“I am not putting ‘lose 10 pounds’ on my goal sheet one more time,” I told one of my mastermind buddies several months ago. I was discouraged that quarter after quarter, I set the same seemingly easy goal, but could never mark it off as complete. I mean really, just stop eating already!! Don’t you wish it was that easy? As with everything, there’s always more to the story. So, let me back up a bit.
Two years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer, it was a big shock. Well thank you for pointing that out captain obvious. But really, it was on several levels.
One reason the doctors had no explanation was because I had none of the big four risk factors which can cause a woman to get breast cancer – over 60 years in age, heavy drinking, obesity, or family history of breast cancer. I was in great shape, 42 years old, and healthy otherwise. But as they told me, sometimes cancer happens and they still can’t explain it.
With a double mastectomy, you are faced with the decision of whether to undergo reconstruction surgery. I chose to undergo the process and started learning about what that would involve. One way to reconstruct is through fat grafting. At the time, I didn’t have enough on my abdomen to rebuild. So, we opted for the implant route.
After the initial surgery, I was experiencing major depression. I was going to work and going through the motions. But I just didn’t have any joy. This was aggravating as I had just beat cancer so figured I should be elated. But instead, I remained stuck and melancholy, often eating comfort food to numb the pain.
After a mastectomy, you also experience huge hormone shifts. Most of the estrogen in your body is contained in the breast tissue, so that hormone is wiped out from the surgery. Estrogen regulates food intake and body weight, so pairing the lack of that hormone with my comfort food cravings, added up to about 20 extra pounds around my stomach.
Having long been a student of fitness and diet, I thought I could easily fix this situation. But month after month, I continued to exercise with no change in my weight. In fact, I kept adding a pound here and there. It was very discouraging. I gave up. A lot.
We all have varying reasons that we may have put on some unhealthy weight from time to time. And we all have periods in our lives that we set goals, but just can’t seem to pull through to reach them.
One of the biggest reasons I feel we abandon our goals is we set these big goals and get discouraged when we don’t see immediate results or progress.
Faced with having to go up yet another pant size, I decided enough was enough. So, I started trying to do things a little differently. Here are the 3 things I changed:
1) Slow your roll. I’m all for big goal setting, but when it makes you stall out, it’s more of a hindrance than a help. Instead of setting a ton of big goals that were a complete lifestyle shift for me, I decided to go a little easier on myself. I mean who was I kidding. I was not going to give up cupcakes for life. The thought of that sends me into a little bit of a panic anyway. I set 2 goals – one about physical activity and one about my diet.
2) Set lead indicators. I made a list of 5 small daily habits that would move me towards my goals. This did not include weighing myself. In the business world, that is a lag indicator. It’s an after the fact kind of number. What we’re focusing on are lead indicators, the things that we need to do daily that will change the scale. (i.e. stop eating 3 hours before bed, eat 4 servings of veggies/day)
3) What gets measured gets managed. I used my business goal tracking spreadsheet to track the lead indicators. Each day I completed a habit or task I had set up, I got a check mark. At the end of each week, I would be able to see how many days I actually completed the daily habits or tasks toward a healthy lifestyle.
What I liked about this simple spreadsheet method is that even though I wasn’t losing weight at the beginning, I kept going. Because my focus was more on the small daily practices, I felt like I was winning even though the scale didn’t reflect that yet. It’s the same method I use for our Mometum90 plan in business.
Recently I started reading the book “The Slight Edge”, by Jeff Olson. I was thrilled to find out that my method of small daily habits is exactly what he attributes as the secret to his success as well as his multiple businesses. While he agrees that success lies in mundane, every day simple things, he says that people don’t consistently do the simple things that will make them successful for 3 reasons:
1) While they’re easy to do, they’re also easy not to do
2) You don’t see any results at first
3) They seem insignificant, like they don’t matter
After reading this book, I was even more committed to my weekly tracker that I’ve been using for half a year now. It’s so simple, but I am now seeing results in my weight, my business, and every area that I’ve set habits in.
If you’d like to use my weekly momentum tracker, you can download it here. Use it for any goal you’re working on. I just shared with you how I used it with my weight because it’s something a lot of us can identify with. With small daily steps, you’ll move closer to your goals and the success you’re working towards. Time is the variable that will multiply your small daily habits into massive success. So, keep on moving forward and you’ll get those results that have eluded you.