By Zach Shivers, RD, LD

What is your goal? Do you have a game-plan to achieve your goal? And what is the time frame that you will set to work on this? These three questions must be asked and answered before embarking on any journey towards a specific goal, especially when beginning your weight loss journey! However, upon answering these questions, they bring you to one final question which is, “why don’t you just start?” Now I know that this question seems overly simplistic, nevertheless I find that it’s essential to ask yourself this when planning to lose weight.
If asked, I bet that you’d say you have a plan of what you’re going to do. It’s like we take comfort in having a rough outline or roadmap to help us orient ourselves or steer the ship as it were. In fact, we each have the same 24 hours in a day so prioritizing is essential. Despite this, each of us have numerous daily obligations which take away a portion of this time. Whether they are to work, spending time with our families, or even other commitments, we make time for them and somehow fit them into our busy schedules. The time remaining after all your obligations are completed is the time that you have control over. You decide whether to spend this time productively or unproductively. To get things done, or to waste this time. The fundamental point here is that you make a choice on what to spend your
time on and that time goes by.
Now I’m sure that you hear, seemingly all the time, your friends, family, or even coworkers, for that matter, talk about planning to start new workout routines or weight loss programs. While there isn’t anything wrong with planning to do something, all too often that is where we stop. We get so caught up in the planning stage and try to find the best or most optimal way to do something instead of actually doing what we planned to do. For example, I’ve had friends say, “I want to start camping.” They started watching videos on camping, began researching the best gear to go camping, and learned all this information about camping. However, when I saw them next, I asked, “how has your camping been going?” To which they replied, “I haven’t actually gone, yet.”
Now think about this, here is a person who chose to spend all this time learning how to camp, but hasn’t chosen to actually go camping. It’s like this person is stuck. How many of us get stuck like this throughout our daily lives? We kick the can down the road. We pass the buck. We choose to procrastinate on something and then justify our decision with numerous reasons or excuses. It’s the, “I signed up for a gym membership, but haven’t gone, yet”, mentality. You might say, “at least I signed up!” And while this is indeed a step in the right direction, you have to actually choose to go; you have to start going. A big problem for many of us is that we truly want to achieve something, but we get so bogged down in the minor details that we never actually start doing it. We often never achieve what we were striving for and this leaves us feeling disappointed.
Instead of being disappointed, I propose a different strategy. One that takes planning into account, but then goes much further. I’m talking about actually starting. Actually working on the little things which over time lead to actually reaching your goal. The beauty of choosing to start is that by starting you truly see improvements, you get better. These improvements rightly lead to an increase in your self-esteem and add to a list of accomplishments that you are solely responsible for. We all need something that we can take pride in! This newfound pride allows you to stay in a positivity loop, if you will, which looks somethings like this: “I have a goal to lose weight. I’ve lost X pounds this week. I am happy that I’ve chosen to eat better which caused my weight loss this week and that I’m getting closer to my goal. And I know that I can repeat these habits while working on improving just one little thing this week.”
This positivity loop feels good. It reminds you of your choice to be dedicated towards your goal and to consistently do the little things correctly which leads to weight loss milestones. These milestones remind you that you’re not stuck, you’re actively improving, and you’re getting closer to your goal each and every week! Perhaps you might think of it this way: the time is going to go by anyway, so would you like to remain where you are now, or would you rather choose to do something about it? If I want to want to work on my health and wellness wouldn’t it make sense to start sooner rather than later? We both know that it won’t always be easy and will require consistent effort. However, half of the battle is just showing up. Likewise, I’m sure you’ve heard that nothing that was ever meaningful came easily. The truth is that you can improve! You can reach your health and wellness goals! You just have to choose to start! Why don’t you just start today?
“The [person] who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
– Confucius