Eating an Elephant

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. How on earth do you stay motivated when your goal is big and hard? I mean, let’s be honest here. Despite yesterdays triumphal announcement that I’ve lost 80 pounds, I’ve got a lot left to go. I need to lose 200 pounds in total, after all. That is a huge amount of weight. I’ve already been at this for 21 weeks. Optimistically assuming I can maintain the 3.9 pound a week average loss, I’ll be at this for 31 more weeks – and I’m not certain that average will continue for another eight or nine months. So, it’s a lot. Putting it mildly it’s a lot. It’s been 21 weeks of hard work, and it will continue to be a lot of hard work. And I’m tired of it.

Maybe you’re in a similar place. Maybe you have less weight (or more weight) to lose. Or maybe you’re working on some other goal, a huge goal that seems to have no end in sight. How do you stay motivated?

Here’s what I’m doing. Or, at least, what I’m trying to do. I don’t think about the two hundred pound weight loss goal. Not frequently, anyway. That’s too big. If I make that my goal, I’ll never get there. Even 80 pounds down, it’s too far. Too much. So I make smaller benchmark goals, and focus on those. I’m at 339 pounds right now. Losing another 120 pounds seems almost impossible. But my next benchmark? Getting down to 319 pounds? Well, that feels doable. It’s “only” twenty pounds, after all. Difficult, but acheivable.

I also have no specific time frame. Nothing about my goals or my ultimate destination requires me to do it by a specific date. Now I know that flies in the face of just about everything you may have read about goal setting. You’re supposed to have a quantifiable goal with an end date, right? Well, yeah. But, not for this. I am serious, after all, when I say that my ultimate goal is to be healthy. So, in a sense, my deadline is today. Did I exercise today? Did I stay within my calorie budget today? And you know what? Today adds up, if you do it every day.

In the end, this is not easy. I’ve got to work my butt off to work my butt off. It’s a long way to go, and there are days when I get discouraged. There are days when I look at my goal, and then look at myself in the mirror, and think I’ll never get there. And on those days, it’s tempting to give up. And those are the days when I lean on the crutch of having made a habit of exercise and trying to stay within my calorie budget. Because if I can take care of today, even if I’m discouraged, then I’m still getting one step closer.

How about you? What do you do, to stay motivated?

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