Why You Should Lose the Weight Loss Goals to Succeed
When it comes to health and fitness, is setting strict goals doing you more harm than good?
In a lot of ways, yes. While this may sound strange, hear me out!
Do you know what it means to be autotelic and why this state of mind and being is so important to being successful in health and fitness, and life happiness?
The concept of being autotelic is something I learned from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of the national best seller Flow, and a new mentor of mine.
Being autotelic means doing an act for the sake of the act itself, not the result.
Here are some examples:
- A rock climber doesn’t climb the mountain necessarily to get to the top. The rock climber climbs the mountain to experience the joy of climbing.
- Runners don’t run to get to a finish line, they run to move. They run to be with nature. They run for that meditative feeling and satisfaction they get from moving their body in a running mode.
- Truly great painters don’t paint to get a finished product. They paint in order to be involved in the joy of creation.
- The world’s greatest writers don’t write just to finish a book. They write because they need to write. The act of writing and expressing themselves is so satisfying for them that they must continue writing regardless of whether they end up with a finished product or not.
So you’re probably asking yourself what this has to do with health and fitness?
Well, if we’re not autotelic in our health and fitness journey, we rarely ever succeed.
This is because when you attach a specific goal to your health and fitness journey you’re automatically less likely to be acting in an autotelic way. It may sound counterintuitive but simply focusing on a goal or an outcome such as, “I want a body like this or I want to look like that,” isn’t the best way to actually get to that goal.
Instead you need to exercise, eat well, prepare your own food, control your stress, sleep well and so on because these things are joyful parts of your life that you want to invest into…
What I’m saying is people who succeed with health and fitness don’t get where they are because they had this really strict goal in mind and thought, “I’m going to do everything necessary to get to my goal”.
Successful people learn to fall in love with the lifestyle and they learn to be autotelic.
- You need to learn to love having daily movement as a part of your day whether it takes you somewhere or not. Move simply to feel the joy of moving your body.
- You need to put good food in your body, to cook your own food using ingredients as close to nature as possible—not because you want a certain body, but because it feels good to cook for yourself and learn about food, and learn new cooking methods, and take care of yourself.
- And the same is true for lifestyle changes. Find ways to control stress or sleep better because it feels good to take care of yourself. It’s a joy to get a good night’s sleep. It’s a joy to be able to manage your stress. It’s a joy be energized every single day. You don’t do it so you can keep your cortisol down for weight loss or to be more productive in reaching your goal the next day.
Do you understand the difference?
If you really want to succeed in health and fitness, then you have to stop falling into the trap of setting strict, rigid, time-based goals and you have to learn how to just plain love the process. If you can fall in love with movement, if you can fall in love with putting good food into your body, if you can fall in love with managing your stress well, sleeping well, and looking for renewable resources of energy inside yourself, that is when you will truly succeed.
So try and take a few steps closer to being autotelic. Don’t get so caught up on your final goals or the specific pictures you have in your mind of what you want for yourself. Instead, concentrate on how great it feels to be a little more active than the day before or how good you feel when you eat healthy food. Take better care of yourself than you did the day before, until it becomes second nature. If you can become autotelic, you will be on the path to real, long-term, sustainable success.
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