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Are Your Weight Loss Goals Useless?

Michael  W. Smith, MD - Blogs
By Michael W. Smith, MDBoard-certified internistApril 20, 2017
From the WebMD Archives

“I want to lose 50 pounds!”

“I want to get into my skinny jeans.”

“I want lean, toned abs.”

These are common goals (or some version of them), but not ones that will take you very far. Dare I say “useless”? They’re just not important enough to carry you all the way – and keep you there.

To set a goal you can stay committed to – and achieve – you need to create a vision for your life and your health.

Ask yourself some important questions: Why do you want to lose 50 pounds? What’s your REAL why? What will losing those pounds mean to you? What will you be able to do that you can’t do today? Finally play with your kids on the floor and not struggle to get back up? Try on new clothes and feel great about the way you look? Have the self-esteem to go out on dates? Or maybe it will mean a life free of medications, replaced with a healthy lifestyle. Now you’re talking! Those are goals worth achieving.

See the difference? In the original goal, you’re getting rid of something (weight). In the new and improved goal, you’re creating something (a new life!). Why does that makes such a huge difference? It’s all about tension.

When you start your journey, the difference between where you are now and where you want to be is big. Think of the tension on a stretched rubber band. One end represents your current situation and the other end your future when you’ve reached your goal. There’s a lot of tension on that rubber band! Then, you start on your journey. The weight is coming off. “I’m doing great!!” There’s less tension on that rubber band. You slack off a bit because you’re feeling good about the weight you’ve lost. And slowly, the weight returns. Nothing changed because you weren’t reaching for something new.

Now ask yourself what may be the most important question: What will your life be like if nothing changes?

Even though it may not feel achievable, the healthier version of you, and the life you envision for yourself, is waiting for you to find your real reason. The thing that drives you from within. Once you create that vision for yourself and realize why this journey really matters, the rest will fall into place.Fear and frustration will be replaced by hope.

One more suggestion: Surround yourself with a community of people working on similar, vision-based goals. It’s tough to go this alone and your chance of success is FAR greater when you’re surrounded by others on the same journey. Find others who are ready to ditch the “diet” mentality and focus on healthy habits to, once and for all, create the life you want for yourself.

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About the Author
Michael W. Smith, MD

Michael Smith, MD, CPT, is a board-certified internal medicine doctor and WebMD’s Chief Medical Editor. He is also an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer with a passion for helping people live a healthy, active lifestyle. He appears regularly as an expert on national and local broadcast media.

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