“When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.”
Man, I hate that.
Rhyming self-help mantras are the worst too because they reduce complex issues into syrupy, sticky phrases that gum up my mental gears. Yet, I found myself perplexed by one that got me thinking about planning. Maybe syrup isn’t so bad?
Last week, I wrote about finding a plan that works. I discussed the notion that weight loss is not primarily about discovering the correct set of meal plans, exercise plans, and eating regimens that helps you lose the weight. I believe the plan that works is actually a plan that already resides in you, placed there long ago, waiting to be unleashed. I contend getting your mind right is the key to a successful weight loss journey.
Many self-help gurus and strategic thinkers tout the importance of careful planning and strategy when making changes in life. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, one of the reasons I was able to accelerate my weight loss over the last months has been by following a plan, a path, a strategy.
This weekend, my pastor preached about vision. His sermon laid out the 10 year vision for our church. The compelling sermon was based on one of those sticky mantras I mentioned earlier:
This is a great one, and not just because the pastor said so. When setting a goal, you must first conceive of the idea or plan. Then, you must believe in this plan more than anyone else around you. Lastly, you must get off your rear-end and get it done!
So how does this apply to weight loss? It does not take much thinking to see how this mantra applies to the weight loss saga. Tell me if you’ve heard this before guys.
Step one: Picture yourself as a thin person. Image out loud what it would be like to be thin. Think about what it would be like to be at your goal weight today. How does your body feel? Imagine increased energy level, stamina, and strength. Find a picture of your ideal body type and think of yourself as this person, and looking this way. Got it? Great!
Step two: You must believe this is possible. Know you are worth it. You can achieve it, and losing the weight is important in your life. Sure you’ve tried and failed in the past, but today is a new day! You cannot lose the weight for others, you must be the one who wants to lose more than anyone else. Believing in yourself is critical to weight loss success.
Step three: Having conceived of the ideal you, and having told yourself you believe in the goal and your ability to make it, now it is time to act. You must get off your rear end and start working on your weight loss goal. So put on your sweat pants (yes, the good ones), and get out there!
And that works for a while. It might work for a week, a month, a season. Then the holidays come around. Then a new project launches at work. Then your family member gets sick suddenly. Before you know it, life settles in. Old habits settle in. And your old comfortable fat self puts its arms around your neck again and squeezes.
See, I think the experts are right. Just not quite the right order.
Don’t misunderstand me here. Conceiving and believing are big parts of the necessary steps to unleashing the real, authentic you into the world. You must not skip those steps.
When I first started on this weight-loss journey, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no real strong plan. I had a vague notion of what I wanted to try and what my doctor had told me to do. I had poked around on the internet a bit. I even think I scratched out a shopping list. But I had no strong conception of who I wanted to be. I had no muscle-clad, vein-popping, sinew-bulging body image taped to my fridge. I wasn’t sure what I believed was even possible. I wasn’t sure if it would work at all quite frankly. I was unclear, scared, and uncertain. I can recall clearly telling my wife “You’ll never going to believe what he wants me to eat for breakfast!” I had lots of doubt, and little solid belief it would work.
In the early stages of weight loss, I think it is easy to get trapped by the notion of conception and belief. Too often we are told by experts we must have a goal and a strong plan before taking that first step towards changing your weight. I don’t believe this is the truth when men lose weight. I believe, in the early stages, we have to tap into who we are as men at a very primal level, and begin by taking an action. Let me propose a new mantra for starting a weight loss journey.
Here’s what I said to myself as the first few days unfolded, and I invite you to say this too:
Right now, I have no idea what I’m doing. Right now, I’m scared this wont work. Right now, I don’t have a clear path with a solid goal in front of me. But what I do have is the desire to move from this place where I am to somewhere different in my health. I am not willing to spend one more day with this body, with this weight. I do not know how long this will take, or how hard it will be. But I cannot stay stuck here any longer and live.
I surrender to what is next.
Surrender to what is next. Open yourself to the presence of something new. Don’t get hung up with the first planning steps. You are going to be horrible at first anyway. The process will come, the plan will come, You will get good at eating the right things. You will get good at planning your day. You will get better at seeing the vision of the new you. But for now, I need you calm and open to something new. I need you to begin to move a little bit in your life. Take a small action, and see where it leads you. Yes, order that book. Sign up for that blog. Make that doctor appointment.
Will you start something new?
Will you surrender to what’s next?
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