives and adopt a more positive approach.

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