What gets you excited, losing something or gaining something?
When you want to change your car, do you make the statement “I want to lose my car”? Or do you say something like “I want a new car”?
When you want a promotion do you say “I want to lose my job”? Or do you say “I want a promotion”?
When you want to buy a new house do you say “I want to lose the house I live in”? Or do you say “I want a new house”?
When you want to go on a holiday, do you say “I want to lose the life I am living right now”? Or do you say “I want a holiday”?
When you want to find a partner do you say “I want to lose singlehood”? Or do you say “I’d love to find a partner”?
When you want a baby do you say “I want to lose the life I lead now”? Or do you say “I want a baby”?
When you want a new wardrobe or a new outfit, do you say “I want to lose all of my clothes”? Or do you say I want a new wardrobe or new outfit”?
Why do people make the statement “I want to lose weight”? Why not make the statement “I want to have a (leaner body, more muscles, stronger body, fitter body, body I am comfortable in…)” like they do with other wants in life?
Too many times people focus on ‘losing weight’ and forget to focus on what they want to gain. How is this any different to any other goal in life? Nobody wants to achieve a negative goal; striving for something negative is setting yourself up for failure.
Nobody wants to lose weight for the sake of losing weight. It is always related to something bigger and better. It might be to fit into a particular outfit, because they want to look better for their wedding, to become healthier, to become stronger, to be fitter, to be able to get pregnant, to become my energetic etc. etc. So why not focus on that which you want to gain? Isn’t that much more motivating?
Which scenario do you think is more appealing and motivating?
*A lady (let’s call her Mary) is getting married in 6 months. She is currently a size 16 and would like to be a comfortable size 12 for her wedding day in order to feel more beautiful in the dress she would love to wear.
Scenario 1: Mary jumps on the scales to see if she has lost weight. In the last fortnight she has lost 1 kilo. According to her goal, she has 9kg to go. She smiles. “A loss is a loss” she thinks. She steps off her scales and proceeds with getting ready for the day. In this scenario Mary is focusing on the weight.
Scenario 2: Mary tries on her wedding dress. Last fortnight she managed to pull it up, to just under her buttocks. Today she has managed to pull it up a further 2 inches. Smiling, she takes the dress off, holds it up against herself and dances around in front of her mirror imagining wearing her beautiful wedding dress. In this scenario Mary is focusing on the dress.
Which scenario is more likely to get Mary to her goal? Which would you recommend she keeps doing? Scenario 2 of course. So why do so many people insist on focusing on scenario 1?
When you focus on what you want to gain rather than what you want to lose you are setting yourself up for success. Here are some positive goals some of my clients have set for themselves:
- ‘I want to be able to get on the floor and play with my granddaughter. My weight causes pain in my hip so I can’t get on the floor.’
- ‘I want to be able to go on my honeymoon and sit comfortably in a single seat on the plane.’
- ‘I want to be able to do a push up on my toes; at the moment I can’t lift my body weight.’
- ‘I want to be able to keep up with my kids.’
- ‘I want to be able to pull my kids along on their boogie boards.’
- ‘I want to look muscly.’
- ‘I want to be able to participate in a fun run.’
- ‘I want to be healthier so I don’t develop heart issues, which is a problem in my family.’
- ‘I want to be able to walk upstairs without getting puffed.’
Every single one of these clients wanted to lose weight. But the statement above is the reason why they wanted to lose weight. What do you think motivated them more? ‘I want to lose weight.’ Or the relevant statement above?
If you are reading this and you have been focused on losing weight, I challenge you right now, to write down WHY you want to lose weight, and turn that into your focus. Turn everything around and focus on the reason why you want to lose weight, the positive goal, the thing that is going to motivate you and inspire you. Set yourself up for success with positive motivation rather than setting yourself up for failure with negative goals that are not motivating.
What do you want to achieve? Get out there and chase your dreams. I challenge you.
Written by Terri Batsakis, Master Trainer