A couple of years ago, I did an online program called Shrink Yourself that was very helpful to me. It basically helps with the why’s of emotional eating, such as why do we binge, why do we sabotage ourselves, why do we not exercise, etc, and how to overcome the answers to these questions.In this program, you answer a lot of questions and do some workbook exercises, and one of the exercises has you list all of the reasons you want to lose weight and what you would have to do to attain your goal. On the other side of the same coin, it also has you list examples of what will happen if you don’t do the things necessary to attain your goal. For example, if you eat crap all the time and never work out then you will keep buying bigger pants every year. Make sense?

My niece told me that last month she worked out on all of her planned work out days and she lost 10 pounds. She had a goal, she worked toward it, and was rewarded with a smaller tush. I was thinking about my goals list and how, if I do all the things on it, I’ll get to my goal (which also happens to be a smaller tush). Then I started to think about what would happen if I don’t do all those things – what’s the flip side of that? I thought about if for awhile and came up with a list I like to call The Flip Side:

• If I continue to eat a lot of high fat, sugary foods, I’ll continue to gain weight and will feel terrible about myself and not feel my best.
• If I don’t work out at least 4 days a week, I’ll continue to feel tired and sluggish. I won’t have the energy necessary to keep up with my active family.
• If I don’t keep up with my C25K schedule, I won’t be able to run a 5k with my friend and then I’ll feel like a failure.
• If I continue to give in to the laziness, I won’t be able to wear my skinny jeans.
• If I don’t change my habits, I’ll be stuck in this same rut that I have been in for several months now. I won’t grow as a person and I’ll become stagnant.
• If melt into the couch and watch TV every night (or sleep late in the mornings) instead of taking care of myself, my self esteem will plummet which in turn will affect how I relate to my husband and kids. My sex life will diminish because I won’t feel desirable. My kids will learn about life from TV, instead of experiencing it with me. I’ll feel ashamed when I get together with friends or go to church, so I’ll end up avoiding those activities which bring me a lot of satisfaction.

I’m not scrapping my Goals List in favor of this, but I am going to use the two together. This feels more motivating to me because I know right now how I feel, and I don’t want to keep feeling this way. It’s easy to forget how you felt several weeks ago, but it’s not so easy to forget how you feel right this second – and that’s the motivating factor. It reminds me that if I want to feel like I’m feeling right now, I need to keep doing the things that make me feel this way.

Having a goal is kind of pie-in-the-sky to me – I have a hard time visualizing it, but this, this is concrete and real. This is something I can look at and say: this is where I will be in one year if I don’t make changes. If I do make changes, I’m not sure what will happen, but if don’t, I know EXACTLY what will happen, and that scares the sh*t out of me.