I've been told it's called a resolution. But I don't like to call it a resolution, because from my experience resolutions are made to be broken. They last about a month or two and then they disappear, and are no longer important.
This year, I made the resolution to lose more weight than I lost last year. For the first two months, I did great. Then the resolution started being replaced with life - and I feel off the wagon. It was all downhill from there, and I ended up gaining a ton of weight over the remainder of the year. I don't want that to happen again.
Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with Butter's counselor. He's Butter's counselor, but he has made me realize that I probably need my own counselor. We spend about half the time talking about Butter and the rest of the time talking about my problems. Yesterday's discussion was about changing behaviors and routines.
Not that I want to give out confidential information about Butter's counseling appointments, but this conversation was relevant to many situations in my life. It was the topic of need versus want.
Using an example: I'm a parent that says NO a lot. Not in the context that my kids aren't allowed to do a lot, but when I don't want them to have or do what they're asking for, I just say no. Professionally speaking (from the counselor's point of view), using the word "no" often sets off the anger mechanism in the brain of a child. They hear the word and automatically feel like they're being denied something - and they don't like it. Instead, choices should be given. If I don't want one of my kids doing something, then I should give them two other choices of things they can do instead. That's a great idea, but breaking the habit of saying no is a hard one to break. He pointed out that I know I need to make the change, but I often don't want to - because it's just easier to say no. I have to want to change more than I need to change.
As a teacher and as a mother, I've always been taught that need should always be more important than want. My kids and I need food, but the chips and cookies aren't placed in to that category. Those are wants, and wants are not important. I need a job to support my family. I may not be doing exactly what I want to be doing, but the need is more important and so I do it. We need clothes, but the twenty pairs of heels that I never wear are most definitely wants that I could have done without. Getting the point? Needs have always been more important than wants.
When it comes to breaking a habit or changing behaviors, however? The want has to be greater than the need.
For years, I've declared that I needed to lose weight. I've needed to in order to better my health, to be there for my kids when they grow up, to be able to keep up with a classroom of kids, etc.
Last year (2010), for the first time in forever, I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to look better, I wanted to fit in smaller clothing, I wanted to feel better when going out with my friends, I wanted to be able to run in 5K races. I wanted, I wanted, I wanted. And you know what? I succeeded. For that year, anyway.
By the end of 2010, I had succeeded in all of those things. I felt better about the way I looked, I loved going clothes shopping because I was able to buy clothes in the "regular" stores - and not the plus section, I went out with my friends with confidence and didn't feel like the elephant in the room, and I ran two 5K races that year. I succeeded.
Then, in January 2011, I changed that want back to a need. I needed to continue losing weight. I needed to not let my school work and graduating college interfere. I needed to take advantage of having so much time off of work during the summer to focus on working out. There were lots of needs, but how many did I accomplish? None.
It's no secret that this year has been a total failure - in terms of my weight loss. I could sit here and feel all depressed about how much I failed. But you know what? I don't. I needed this year to show me how much I want to lose weight. I hate the fact that I've gained so much weight back, but it really helps me think about how great I felt last year when I'd lost so much and how great I felt and how I wanted to keep the momentum going.
I could sit here and blame certain events that have taken place this year on my weight gain. But that's not fair. I had plenty of opportunities to change my behaviors, but the truth is - I didn't want to. I was happy in a weird, depressing way. I kind of took the weight gain as a crutch. It was something I could make excuses for and other things, like finding a job, was much more important. I wanted to find a teaching job much more than I wanted to continue losing weight. The job became my top priority... my only priority in fact. When that failed? Well, I just felt like a failure - and didn't want to succeed in anything else.
Now that I look back, there are no regrets. I hate regretting the past. I can't change it, so there's no point in dwelling on it. All I can do is learn from it. I now know how much I want to lose weight. I don't like feeling the way I do right now. I have clothes that are way too tight, I'm back to being winded after walking a mile, and I'm back to not wanting to go out with my friends. I'm back to the girl I was in the beginning of 2010, the girl that wanted so much from my weight loss efforts.
In the next couple of days, I have some goals that I'm going to share about my plans for 2012. Goals that may surprise you. I'm going to focus my efforts, once again, on my wants rather than my needs. It works. I know that because I've done it. So, bring it on 2012... I'm ready for ya!
Till next time. ;)
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