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Monday, 18 October 2021 11:11

Your Ideal Day

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If money were no object, and life circumstances were no problem, what would your ideal day look like? Start at the beginning and put your ideal day together. Where would you wake up? When would you wake up, what time of day? Who would be there with you? What would you do first thing, if anything?

Keep it going. Walk yourself through the entire day. What would you eat? What do you look like? Is your hair color different or styled differently? Have you lost weight or gained weight? What activities would you engage in? What activities would you definitely NOT engage in? Is it warm where you are or cold? What clothes are you wearing? What sounds surround you?

What are you feeling? What feelings do you allow yourself to have that you usually avoid having in your everyday life? Do you feel peaceful? Relaxed? Comfortable? Optimistic? Joyful?

Spend some time answering these questions and any other questions that come up for you. Fill in as many details as you can and make it the best day you can imagine and then some. Give yourself a solid, strong mental and emotional picture of your ideal day.

This is what we’re all working toward, isn’t it? We want our lives to be better, easier, and more joyful. This ideal day is what we believe would be the ultimate reward, the long-term goal, for changing our body size.

Now, imagine that picture is cut into 1,000 pieces and given to you in a box as jigsaw puzzle. You can make it a 500 piece puzzle if 1,000 seems too difficult to achieve. Think about your life as it is now. Some of that ideal day picture already exists in your life right now. Pick out those pieces and put them together. It’s like finding the straight edges and putting the border together. You know how those pieces fit. They are easy to assemble and they feel familiar. Guess what? You’re now at least 20% down the road to your ideal day. Give yourself a reward! Pat yourself on the back, literally or figuratively, for knowing who you are now in the present moment.

Working toward a weight goal, or any goal for that matter, is a process of knowing the end result, having that clear picture of where you’re going, and filling in the pieces as you go along. I love doing jigsaw puzzles, so I’m going to use the process of working a puzzle as an example of how we work toward our weight goals and how we know when to give ourselves a reward along the way.

After the border is all assembled, there’s still a long way to go! There are all these pieces and a lot of them are the same color. The picture isn’t clear yet, so it’s hard to fit even the first few pieces in the puzzle. Usually, I pick one section and try to fill it in, allowing one piece to build on the next, matching shape and color until I have part of the picture completed.

Isn’t that how our journey to a weigh goal starts? We know who we are right now. We’ve figured out what type of plan is going to suit our lifestyle. We have found our motivation and we have some positive, encouraging thoughts to start us on our way. At the same time, the picture of our end goal is a long way off, so it’s not so easy to keep in sight. We aren’t sure how we’re going to get to the goal or how long it’s going to take. So, we need to start on one thing.

Maybe that one thing is writing out daily affirmations to have on hand and to rely on to keep us motivated. Maybe that one thing is changing one eating habit. Maybe it’s only breakfast or lunch or dinner, but not all three. Maybe that one thing is starting some form of movement or exercise. We still need to make sure that one thing fits in with our lives. We have to match that one thing with our personal preferences for self-motivation, or eating habits, or an exercise plan. As we work on that one thing, it becomes easier to do. It builds on itself and we become confident in our ability to sustain that one change. Guess what? You’re 35% of the way to your ideal day!

Reward yourself for achieving that one thing! You filled in one corner of the picture of your ideal day! You are closer to your goal now than you have ever been before. Maybe this reward is something a little bigger and more tangible than the daily rewards for turning our thoughts around. Maybe at this point, you want to celebrate by going shopping, or reading a good book, or even going out to lunch with a friend. This reward can be a food or a non-food reward. If a food reward would make you feel like you blew your whole plan, then don’t use food. It doesn’t matter what the reward is. The main idea is to celebrate your achievement.

As you work on each piece of your ‘ideal day puzzle,’ and as that picture fills in more and more, the effort becomes easier. The pieces seem to fall into place and you find the right piece with less and less effort. Plan out your rewards so that you can celebrate your success as you get each section completed and as you get closer and closer to your goal. Figure out what your rewards will be and who will be celebrating with you.

These rewards for filling in bigger chunks of your picture don’t have to happen on a schedule. They can happen whenever you feel you’ve passed a milestone. You can decide ahead of time what those milestones might be and, I would encourage you to do so. Just make sure that you have some non-weight milestones to celebrate.

Because here’s the thing about this puzzle you’re working. You can sort out all the pieces that show a picture of you at your ideal size and weight. You can build that picture of yourself first and see it come to life. But once that’s complete, the puzzle is still missing a lot of pieces. The place you want to be, the people you want to have with you, the feelings you want to have on your ideal day won’t automatically fill themselves in just because you’ve reached your weight goal.

Maybe my ideal day is waking up in a mountain cabin that belongs to me, with my ideal partner at my side, and a successful writing career in place. I want to feel confident that I can always maintain my body at this weight and at this state of health. I want to feel happy and contented with my life. In order for that all to happen, then I have to take the necessary steps to buy the cabin, write the books, meet the partner, build my self-esteem, and find contentment within myself. Those are pieces of my ‘ideal day puzzle’ that I need to work on and to fill in along the way.

So, while you’re rewarding a change of 10 pounds in body weight, plan to reward a 10% shift in confidence. Plan to reward yourself when you notice that you are 30% happier than you were 6 months ago. Celebrate the completion of 2 chapters in your book.

When I’m discouraged with working one section of a jigsaw puzzle and nothing seems to fit, I move to a different section. Working with a different color, I can ‘see’ how things fit more clearly. It’s the same with working toward our ideal day. We can work on weight but when we get discouraged, when it feels like we’re doing everything we can but we don’t see results, we can go work on confidence for a while. We don’t disassemble everything we’ve put in place toward reaching a weight goal. We leave that section in place because it’s working and it’s complete for now. We just re-focus our efforts for a while so the whole picture, the whole Main Meal of our lives, our ideal lives, can come into focus, piece by interlocking piece.

Read 375 times Last modified on Monday, 04 October 2021 13:02
Betty Brink

Betty Brink is an expert on the mental and emotional aspects of dieting and body image. She is the author of "The Main Meal: The New Perspective on Weight Loss." In seminars, speeches, and consultations, she demonstrates practical methods to quiet the diet chatter, and to empower yourself to make conscious choices in diet, in life, and in relationships.

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