Have you ever had that moment when you look at your to do list, schedule or inbox and feel entirely overwhelmed? Have you ever had a project that you put off because of how long it would take to complete? Fitness and weight loss goals can often feel overwhelming because they are complicated tasks that require an investment of time. If you are like me, you prefer tasks that can be completed quickly and easily (which is likely why diet pills are so popular despite the risks and lack of long-term effectiveness).
Losing 20 pounds, being able to complete 10 pull ups, running a marathon, eliminating trans fats, or being able to terminate certain medications can seem like overwhelming tasks. It is not surprising that so few people actually make changes recommended by their doctors if they believe it would be too difficult. If you can break these tasks into smaller steps, they can seem more manageable.
Instead of contemplating the overwhelming goal of 20 pounds, could you focus on losing five pounds per month or one each week? Can you break it down to eating 100-500 less calories per day?
I am not yet able to do a pull-up. I can complete five to seven with the assistance of a chair, but I had no idea until Tony Horton (of P90X) explained that was an appropriate stepping stone. I continuously push the chair further back and will some day be able to do an entire set unassisted.
Celebrate each day you stick with your plan, every inch closer to a pull-up, every block run while training for the marathon, or every time you choose a food without trans fats. Instead of focing on your long-term goal, keep your mind focused on the next step. Life is happier when you are under less pressure; and when you are feeling less stressed, you are more likely to succeed. You are most likely to stick with a plan if you believe it is manageable.