What if you achieve your goal then realise it was the wrong one?
I have a friend who is a very successful slimmer. She's been featured in magazines. She is literally the lady from the before and after pictures. After much hard work, she got to her goal weight and has maintained her weight loss ever since. She has had great fun reinventing her look, trying different styles and getting used to compliments and jealous comments alike.
But recently she started to feel like that wasn't enough. She still wasn't entirely happy.
Her measure of success was the number on the scale.
If the number went up she had failed, but if the number went down then she was succeeding. It was that simple. That was OK when her goal was simply to lose weight but when she got to goal weight she realised something.
Losing weight has been all about how she looked. She lost weight to be happier with her reflection in the mirror and so that other people wouldn't judge her. She has long since got over what other people think of her but even so, being happy with how she looks is no longer as satisfying as it once was.
How does it feel?
Recently she set herself some fitness goals. She's hired a personal trainer and has been focusing on training to achieve those goals. Her purpose now is creating a body that feels good.
She can feel her fitness improve and she loves how fitter and stronger she is becoming. She gets a kick of feeling strong and powerful and seeing her capability improve week on week. Furthermore, this goal is purely for her. The scales aren't going to tell her is she's making progress and no one else can measure it for her. She knows she's succeeding because she can feel it.
It was a scary leap to stop focusing on the scales but with something more motivating to focus on she's going from strength to strength and achieving more than she previously thought possible. She's also much happier in her own skin as a result.
So what can we learn?
You might be thinking "well good for her but I'm not at goal weight yet". I understand that. But wouldn't it be good to learn the same lesson now?
Many people looking to lose weight focus on the scale, some almost obsessively. Other scrutinise how they look in the mirror more than is healthy. Of course, you need the scale to measure your overall progress but what goals have you set yourself about feeling good?
I often ask people what their 'why' is. I ask them what they will be able to do after losing weight that they can't do now. How do they want to feel afterwards? What if you were to make how you feel a measure of success?
If you're eating healthily you will probably find that you have more energy. Your skin and hair should be feeling better too. Lots of the steps you take to lose weight are acts of kindness to your body. They have other benefits. They feel good as well as helping you look the way you want.
What percentage of your focus goes on those?
How much more motivated would you feel if you focused on how eating healthily and exercising makes you feel?
To borrow from Stephen Covey, it's a terrible thing to climb the ladder of success only to find it was leant up against the wrong wall.