I finally learned how to lose weight by remembering something that an old boss told me years ago. At the time, I was living in Chicago and working for CBS in national outdoor sales – billboards, bus advertising, train advertising, etc. My first year there, I was given a goal of bringing in $1.5 million in sales. I really just couldn’t wrap my brain around how much that was. That was a HUGE number – it sounded crazy! How could I possibly hit a number that large? It was such a big number, in fact, that it just shut me down. I was going to give up before I even started.
My boss could sense my frustration, and one day he called me down to his office. “Can you go on 2 sales calls a day?”, he asked me.
“Sounds simple enough,” I replied.
“Then you will hit your goal,” he responded. He went on to explain that It took X sales calls to generate Y sales and produce Z revenue in a year. So, if you start with Z, and work backwards, you could break down a giant task into relatively easy smaller goals. Simply hit the short term goals, and the long term goals take care of themselves.
That worked for me. I stopped worrying about the ridiculous sales number and started focusing on setting 2-3 sales appointments a day, because that was a simple, attainable goal. And bada bing! – you can guess the result. I also used this tactic to beat the pants off of that same boss in a weight loss competition – the student had become the master!
In February of this year, I weighed 383 pounds. I was once again faced with a BIG number – I needed to lose at least 150 pounds to get myself back into the world of human beings. 150 pounds! Doesn’t that just sound crazy? I mean, who in their right mind would attempt something that nutso?
I have attempted to lose weight many times over the years, and all of them ended in not just failure but an even higher weight for me. What on Earth made me think that I could succeed now where I had failed so many times before?
So here’s what I did:
1. I hired a personal trainer. Cost: a lot. Holding me accountable and making me work out even on days I don’t want to: priceless
2. I stopped thinking about needing to lose 150 pounds, period. I never think about it.
3. I used the old sales technique I had learned and combined it with some good old Buddhist philosophy. I focus only on today. Yesterday is gone. The failures or successes of the past are over. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. All I can really do is focus on today. Today, I will eat right (that’s a whole separate upcoming post), and I will probably exercise as well.
4. The scale is not my boss. I weigh in once a week to measure progress – weighing daily is absolutely pointless because of fluctuations in water weight, and weighing monthly isn’t enough for me. My trainer and I also measure other things, such as inches lost and % of body fat. I also have a fairly set cardio routine, where I can measure progress (speed, incline, level, etc) as I go.
So, if I can accomplish my daily goal of eating well and exercising, then there is always progress in weight loss, inches lost, fitness level, or body fat %, and sometimes all of the above.
The coolest side effect of this is that I am more PRESENT now. I live in the moment a lot more than I used to. Things become more enjoyable, people more interesting, and family more fulfilling.
I wonder what you could do if you made your big goals into little hills?
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