Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Staying Focused...

I thought I'd share an article with you that I wrote for my friend Karen at Truly Low-Carb, for the Newsletter, a couple of years ago. I feel with all that is going on, the message may be just what many need to see right now.

Staying Focused
Have you ever looked at an idea or project and thought to yourself, "I can do that!"? So you gather all the information you can find and start reading. You realize that this project isn't going to be as easy as you first assumed, but it's still a worthwhile venture. After many hours of reading, planning and preparation, you are finally ready to begin. You take that first step with eager anticipation of the end result. Your confidence is high and you have no doubts that you will be successful. Then some well-intentioned person comes along with advice. They tell you how you are doing it wrong, or how others have tried the same thing and failed. They think you are wasting your time and should focus your efforts on other methods to be successful. Though you wholeheartedly believe in what you are doing, they have now planted a little seed of doubt in your mind. The advice continues to pour in from many sources. Whether it be friends, family, or media, that seed in your mind starts to sprout. You find yourself wondering if you really can do this. "Am I being realistic?" "Maybe they are right." The next step finds you focusing on your failures instead of your victories. Eventually you feel defeated and you quit.

Does this sound familiar at all? If so, you are not alone. Or maybe I should say I'm not alone. This has happened to me many times. My latest "venture" was low carb dieting. And while I'll held my ground for almost 2 years, this last year has been a tough one. I've started entertaining thoughts that low carb isn't something I can do forever. Why? Well, I have no reasonable answer. I just know that for some reason I'm seeing all the times I've fallen on my face, or in this case, stuffed carb-loaded foods in my face. I've taken my eyes off the prize. What is the prize? That's something else I’ve needed to re-evaluate. My goals used to be a certain weight or size. After a bad year and bad eating, I've realized that I was on the right track, but for the wrong reasons. I reached my goal last year and felt like I had finally won the race. The problem was that I overlooked a simple fact: this race doesn't end until I do. My mission should have been for long term health as well as weight loss. Somewhere along the way I started losing that perception. That seed of doubt, which in my case was "can I do this forever?", began to sprout. As I described in the aforementioned allegory, I started my descent of apprehension. This lead me to throw up my hands and quit. I'm happy to tell you I didn't quit for long. But during my time of total defeat I gained back health problems that low carbing had eliminated completely, as well as a few lbs and inches that are more than happy to announce their presence when I try on clothes.

While this experience is one most people would rather do without, I can honestly say I'm glad it happened. Why? Because it proved to me that low carbing is the healthiest lifestyle choice for me. I don’t need research and studies to settle this question for me. I now have my own validation. I don’t think of myself as a failure anymore. When I look in the mirror, it is no longer with disgust and self-loathing. I see a success, who just hit a detour.

Are you wrestling with these same problems? These same doubts? While I wouldn’t suggest you find out the way I did, I would recommend you go back to the beginning. Take a look at your game plan. We have to keep our eyes on the goals we set when we took that first step. We have to believe that we will succeed and then continue on in confidence, even when we fall. Ignore the nay-sayers and keep yourself educated and motivated. And do me a favor, when you reach that goal, celebrate in a big way, but keep your eyes on the ultimate goal - staying healthy and living a long and happy life.


Gluttonynomore said...

With one's priorities in place we still will have times of drama when other things (like my daughter recent car accident) get pushed to the number one spot on our priority list. I lost focus on my health for 6 weeks and gained back some weight(and addictions), but now things are back in correct perspective for my list of priorities and I am once again losing(and in control). Yes, there are those bumps in the road and those voices always will be calling trying to get us to a different path. Hopefully, we will all continue on our weight loss and health journey as it is a life long journey with bumps and detours along the way.

Sparky's Girl said...

Thanks for your comment Suz!