Monday, February 18, 2008

Pretending You're Winning Builds Enthusiasm

You could make a strong case that my weight loss resolution is lacking clear definitive progress. Some might go so far as to argue that it's a failure or certainly behind schedule.

The pants that I planned to wear with shirt tucked in, comfortably, for a day at work, were uncomfortably tight this morning. Now, they had just come out of the dryer where they had perhaps been left to shrink a bit. But... nevertheless, the fit was not desired. Since the pants are actually starting to wear out because as one of my largest pairs I was wearing them a lot, I put them back and pulled out a new pair that was also fresh out of the dryer and seemed fine.

Still to have resolved six weeks ago to lose weight and not have passed the very first interim goal/milepost is disappointing and could be disconcerting. Yesterday my jeans felt looser and my husband made a comment about thinking I might have lost some weight, so it's not ALL discouraging news. So what to do?

Seems like maybe I need to increase either the quantity or intensity of what I'm doing for exercise (as exercise not diet is what works for me). BUT.... here is what's important. I realized today that if I try to do it thinking that I'm not doing enough, I'm likely to be bummed and disheartened. Instead I know I have to believe that I AM losing weight. I AM making progress. I need to think that way to get the mental boost it gives me.

Yes, my jeans felt loose yesterday. My husband noticed the difference. I've been exercising pretty regularly. As I ran the 3 mile loop today I never once thought, "Oh, how much longer" or "I'm so tired" or "I wish I could stop."

I first discovered the power of pretending I was winning when I was about 10 years old and playing ping-pong with my brother who is 4 years older than I am. I noticed that when I was ahead, whether it was because I had played well or my brother had made a mistake, that I was so happy that I generally played better. So I started telling myself silently that I was ahead (regardless of the score). I would make myself feel that surge of happiness that victory brings and that feeling allowed me to play as well as my older, more athletic brother. I have no idea who won more games overall, my brother or I, but I learned that success often encourages people enough that they increase their achievement further. AND pretending success can increase your own achievement, just as much as real success.

Brian Tracy points out that sales people are most successful immediately following a sale because they are still so pumped up and confident from the previous sale. And he tells people to try and pump themselves up that way regardless of their sales record, by positive self-talk. He tells of someone who achieved success by telling himself, "I'm the best," before each sales call.

So today I am celebrating being successful at losing weight. Again, I repeat, I got one half-compliment. I felt good running 3 miles. Yesterday my jeans were riding lower, no longer stretched to the max by my stomach. I am on my way! And now I must go dance for joy!

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