Be Optimistic and Realistic“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  It’s a catchy tune, sure, but it’s not the best approach to success!  Overly optimistic thinking goes like this ” I went WAY over my calorie budget today, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow, somehow”.  While it’s helpful to assert good intentions (rather than beating yourself up) being vague about how you’ll recover isn’t helpful.  Thinking things will get better somehow, without having a plan to make it happen, can derail your weight loss efforts because we need to identify what needs to change and than set specific steps to change it.  So for instance the fix for going over your daily calorie budget could be to plan out your day for tomorrow. While most unhelpful thinking styles are negative (example beating yourself up) the don’t worry be happy style feels helpful and positive.  But it too can lead to feelings and actions or more often, inactions that undermine our journey.  Because it masquerades as something positive, this thinking style might demand a little practice and shift.

An example on how to manage this type of thinking was provided by the Weight Watchers Weekly on this subject.  It teaches you a way to “balance your thinking”.

  1. Identify your “don’t worry be happy” thought. (Example: I ate way more than I planned at my lunch date today. I’ll get back on track later.)
  2. Reality check it.  Ask yourself “what needs to happen to make this true?”  Use your answer to shift to a helpful thought that has one ot more back on track solutions. (example: If I make a plan, I will be able to get back on track later.  I could track what I ate.)
  3. Plan what you’ll do.  Choose one action from your ideas above that’s doable.  Make a specific plan for what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and who you’ll do it with (if anyone). (example: I’ll track what I ate at lunch during my 3pm break at my desk by myself.  That’ll help me see how many calories I’ve used and decide what to eat for dinner)

I’m a good one for this kind of thinking.  I am a big “don’t worry, be happy” thinker when it comes to my weight loss journey.  That’s why it’s ben so SLOW!  I’m always saying to myself “it’s ok tomorrow will be better” – spoiler alert- tomorrow is never better.  The action plan above is great and something I am going to give a try!

Set Goals for Success

Use Weight Watcher’s guidelines to make them powerful and effective.

I know I am guilty of setting unrealistic goals for myself ALL THE TIME.  I get my mind in place that I want to get fit, healthy and lets be real skinny – then I want those things to happen overnight with little to no effort by me.  Because let’s face it – all of those things take a lot of work, dedication and time.  Lasting results don’t happen overnight.

Setting specific, attainable goals make it more likely for you to accomplish them and make the behaviors you want to adopt long-lasting.  Weight Watcher’s Weekly on this subject give you some suggestions on setting SMART goals!
So let’s take a look at what goes into a powerful goal.

  1. It’s specific.  Describing what you want, be exact on what you want to accomplish.  Saying you are going to do yoga this week is less likely to happen than saying – I’ll go tot the 10am class on Monday and Wednesday after dropping the kids at school.
  2. It’s reasonable.  Not a runner?  Don’t decide you’ll start running three miles a day!  The smaller the gap between where you are now and the goal set, the more likely you are to reach it.  It should also fit your lifestyle and your schedule.
  3. It’s active.  Frame your goals as behaviors that you want to do, instead of ones you don’t want to do.  Such as figuring out what snacks you can fit in at night when you want to snack – rather than saying that you’re going to stop eating all together.
  4. It’s short term.  Choose a goal you can reach in a short amount of time.  Assess your progress at least once a week or even once a day.  By reviewing your progress at short intervals, you can celebrate your accomplishments and troubleshoot any difficulties.
Setting a goal for success!  the more specific the goal, the more likely you are to accomplish it.  Think about something you’d like to achieve within the next week that will help you on your journey – say tracking activity, finding time to take care of yourself, posting in your community group-
Answer these questions to help you make your goals more specific:
  • What do you want to do?
  • When are you going to do it and for how long?
  • Where will you do it?
  • Who will you do it with (if anyone)?
Start with no more that two goals per week.  This keeps things manageable and lets you focus on each behavior that you want to change.  Once you accomplish your first two goals…and keep them going…then you can set new ones.  When we discussed this topic in the meeting room, it came at a great time.  A time where I put on nearly five pounds in two weeks, not really knowing why or how it happened.  For the first week after this meeting I set one goal – drink 100oz of water every day.  The first week I did it!  I drank the 100oz every day, changing nothing else and I lost 1.8lbs.  It felt good.  Really good to get on the scale and be surprised by a loss.  The following week my goals were to continue drinking the water and picture journal all my food – everything…even the “cheats”.

What are some of your goals and how did you decide on them?