I have learned an AWESOME two-part system for easily accomplishing long-term goals.
Part one: I ask myself: “Is this more important than accomplishing my goal?”, or a more clear and personal example: “Is eating this ice cream more important to me than losing weight?”
I find the answer to almost always be, “No.”
When the answer is no, I don’t do it! I’ve given myself the power to remember my long-term goals when my short-term wants are flashing in the moment.
Part two: making my long-term goals concrete. It’s nearly impossible to strive for a goal that’s vague and distant, especially in the face of a real and present short-term want, but making my long-term goals specific makes them not only more attainable, but more real in the moment. It’s in the moment that I have trouble choosing long-term over short-term, and this has made it not only possible, but easy!
So what do I do if I ever answer “yes”? It happens – I’ve found that occasionally the answer to “is eating this ice cream right now more important than losing weight” is yes; ice cream is my #1 comfort food, and like everyone, I need comfort sometimes.
I solved this by finding very low-fat frozen yogurt: I can eat an entire pint and take in less calories than a candy bar, and actually I can no longer physically consume an entire pint. I usually eat about 1/4th of one at a time, which I find to be totally acceptable, and it fills that comfort need that invokes the feelings in the first place.
Another example is that sometimes I really want a break from exercising. Again, I’ll consider if a break is more important than my goals, and if the answer is yes (this is extremely rare, but it does happen), I’ll go for a walk or a swim or something that day instead of the more hardcore exercising I usually do.
So, my method of dealing with these rare yeses is to find things that don’t do as much harm but still feed whatever need is presenting itself.
These combinations are incredibly powerful. This has helped me make real and measurable progress on goals I never believed I could accomplish. I’m really excited and happy!!