What You Need To Do Vs. What You’re Willing To Do

[In today’s post, I use weight loss as an example, but any goal could be substituted.]

How many people do you know who want to lose weight, who know how to lose weight, but don’t lose weight? The problem isn’t a lack of desire or a lack of knowledge, so why not just do it?

That question, of course, can be answered in a myriad of ways, and different “why”s will apply to different people. But there are some common underlying reasons.

Question: What do you need to do in order to lose weight?

Answer: Change your habits. You might need to eat less. You might need to eat more. You might need to eat the same quantity, just different quality. You might need to exercise more, or differently. You might need more sleep. You might need less soda or alcohol. They’re all habits.

Let’s say you set a goal to lose two pounds per week, but you’re only willing to make changes that net half a pound per week loss. The goal and the path don’t match.

So what should you do? Well, either change the goal to half a pound per week, or make changes that net two pounds per week. Neither is right or better, but one of them has to change.

A pound is 3500 calories. If you’re not willing to make 7000 calories worth of changes per week every week, then two pounds per week is not a good goal. (And if you’re currently on a “gain a pound per week” plan, you’re going to need to make 10,500 worth of changes.)

If you make what you need to do and what you are willing to do match, your goal becomes much more attainable.

Start small. You can always up the ante later if what you’re doing turns out to be easier than you expected in the long run. If you start big, it’s a lot easier to burn out.

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