Letís say youíre moving forward in your efforts to achieve your goals. Along the way you will certainly experience many victories. Yet there will also be challenges and failures. To keep yourself going, you are going to need lots of support from within. This support is going to come in the form of self-monitoring, self-talk, and self-reward. I can not overstate the importance of constantly telling yourself what a good job you are doing. Itís not just the little things that you do each day that will get you to your goal. Itís learning to be excited by your choices and recognize your many triumphs ó however small they may seem.
It is wonderful to have the support of those you love. External accolades can be very nice. But if you do not have your own support, youíll quickly discover yourself drowning in misery and self-pity when things go wrong. There is nothing as substantial as love that comes from within. Freedom is learning to live from inner passion, following your own destiny. Allowing your life force to rise through you as you take each step of your journey, even when you occasionally fall flat on your butt. The accomplishment is to feel successful with each step you take, no matter what the outcome is. It is enough that you have taken the step. You are enough.
Weíre all on the same mission ó to discover inner peace, joy and harmony. Yet the paths we take to get there are as unique as snowflakes. Our particular course and destiny is shared by no one. There is no one path to reach prosperity. We each seek to evolve and grow past our current limitations. Thatís what we do as humans. We grow, and we discover something new ahead that we have yet to understand. As we look behind, we must appreciate what we have already learned. Furthermore, one day we comprehend that our path is not a dead end. There is no place we will reach where there are no problems, no challenges of face, no obstacles to overcome. The journey does not lead to an endpoint of perfection.
An old proverb that often brings a smile to me is, ďBest not to begin. Once begun, best to finish.Ē Look ahead and see your path leading up a steep rugged mountain. The mountainís magic, magnificence, and lore captivates you. Your heart beats with excitement while your body trembles with fear. This is your destiny and the path to freedom. Accept that no one other than you is insisting you must climb. And with your adventure, you will most certainly encounter every fear that currently keeps you small. It will push you to your limit. On the climb is where you discover who you are and what you are made of.
There are days as you advance that will seem as calm and delightful as a spring day. The sun will shine, bathing you with gentleness and warmth. The views are spectacular. Other days are filled with altitude and icy peaks. Blinding snow obscures your vision and howling wind cuts through your body. Your body will strain with the effort of each step. There will be doubt, and even misery. You will come face to face with your depression, helplessness, or hopelessness. Your thoughts will drift, wishing to give anything to be back in the place you started from. There are moments when you collapse with defeat.
But for most of us, we find the inner strength to take another step. With bloody fingers, scraped forearms, and a bruised body, the climb continues. Reaching the next peak, you think this is it. Maybe when I reach there, I will finally be able to rest. I will know happiness and peace. Once I reach that peak, Iíll be okay. You look down and see the mountain below you. And still you climb. There are days when you have traveled far and you feel you might finally be nearing the top, only to discover your path is blocked and you must retrace your steps and go another direction.
And then it happens! One day, you look around as the fog clears and see that you have reached the top. This mountain was conquered, and here you are. You look out. . . and see that this mountain was nothing compared to the one which now looms above you, off a bit in the distance. If you are wise, you realize that the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time and the experience you are having. The next mountain calls, and you know you will climb it. So relax. Your life is about the climb and how you do it. Your life is about the times you reach deep inside to see what you are really made of. Your life is about how much heart, love and spirit you are willing to expose as you undertake the journey.
Our road is filled with the seemingly infinite experiences and challenges that we must overcome. Although the obstacles may seem larger than the successes, this is an illusion. Learn to make the effort to notice the gradual changes that are occurring. Failing to recognize progress made can be devastating. If we havenít fed ourselves with heaping compliments and rewards for having overcome the last challenge, then weíre stopped dead in our tracks with nothing to pick us up when we collapse at the next obstacle.
Keeping written records of your positive behaviors, efforts and successes along the way is a powerful tool. Spend a little time devising a simple plan to document your daily achievements. Find a way to note the positive experiences, the things you enjoyed. There is an old childhood song that says, ďCount your blessings, name them one by one.Ē What great advice! What we focus on is what we receive more of.
Measuring your weight may or may not be useful. Youíll have to be the judge on that one. Either way, it can not be your only yardstick of accomplishment. Weight sometimes fluctuates, may be affected by fluid retention, it may plateau, and it almost always finds itís own pattern. Just like the journey isnít solely about reaching the top of your mountain, neither is the journey about solely reaching your weight loss goal. Measure effort, determination, small steps, and positive actions regularly and celebrate your successes!
Here are a few things to think about as you measure your success:
1. Do you enjoy what you do?
2. What are you learning about yourself?
3. Are you getting personal satisfaction from your efforts?
4. Are you being true to yourself?
5. Are you growing and accepting self-responsibility?
6. Are you more self-confident?
7. Do you feel more in control of yourself and your life?
8. Are you becoming more self-loving?
9. Are you listening to and trusting your body more often?
10. Do you smile and laugh more each day?
Copyright 2005, Dr. Annette Colby, all rights reserved.