The human condition is amazing for its ability to fail at something repeatedly and, when it is important, to keep on trying. This week’s vignette comes from a personal experience of mine.
The struggle began in high school when my mother and I tried out the “Stewardess Diet”. All I remember was that it included beets, a new food for me at the time. I can’t recall if either of us lost any weight, but we definitely bonded over our efforts. I’m not even sure if I needed to lose weight! Now, after many years and at least as many diets, I am back on the bandwagon. But this time, my emphasis is on optimizing my overall health.
In the past, I have had tremendous success losing weight and maintained my commitment to healthy eating for long periods of time. However, I have also tried and failed many more times than I care to remember, sometimes not even making it past the first few days or weeks. I remember the grapefruit diet in college. That one lasted about 36 hours!
As usual, I have a plan. I am older and wiser. My strategies for success include setting reasonable goals, including planning and social support, and making sure to have fun along the way. I am committed, excited, and hopeful (or at least that is what I’m telling myself!).
Now, I fully understand the possibility of falling short in my efforts. But that’s okay! That’s what makes goals so great. Even if you don’t succeed, you’ll always get another chance.
So why, you may ask, am I sharing this information with you? Read on to find out!
Taking a Step Back to Reevaluate
Earlier this month, we shared information about the importance of setting goals. But how often do we set goals that we later give up on or, for some reason, fail to meet? What happens then?
First of all, don’t panic and belittle yourself for failing. It happens to everyone! And like I mentioned earlier, it’s happened to me in the past and might happen again in the future.
When it happens to me, I conjure up an image of The Little Engine That Could and say to myself, “I think I can! I think I can!” I re-evaluate my goals and figure out a new way to approach them – if they are important enough.
I also love Dr. Carol Dweck’s (author of the bestseller Mindset) YouTube video entitled “Not Yet” about her book and how we can use the word “yet” to help us stay hopeful and keep striving for improvement in our lives.
Here is an excerpt:
I heard about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate, and if they didn’t pass a course, they got the grade “Not Yet”. And I thought that was fantastic because, if you get a failing grade, you think, “I’m nothing, I’m nowhere.” But if you get the grade “Not Yet”, you understand that you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.
Check out Dr. Dweck’s TED presentation here for more info.
Three Goals That Can Help You
In the past few years, but even more so over the past six months, I have developed a new understanding of the connection between physical and mental/cognitive (brain) health. I realize that if I want to continue to serve my community and the folks who call Rice Psychology Group their work-home, enjoy and spend time with my family and friends, and continue my passions of horse-ownership, horse shows, doing fun activities with my dog, and traveling, I’d better up my self-care game.
So, this round (which with any luck will become my new lifestyle) includes three primary goals that will serve me well in both the physical and mental arenas:
- Reduce weight (thereby reducing my BMI, waistline, and strain on my organs and joints).
- Reduce inflammation (one of the biggest problems associated with innumerable debilitating diseases).
- Increase my cardiovascular fitness and strength through walking and other physical activities (which directly leads to improved mood and brain functioning).
While there are countless ways to accomplish these goals, I know that I benefit from social support, accountability, routine planning, and reduced easy access to carbs in my house late at night!
What works for you?
I have enlisted the help of a health expert who is analyzing my genetics (through raw data from my “23andMe” report) and other aspects of my underlying health to balance out my hormones and create a manageable plan that is individualized for me.
Of course, Milo is my partner in walking and is thrilled with the new changes in our lives.
I’ve also been doing some reading on the topic of how we can preserve and even improve our brain’s health and performance through lifestyle changes. Little by little, I plan to implement some of these strategies as well.
Some of you may know that I recently became the proud mother/owner of a nine-month-old colt (baby horse). His name is Alfie and, if all goes well, he and I could be together for the next 25-30 years! Taking care of your health and continuing to try to reach your own goals is a gift that you can give to your children and loved ones as well.
I also hope to be taking care of families and children in Tampa for at least as long. So, I am back at it, doing all I can to ensure that I will be here to continue on this amazing journey called life! And if I happen to stumble and fall in reaching my goal, I know that I’ll still have plenty of chances to get back up and try again.
We’re Here for You
At Rice Psychology Group, our team of licensed psychologists and mental health counselors want to help you get back up if you’ve stumbled in reaching a goal. It’s okay if you’ve failed. We all have. It’s human nature. Identifying your personal stumbling blocks and even some new methods to get from here to there are just a few ways that we can help. We want to show you that it’s still possible to meet those goals! Contact us in Tampa today to learn more.