Many of the fine people I work with one-on-one want to, in some capacity, lose weight. Even if it isn’t the primary goal, a target weight (almost always lower than the current) gets thrust into the mix.
I think body composition goals are fantastic. While I think you’re beautiful just the way you are, if being a few pounds lighter will help you look, feel, and perform at your best then I’m all for it.
But let me ask you this, once the weight comes off, then what?
Once you “get there,” where do we go from there?
It’s not one of the usual questions we ask ourselves when we're mapping out our goals. But without asking it, we're not really defining what this all means.
It is, once again, placing all of our focusing on the outcome and not the behaviors that will get us there.
Now, you might be thinking that a fair answer to this question would be, “I’ll decide when I get there.”
And you’re absolutely right. It is a fair answer. But I doubt it will get your far. At least in the context of where this is going.
You see, we think the outcome is what we want but how many times in our lives have we worked, and worked, and worked for something, finally got that something, and then we were on to the next thing without even really noticing?
Probably quite often.
What does that tell you about our psyche and our hard-wiring?
It tells us that we’re not after something specific, per se, what we’re after is the feeling that we’re making progress toward that thing.
And once we achieve or attain that thing, we are, by default, no longer progressing toward that thing. Then, the luster quickly fades away.
What will often happen is that we may even be a little disappointed, especially if we held the outcome on a pedestal.
We think that once we achieve/attain that thing, then we will finally be happy/confident/fulfilled/etc.
I see this time and time again everywhere I go.
And please don’t think I’m immune from this because this happens to me all the time (I’m working on it which is, in part, why I write about this).
But what I’ve learned is that it is not so much my goals that I want but rather the journey to get there.
I love the journey. And whether you want to admit it or not, we all love the journey. We crave the journey. And when don’t feel like we’re progressing on our journey, we feel unhappy and unfulfilled.
As a species, we crave progress. It’s quite possibly why we’re the only species on the planet (that we know of, I suppose) that has iPhones, space ships, and Netflix.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that you’re going to have far more fun finding ways (note that “ways” is plural) to make your body come alive than eating one almond and licking an apple for ten days because you’re on a “cleanse.” (sidebar: your body has these cool organs known as the liver and kidneys that do a pretty good job of "detoxing" your body...I digress).
It means that losing 15 pounds will not likely make you as happy as you think it will. Rather, habitually engaging in the behaviors that enable you to do so will.
It means that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a destination but a tool to illuminate our paths and give us a sense of where we are.
And once we know where we are, we might just get the opportunity to learn a bit more about who we are.
So, how do we now answer the question of “then what?”
What do we do when we’ve reached the top of the mountain?
Like the Zen proverb, we keep climbing.