If you were driving from San Francisco to New York, and you stopped in Chicago for a pizza and liked it, would you decide to just stay there? Maybe some of you are that impulsive, but I’m guessing that most of us would get back in the car and finish the drive to our destination. That just makes sense, right? With diet, exercise, health and wellbeing, though, I see people traveling part of the distance and deciding they’ve gone far enough all the time!
One of my longtime friends / clients has been working to lose 40 pounds this year. She is putting in the time, energy and effort, and she’s seeing terrific results. She confessed to me the other day that after losing 15 pounds she was feeling so much better about her appearance and health that her motivation to go the distance had dropped off.
This kind of slump in enthusiasm is totally normal. You’ve been working so hard for so long, you’re seeing some good progress and feeling good… why not just embrace what you’ve accomplished and relax? It’s a great question.
Aside from my cross-country drive analogy, I can tell you that I know from years of observation that half-accomplished goals are prone to backsliding. It seems much easier to settle back into old habits when you don’t have the satisfaction of making it all the way to your personal finish line. I’m sure it’s psychological—you haven’t proven to yourself that you can go the distance, and that likely undermines your faith that you can go the distance with maintenance of what you have achieved.
If you’re in a mid-way slump like my friend, here are a few tricks you can try:
- Set micro-goals. Take your eyes off the big prize and start celebrating smaller milestones with more frequency. If you don’t get to relax until you’ve lost 40 pounds or run a whole marathon or lived gluten free for a full year, it’s easy to lose energy.
- Treat yo-self… to a special meal out for every five pounds you lose, reward yourself with new pieces of running apparel each time you add another five miles to your running distance, try a new restaurant once a month to explore new gluten-free dishes… choose a reward that fits your goal, and celebrate each little step towards it.
- Phone a friend. Having an accountability buddy with whom you can share support is a lifesaver. Maybe he’s trying to write his first book and you’re trying to live without dairy. Having someone to call when you’re craving normal ice cream, and knowing that your buddy is counting on you, helps keep you going forward.
Listen: Chicago is great. There’s nothing wrong at all with stopping over there for a rest if you need one, but don’t rob yourself of the joy of reaching New York. Do what you need to to keep on driving—even if that means stopping for a rest in every city you hit and throwing yourself “welcome” parties when you do. And if you need a friend to call when you’re flagging, I’m here!