What Does Success Really Look Like?

by | Dec 16, 2013

Photo by Lakbay 7107

When I was a chronic dieter it seemed like no matter what I weighed, I always wanted to lose another 5-10 lbs. I can’t explain why it took me so long to realize this was crazy and counterproductive.

In retrospect it’s clear that the shape of my body, not the size of it, was my real issue. And if I would have spent less time denying myself sushi rice and more time strengthening my hamstrings and glutes, my “problems” would have disappeared in a few weeks.

It’s amazing how attainable most of our goals really are.

A couple of weeks ago I asked my newsletter subscribers two questions:

  1. What (specifically) would success look like to you?
  2. What do you think is holding you back?

The vast majority of the answers I received were both simple and realistic. Here’s some examples:

“I don’t care about being thin…just want to hit that healthy part of the spectrum.”  -NB

“The only real goal I have left is maybe to lose another 5 – 10 pounds.”   -JF

“Success to me would be to stop the insanity of yo-yo dieting and feeling shitty about myself.”  -PP

Being healthy, losing five pounds and not dieting are all very attainable goals that can likely be achieved with only one or two high-impact habit changes. Something like ditching your daily morning muffin and replacing it with muesli, or learning to chew more and eat mindfully have worked for many people.

Certainly there are some of you with more extensive health concerns, but getting on the path to success starts in the same way: with 1-2 new habits.

When you think about your health try not to think of how far you have to go, but of what single thing you can do consistently to get one step closer.

In my next newsletter I’ll talk about what people say is holding them back and why there’s a good chance it isn’t as hard as they think. Subscribe now to make sure you get the next update.

What would success really look like to you? Be specific.

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8 Responses to “What Does Success Really Look Like?”

  1. Rafael da Silva says:

    Two goals,
    – Start exercising at all, as any kind of exercise is a pain to me;
    – Being able to get home effortlessly (10 minute walk, with uphill of about ten floor building with 40 degrees inclination at the end);

  2. Rebecca says:

    I’m pregnant and was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I’m not the most obvious candidate for it, but I have it anyway.

    Success had been: don’t get fat while pregnant.

    Now, knowing that having gestational diabetes increases my chances of developing Type II diabetes in as little as 5-10 years (!!!), and having a family history of both Type I and Type II diabetes, now, success is: As much as it is in my power, aim to manage the diabetes with diet and exercise. This means making exercise/physical movement a daily thing, not a 3-4x weekly thing. And to make my diet a little neater and tidier which will be a natural consequence of watching my blood sugar.

    The goal is twofold. One, that I fulfill my original idea of success (don’t get fat while pregnant). Two, to use this time not as a temporary punishment until I can get back to “normal”, but to establish some healthier habits that continue after the kid is here to lower my chances of getting Type II down the road.

  3. Brad says:

    I am 58 years old. I am very healthy, which I concede involved a certain amount of genetic luck, but is also founded on three basic principles:

    1. I eat semi-paleo – that is, I am aware of the insulin-spiking effects flour, sugar and seed oils and eat them very rarely. Conversely, I incline toward copious vegetables and healthy animal-based foods.

    2. I get some sun every day. Crucial to my mental health.

    3. I work out, hard and in varied ways, at least 45 minutes every day. This one is by far the hardest. I would also rank it as most important.

  4. Lyn says:

    I am 73 and have been gaining consistantly over the past 5 yrs. I have been thin most of my life amd it seems strange to have to watch what I eat now. Later in life, especially retirement, I think being active physically is a real challenge.

  5. Lexie Wolf says:

    Success would be conquering my habit of snacking at night after dinner. I’m really healthy in lots of other ways, but this one is so hard for me.

  6. Diane says:

    I do exercise several times a week in the form of power walking and yoga, so I have made great strides and achieved success there. I have even signed up for 2 races in January.

    Success with food would be ending my struggle with sweets and snack foods between meals. I eat healthy meals, cook a lot at home, but get so sidetracked by poor choices between meals and feel disappointed with myself. A hurdle I would finally like to overcome in 2014.

  7. Kate says:

    Success for me would be establishing a regular workout routine.

    I do walk for a great part of my commute on the weekdays, and I try to walk for at least some errands.

    However, I’ve never been good at structuring regular exercise, and in particular, needed strength training. The last few months with a big job transition I’ve particularly dropped the ball so would like to reboot a realistic but aspirational fitness routine.

  8. Darya Rose says:

    I would try to start small with something you can do at home, like Fitstar or kettlebells. Good luck!

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