The awful thing that happens is that you stop caring. All of the time and planning that went into the resolution seems no longer relevant to your life. Yes, you lost a few pounds but the process of worrying about what to eat, when to eat and how to make time for exercise becomes overwhelming and you stop caring about the goal.
Why is it that the goal which seemed so important on January 1st is totally unimportant on February 1st? Even if you used tactics such as being accountable to another person or picturing yourself skinny and fitting into new clothes, all that seems unimportant now. Slowly you even may gain the few pounds you lost back. Then you feel guilty and less of yourself.
Looking very closely at this behavior may help us to understand it. A few of the obvious obstacles may be:
1. It a very happy experience to plan a goal. You can decide all kinds of wonderful and healthy activities to have as goals. You can enjoy the foreseen results in your mind over and over again. it is fun to visualize how delighted you will be will the goal has been reached. In reality you have enjoyed the goal without putting in any real work to achieve it.
2. The goal has many or at least some aspects that are not enjoyable. Deprivation of chocolate cake is not enjoyable. Getting into gym clothes and sweating is not enjoyable to many people. Walking can be great experience to get out in nature but can also be a burden if your back starts to ache. For my clients, getting themselves out into crowds to network might not be a pleasure.
3. Goals take time and energy. Planning and keeping a calendar and actually doing the tasks to complete a goal takes a great deal of time and more energy you put out before the goal was undertaken.
4. Rewards are often not immediate. If you are losing a half pound or even a pound a week, it is obvious that this is a several month endeavor. Some goals take years to achieve. It seems as though really worthwhile goals can take a very long time to complete.
5. Goals seem less important over time. We know this is true even though the beginning goals was very important and sometimes a matter of life or death. Take for example quitting smoking. Medical Science and common sense tells us that a person must quit to extend their life. There is no alternative to adding years to their life or at least not confronting such an agonizing death. It is amazing that smokers can quite for a few days or even months but still go back to smoking. Time has taught them how to stop but time has not been a help in keeping them from returning to the bad habit.
The basis of all of this is that you have stopped caring about the consequences of not reaching the goal. Somehow or another the goal has been diminished. It is no longer worthy of caring about.
Next week I won’t be here to write this blog but we’ll take this subject up further on December 30 when I’ll be back. If you have any comments please jump in. This can be a fascinating discussion and certainly worthwhile.