What I’m about to say may surprise some of you.
Ready for it?
If you have a body image-related goal, I want you to stop focusing on it. Yep, you read that right. Quit focusing on your goal. I don’t want you to think of dress sizes or how many calories you should be eating in a day or numbers on a scale or even inches around your chest, waist or thighs. All those numbers that you are *most likely* obsessing about…
Have you ever heard that phrase, “don’t lose the forest for the trees?” It’s an expression used to describe someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to look at a situation as a whole. I see this type of tunnel-vision all the time with clients. They want to look a certain way in a certain amount of time and are willing to do whatever they need to do to achieve their goal. Even if it is at the expense of their own health.
This type of hyperfocus on results is really detrimental and is often a ruse used to distract people from doing deeper work and getting to the root of their dissatisfaction. Sometimes that dissatisfaction is purely aesthetic and just about wanting a more toned body. But, more often than not, crash diets, overexercising, extreme cleanses, etc. are a sign that there may be more to the problem than just wanting a thinner waist. That dissatisfaction may be an indicator that you are not satisfied with who you are in other areas of your life. Like your relationships. Or your job. Maybe you don’t think you’re a good mom. Maybe you think you’ll never get promoted. Maybe you think no one will ever find you attractive if you don’t look a certain way. Usually these high goals we are constantly chasing are just another way to confirm the belief that we are not enough when we aren’t able to stick to them. Or we reach them and immediately start thinking about the next goal we want to set.
Today I want to ask, “what if there is no goal?”
I know this makes some people really uncomfortable. Frankly, it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable myself. I work with a lot of Type A folks and self-proclaimed over-achievers. Removing goals feels like taking away our safety blanket!
But that is exactly what I am encouraging all of you to do because when we remove the goals, we can truly focus on our health. Your health IS the goal. Not visible abs or new personal records in the weight room. Don’t get me wrong, those things are great too. They just shouldn’t take the place of the main priority. Which is HEALTH.
So, you might be thinking right now that “health” feels like too vague of a goal. Maybe you are like moi, French for “me” (as in yours truly), and you are open to health being a goal but you really like more goal-type goals to help you focus on your goal of being healthy. Okay, okay. I’ll allow that. Here are some goal-type goals that allow health to be the number one goal.
1. Move your body everyday in a way that you actually enjoy.
Take the dog to the dog park and do several laps. Start your day with twenty minutes of yoga. Grab a friend and go do your favorite fitness class. Dance. Lift weights. Run. Do what lights you up. Not just what will give you toned arms or a lifted booty.
2. Drink water.
No, seriously, drink water. Your body will thank you in so many different ways.
3. Enjoy, no REALLY enjoy, your food.
Learn to cook a new meal. Try a new healthy restaurant. Make it a goal to chop veggies at least once a day. Don’t look at a screen while you are eating. Don’t skip breakfast. Eat slowly. Meal prep. I could go on.
4. Focus on habits.
You knew I would have to throw the “H” word in here somewhere! But, for real, focusing on healthy habits throughout your day keeps you present and in the moment. It provides instant gratification when you make the focus small daily acts of health. Some examples are taking the stairs, walking away from gossipy conversations, meditating, making meals with your kiddos, steaming veggies instead of frying them, skipping your nightly wine, etc.
5. STOP focusing on goals!
Seriously. Please stop letting rules, numbers and stress dictate your life. Focus, rather, on nurturing relationships with people, becoming in touch with your own intuition and creating meaningful daily experiences. Life is too short to think you have to look a certain way or to always feel like you are failing at reaching goals.
It may take a lot of work to change your focus from goals to health...but the goal of health is one that is really worth achieving!