I wrote this on March 14, 2017 – nor’easter Tuesday.
Yesterday I got it in my head that even though I wouldn’t be in the office on Tuesday, I wanted it to be productive and get things done. I scheduled a few phone meetings and had a schedule of things to do at home as well. By doing this ahead, it helped me mentally stay in “work” mode and not “I’m off – snow day” mode. I had good intentions.
I slept in this morning till about 7:30 (I usually start my day around 6 am.), but I got up, fed the dogs, did my devotional, and drank my tea as usual. The difference today was that I sat there till 9 am which is usually the time I’m almost ready to leave for the office.
When I saw 9 am on the clock, I had a twinge of disappointment in myself and a vision of myself not being productive like I thought I was going to be, because I already messed up the start of my day.
When I got downstairs, I decided I was going to take my shower, make the bed, and get dressed as I usually do when getting ready for work, but that was just a front. I was hoping that doing my usual actions would help kick start me into believing that I was going to be productive. As I went into the bathroom and turned on the shower, my thoughts were spiraling downward about the time I had wasted.
So why did I feel as if I was going to be a complete disappointment to myself and not get anything accomplished? I have, in the past, made thousands of promises to myself and not followed through. I know myself, and the majority of the time I do not get as much done as I had hoped. So why should today be any different?
As I was sitting there focused on the time I had wasted and how I was already behind because I slept in, I thought about the fact that I usually don’t start working at the office till about 9:30, so then I thought, “well, maybe I can still be productive.”
At that moment the “AHA” hit me. I realized that if I feel as if I’m behind to any degree, I have already lost. What did I do next? I immediately started thinking about my contingency plan to try and save face – my plan B that I can work on and still say to myself, at least I was somewhat productive. It was amazing how quickly this plan B formed, was mentally put in place, and I settled for it.
I also realized plan B was formed because I conceded to being in second place, and the old me made this happen so quickly that new me wasn’t even able to give think logically and see how I hadn’t yet lost. (If it was 9 pm then I would have lost, but it wasn’t!)
Today was different because I realized that I do this. I realized that I think like this. I realized that I take myself out of the game because I usually lose to myself. That has been my history. Now the other interesting thing is that if there was someone else involved, I would not have conceded and accepted second place. I would have fought hard, maybe still came in second, but I would have been proud of my fight and proud of my second-place finish.
What is it about competition against someone else that spurs us? It is accountability. That is why it is so important to have someone else in your life and on new journeys you decide to take. Answering to someone else and being accountable is a huge key to success. I see that as a positive form of competition. In the case of your weight loss journey, you are not competing against your accountable coach or partner, you are competing against not losing when you check in with them. And that is not a bad thing. Learning how to win is important. With weight loss, you can win by losing weight, but if you don’t keep the weight off, you didn’t learn how to win, you just happened to win. If you are keeping the weight off because you are living in fear that you will gain it back is not completely winning either and you didn’t learn how to win the game, you won it by shear force and fear. Winning the game once or by force and fear will not bring you permanent victory, but I digress. As soon as I thought I had not done what I said I would do, I gave up. I walked away, concocted a second plan and mentally settled; all my motivation for the day left me. But then when I saw that I wasn’t behind the eight ball, I immediately got my MOJO back and went back to my original plan. What is so important about this? How does this apply to weight loss?
Whenever someone begins the journey of losing weight, they are behind the eight ball.
There is no arguing that point. During their weight loss journey, if the scale stops moving, if they cheat, if they didn’t do something they were supposed to, they are severely wounded or worse, they feel they are done – the “all or nothing” attitude sets in and that is it. For some, those actions put a crack in their armor and many times they don’t fully recover. This happens to many people; in fact, most people.
On the other hand, let’s say they were extremely successful and lost the weight, but then gained some back. It is almost impossible for them to get back on the track and lose the weight again. Why…because they have experienced the ultimate high of being victorious in the weight loss arena, and then the ultimate low of gaining back. They lost to themselves, and if they try again, they know there is no one else to compete with because losing to self is the ultimate defeat and there is no way they can win against themselves. They have no confidence in their ability at all. When going up against someone else, there is always an outside chance that they will win so that is what keeps them going and in the game.
I will not continue needing in this negative though! If I put myself here, I can get myself out.
So, until I break down this belief system of which I am convinced that defeat is eminent when I go up against myself, I need to NOT allow myself to be in the position of second place. My discipline needs to be top rate. My resolve needs to be steady and no excuses can be made. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. Of course, living this way will be stressful for a while because I don’t like living in extremes and having to stick to rigid schedules most of my waking hours. But I’m willing to do it because it will be worth learning this lesson. It will be worth recognizing my ability to be victorious even when I’m in second place or worse thinking that I am when I’m not.
What do I do to break down this belief system?
Come up with powerful affirmations that debunk my negative thinking and say these affirmations daily. At the same time, my daily actions need to stay positive and disciplined until I get my mindset to a place where it doesn’t believe the all or nothing mindset; where it doesn’t believe that I am sure to lose and I won’t be able to pull out a win even if I’m in second place for a while. My affirmations strengthen mine, my daily disciplined actions solidify that I can do it, and before I know it I’m walking with a different perspective.
How do you win the game in a way that you learned from your experience?
You stop ASAP when you feel defeated and before you do any action, THINK! Think about what is happening and what your beliefs are in that moment. When you pinpoint your beliefs, design new ones that are supportive through affirmations. Your mental game has been designed by you. It was built by your history, and the rose-colored glasses you wore during your lifetime. Change your glasses, change your narrative by creating new beliefs. Start with affirmations and not just any affirmations, make them powerful and say them with conviction!
(Hint: Not sure what your beliefs are? What are your actions when under stress? Your natural character comes forth when under stress. So, journal how you act under stress, what you say, and how you feel.)