“You would be so much happier if you lost the weight – and I just want you to be happy.”
I’ve heard this a lot. You probably have, too.
But the problem wasn’t that people said these things to me (or that I said them to myself). I believe they were well meaning.
The problem was that I believed it.
I believed that things like happiness, beauty, fun and success would happen only after I lost the weight.
I believed they weren’t happening now because of the extra weight.
I was looking to the numbers on the scale to give me permission to feel happy and good about myself. I wasn’t allowing myself to feel happy where I was; for fear that I would become complacent and stay overweight.
So I believed all the lies I told myself. I will be happy when I lose the weight; I’m not so pretty now, but will be once I lose the weight; I will be really successful when I lose the weight because then I’ll look good in a suit and have confidence; I’ll have fun once I lose the weight because I’ll have more energy.
All this would happen after I lost the weight. Not a minute before.
With that thinking, however, I had set up a moving target for myself.
Because when you don’t have something now, what determines you having it in the future? When does that happiness switch get flipped?
For me, I thought it would be 5 pounds lost. I thought once I got the ball rolling on the weight loss, I would be happy.
Then I reached the 5 pound mark and something happened, but it wasn’t happiness. That goal became not good enough. Just water weight. Not REAL weight loss.
I reset the goal to 10 pounds. That’s when I’ll feel really good about myself. That’s when it will be real.
But that wasn’t quite enough, either.
Then I lost 15 pounds and bought a new pair of jeans in the next size down. That was the sweet spot. Standing in the dressing room, wearing those jeans, I was finally happy. But it didn’t last. I got used to the loss pretty quickly and didn’t see it in the mirror anymore. I just saw more to be done.
Nope. Not happy. Not yet.
It took a few more rounds of this before I learned my lesson.
I learned that as long as I relied on something outside of myself to determine my happiness, I will never be happy. There will always be something else.
I learned that if I don’t see it now, it doesn’t matter what I do. I won’t see what I’m looking for in the future, either. It will keep depending on something else, then something after that, and then one more thing after that…
That’s because happiness, beauty, fun and success are not just delivered to us on a silver platter with weight loss. These are all things we choose to allow – or reject- right now. It doesn’t depend on anything other than us and how we choose to feel.
So I stopped looking for weight loss and started looking for happiness. And I found it in where I was, what I had accomplished, and in my plans for the future. I found beauty in my life, in my relationships, in my business and in the mirror. There was so much to be happy about.
I didn’t have to wait for it to come to me after a goal had been met. I just had to allow myself to feel it.
And once I started feeling happy, I found something pleasantly surprising. When I allowed myself to be happy, I wasn’t complacent at all. I still ate to fuel my body, went to the gym, worked on my thoughts. I still lost weight. I was just much more relaxed while I was doing it.
To end that cycle of waiting to be happy, start with now. Feel it now. See it now. Be it now.
When you accomplish that, the future where you will be so happy and pretty and fun and successful will be here.