Is There a Right Way?
What’s the right way to reach your goal? Is there a right way? I’m no doctor, but I do have my own theories about how I can reach my 2019 goal. I vow every January that I will lose weight and get healthier; be more active. Every year, I slack off and don’t ever stick to my plan.
I’ve tried everything – within reason. I’ve tried the healthy meal plans that can be delivered right to my door. I’ve tried the buddy system with my husband and with friends to lose weight together. I’ve downloaded running apps, weight-monitoring apps, calorie apps; I lose interest. I bought new running shoes and new exercise clothes, thinking that would excite me, which only lasted a few weeks.
I came across another app recently that promoted weight loss and a healthy life style, long-term. That piqued my interest because, although I do know that long-term is the ultimate goal, I have so much trouble thinking that far ahead. I want to see results ASAP, so I tend to lose track of my ultimate goal, and then when I don’t see immediate results, I tend to give up. Maybe learning how to change my lifestyle – long-term – was the answer I had been looking for.
Everyone is different, so I can only speak to what has or has not worked for me in the past when it comes to reaching a goal. As I mentioned, I’ve tried countless times to change my routine, lose weight, and get healthier. Every tactic I have tried, I fail to stick to. Now I can’t sit here and blame the “tactics” themselves, obviously my dedication and motivation are to blame. But I do think everything needs to be working together, not forced, and things are more likely to work out. I knew I needed a “tactic” that wouldn’t lose my interest, allowing me to find the strength to be motivated and to want to be dedicated to my goal.
So anyway, this app – it has a few different functions all in one: calorie counter, recipe recommendations, step counter, daily weight monitoring, psychological explanations behind cravings and habits. The app has a strong focus on the importance of changing your unhealthy habits into healthy habits, and then continuing to choose those healthy habits in the future – ultimately promoting long- term weight loss and long-term health improvements. When I thought about it, it made a lot more sense to think about my goal in a long-term type of way, because habits are carried out until we change them.
I explained my goal to my husband, and explained how I planned to get there. He had an issue with me using this app daily, especially weighing myself daily, because he didn’t want me to start obsessing over my weight. And I do understand that. I think there has been research that argues both sides of the dilemma – some believe weighing yourself daily is healthy, while others think it’s unhealthy.
Again, I’m no doctor, but I do know that so far, I’ve been enjoying using this app every day; it’s held me responsible for my actions and my choices. According to an article on Psychology Today, “…the most important rule of behavior change: if you frequently measure your progress, you’ll adjust your behavior based on those metrics—and you will get better.” And that’s exactly how I have felt. Now, I’ve only been using this app for two weeks, and I don’t want this editorial to be based all around this app, because that’s not the point. My point is that I finally feel like I have found a tactic that works for me. The combination of a “long-term perspective” along with measuring my progress (or fails) very frequently is holding me accountable for my choices and also showing me where I have been, where I am now, and where I want to be in the future.
“To change, then, it’s not enough to want to, or to feel emotionally connected to the outcome—we have to know where we stand. It’s that very knowledge that gives us the power to get better,” as stated in the article. Ultimately, it may not be enough to “want” or to “envision” that goal, we need to actually know WHERE we stand. In regards to keeping track of something – you need a starting point to then be able to measure where you are, where you once were, and see where you can be. I think almost anything can be measured, even if you have to get a little bit creative. For instance, let’s say my goal is to learn a Taylor Swift song on the guitar. I’m not focusing on how many hours or days it takes me to learn the song. Instead, I focus on the first day, and how I didn’t even know how to hold a guitar. I focus on my progress, because eventually, I do learn how to comfortably hold the guitar while moving my fingers to the right notes. Eventually, the music sounds just like Taylor (I wish), and finally, I’ve memorized the song in its entirety. We can define our own progress (or set backs), but in order to measure progress, we need to start somewhere, we need to know WHERE we are.