Every January I feel like a failure. I start out the month with high hopes – this year I will drop some weight and get fit.
After 4 weeks of depriving myself of all my favorite foods and over-exercising I can’t keep it up and I quit!
Can you relate? Why do we fail and what can we do differently this year?
You aren’t a failure! Read that again, my friend.
Stop that negative self-talk!
I did some research and found scientific reasons why we fail and some strategies for success. James Clear is a writer, teacher and keynote speaker. His focus is behavioral psychology, habit formation and performance improvement. Wow, that’s someone that knows the science behind our troubles. I’ve visited his site James Clear and give him the credit for the first three points.
1. We fail because we set unrealistic goals. We try to change too many things. We give up all junk food; eat only fresh fruit and vegetables and chicken and fish. Then one day there is fresh pizza at the office meeting and the temptation is too strong. We give in and eat a piece and then have a few more. We feel like a failure because we ate pizza, which is not the truth! The new eating plan is thrown away with the empty pizza box.
Instead behavioral scientists suggest we change only 3 habits at a time. Three small changes that are easy to do and that we can stick with.
At Base Camp we make small changes to our lifestyle. We downsize the plate we use at each meal or snack. We exercise for 10 minutes. We say a healthy self-talk statement with prayer.
2. We fail because we are seeking a result, not a lifestyle. My co-worker wanted to lose 30 pounds before her daughter’s wedding. She dieted and exercised for months. She looked great that warm June day. She reached her goal! But when I saw her at the Christmas party I noticed she had gained back most of the weight. Once she reached her goal she slowly went back to her old habits and behaviors. She didn’t continue with the lifestyle, probably because it was too hard.
The changes we make need to be easy to do and things we can continue doing. Lifestyle changes continue after we reach a goal so the goal can be maintained.
3. We fail because we assume small changes don’t add up. The assumption is that your goal has to be big to make a difference. Every January we make a plan to go to the gym or start jogging everyday. That seems like the best way to burn calories and get in shape. We think that if we’re not sweating and out of breath it’s not making a difference.
In comparison it seems silly to make a goal to exercise for 10 minutes every day. However, we know 10 minutes does make a difference to our health
Further, the 10 minutes of exercise is something we can stick with even on a super busy day. When 10 minutes everyday becomes a habit, and part of our lifestyle we can gradually add a few more minutes.
The exercise component of Base Camp is 10 minutes everyday. If you are new to exercise this can be broken into two 5 minute periods.
Find an activity that’s fun and get moving!
4. We fail because as followers of Jesus we don’t access His power. We need to call out to Jesus in prayer. Remember we are His beloved daughters and He loves to hear from us. We can tell Him the depth of our struggles…. “Jesus, it’s me again. I feel like I’ve come to you with same cry for help for years, and yet, you have never brushed me aside. I want you to know how much I long for your peace, your comfort and all that you have to offer me. I know I don’t deserve this many opportunities, but you keep on giving them to me.
“Please help me today to reach for you first and be filled with your power. Then because of your power, I will be strong enough to resist the pull of worry, emotions and all the things that cause me to satisfy my hunger with anything other than you. Amen”
The spiritual component of Base Camp reminds us to pray throughout our day asking for God’s power.
TODAY’S little STEP: Stop calling yourself a failure! Just start wherever you are today, make little changes and believe that they make a difference. If you need to start at Base Camp to get back in the climbing mode.
Remember every mountain is climbed one step at a time!
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