A couple of weeks ago, I was in the midst of what I like to call my “whirling dervish of weight loss” thoughts. You know those thoughts that seem to come at your brain from all directions and swirl around in your head like an unrelenting tornado that is bent on destroying your sanity? It goes something like this: “This is just UNACCEPTABLE! I have to do something about my weight NOW! But what am I going to do? I’ve already done everything and nothing has worked! But maybe I just didn’t try hard enough…maybe if I try EVEN HARDER… oh gosh I just don’t think I have to energy to start over AGAIN with that plan…I’ll never lose weight, I’ll never be thin again…I might as well just accept that this is how it’s always going to be. I can’t think about this now, I’ll worry about it later…oooh, is that a cupcake?!? I can’t believe I just ate that cupcake. My weight is out of control. This is just UNACCEPTABLE!” and so it goes around and around until my self esteem is left shattered and splintered like an old wooden fence in a storm.
After the dust had settled and I looked at the piles of work on my desk which were going untouched, I wondered if procrastination and weight loss struggles could somehow be related. I Googled “weight loss for procrastinators” and what I found surprised me. There were several articles about this very subject and after going through six or seven of them, I discovered that they all had a few pieces of advice in common, and I thought I would share them with you. I’m also linking the 3 articles that I thought were most informative and helpful.
- Have appropriate goals. This article had a sentence that sort of smacked me in the face: “Consider the goals you have for this diet. Perhaps you do not even realize some of the ways in which these goals are more like hopes, dreams and fantasies.” Wow. If your goals are something along the lines of “I want to walk on the beach in a skimpy bathing suit while adoring eyes behold my exquisite beauty” – that might be a fantasy and NOT an actionable goal. I have been guilty of this – having pie in the sky goals keeps me from having to deal with the not-so-exciting goals like walking 3 times per week.
- Acknowledge and celebrate small successes. “People who are successful, give themselves credit for their successes (big as well as small), Procrastinators often do the opposite and continually put themselves down. To be successful we have to learn to accept that if we have 6 out of 7 good days, it was a good week and be happy with these results. Remember-“Success Breeds Success”. I would even argue that 4 out of 7 days is successful and to build up to 6 out of 7 days. Give yourself credit for every single success, no matter how small (this is one that I need to take to heart).
- Break the task into smaller, easily attainable tasks. Use the Ten Minute Rule (telling yourself you only have to spend ten minutes on the treadmill, for example) or break the task down into teeny tiny baby steps (Put on your walking shoes, then fill up your water bottle, then take ten steps out your front door, etc) can help you at least get started on the task at hand and most importantly, give you a feeling of success when you actually accomplish them.
After reading several articles, it occurred to me that, oh yeah, I have a book about procrastination that’s been sitting on my kitchen table for 3 weeks that I need to review. The irony is not lost on me that I procrastinated reading a book about overcoming procrastination. I’m happy to report that since then, I have read half of the book and already have half of my review written! Yay me! I’m awesome! (See tip #2 above) So look for that in the near future. In fact, I think I’m going to dedicate the month of August to the topic of procrastination – discussing the book and putting its advice into practice. I’ll share here on the blog how I’m coming along with that and I’ll try to check in at least weekly with my progress.
Do you think you are a procrastinator and if so, do you think it plays in to your weight loss struggles? Have you found ways to overcome procrastination? Share in the comments below!