Staying Focused

staying focused

Many of us approach our health like a 100m sprint. We go hard, quick, and rely on sheer strength to get us to our goal. However, staying focused and committed to your health and weight loss goal is more like running a marathon. You’ve to pace yourself; know when to push and when to ‘rest’; you’ve got to plan your strategy; and most of all, stay focused, keeping your end goal in sight.

I used to run marathons a few years ago. In my first race, I made the mistake of getting caught up with the flow and energy of the other runners. As a result, I did not stick to my own strategy and pace, and suffered as a result. My sprint at the start of the race left me exhausted and I did not have enough endurance left to finish the race. Frustrating!

Your health and weight loss goals can be like that too. You start off strong and motivated; you’re hyped and ready to go. Then without realizing what you’re doing, you get distracted, discouraged or overwhelmed with the whole process. The next thing you know, you’re ready to quit.

Today’s post will teach you how to start and finish your health and weight loss journey.

Plan your strategy

No-one would ever go into a marathon without a plan or strategy. My training was planned out right from the day I committed to run a race to the second I crossed the finish line. Your weight loss program should look very similar. It should have a strategy that spans from beginning to end.

Plan out your goal date, then set specific goals for every 3 months (quarterly), every month (monthly), every week (weekly), and then break it down into daily goals. Once you reach your goal, then you will need a maintenance plan.

Track your progress by measuring your body mass index, waist to hip ratio, or just take note of how your clothes are fitting you.

So your strategy might look like this:

  • In one year, I will have released 60 pounds
  • Quarterly, I will have released 15 pounds
  • Monthly, I will release 5 pounds
  • Weekly, I will release 1.2 pounds
  • Daily, I will eat 1500 calories and walk for 15 minutes

Stay focused on your goal by planning your strategy. Your weight should be no surprise at the end of the year, because you’ve been monitoring it throughout your journey. Once you’ve charted your course, it’s time to follow your plan.

Pace Yourself

You may look at other women and wonder why the weight seems to melt off, while, for you, it feels like you have to starve you lose even half a pound each month.

This in itself can be very frustrating for you, but here’s the thing. You have no idea how long the other person has been on their journey. You don’t know what they’ve done to get to this point. You have no idea how hard they’ve been training or all the sacrifices they’ve made to get to this point.

So once you’ve made up your mind that you want to lose the weight, pace yourself for the long haul. Despite your slow pace in comparison to others, and despite the ups and downs, stay the course.

Do what’s right for you and don’t get distracted by anyone else’s ‘race’. Don’t get caught up in what other people are doing or what’s working for them. Take the time and tune in to your body and find a pace that you’re comfortable with.

Also note that if  the pace that you’ve set for yourself is too rigorous and stressful, change it.

Conversely, if your plan does not challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone, then push yourself a little more. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. We’ll talk about that in the next point.

Understand that you get to set the pace because it’s your body.

Resist the urge to try to sprint to the finish line, remember, this is a marathon. It’s a test of endurance and discipline.

Know when to push and when to rest

I’ll say it again, releasing weight is a process. In the course of a year, there will be some times when you’re highly motivated. You may be super-motivated on January 1st, or maybe you’ve attended a conference and got fired up. Maybe you’ve joined a 21-day challenge and feel like you’re ready to make the leap.

There are also times where you’ll just be cruising, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays, birthdays, or recovering from illness.

This same principle is true for running marathons and for weight loss. Understand that phase that you’re in and go with it. Be grateful for the times when you’re super-motivated and pray yourself through the challenging times. No-one is up and highly charged 365 days a year.

Don’t beat yourself up during a low phase and take advantage of the high phases.

Staying Focused

This is probably the easiest and most effective strategy, but the most challenging to implement because we are faced with so many distractions everyday.

If weight loss is your goal, it should be on your agenda everyday. Your daily schedule should reflect how important your health is to you.

You will never get to your goal wasting hours on Facebook; playing ‘Candy Crush’ on your phone; or binge watching Grey’s anatomy. It’s so easy to lose your focus with all of these distractions.

Running a marathon can feel unpleasant at times much like losing weight. You have to sacrifice your time. It will be painful at times. You may wonder why you’re waking up early when you could be in bed under your comfy blankets. And sometimes, you’ll wonder why other people get a pass when you have to work so hard.

But when you can focus on your end goal instead of the distractions or the problems, then you will be victorious.

Make an effort to advance your goal everyday. Your health is important to you, so don’t short-change yourself by not going after it. The sacrifices you make will be worth it in the end.

What will you do today to move you closer to your goal?

Scripture Reflection 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]. Heb 12:2

What is the Holy Spirit telling your about staying focused on your goal?

4 Comments

  • Frances H

    October 17, 2016

    As a people-pleaser I tend to defer to the needs and wants of others. I realize it is time to prioritize differently. I must set aside time to do what needs to be done to improve my health. It’s hard to make myself and my needs a priority but if I don’t I won’t be able to do the things I’ve always done for others.
    I see that I must “Just do it” . If I will just begin it, the Holy Spirit will supply the power to do it. I can do this. Yes! I can do this, one day at a time.

    • Cathy

      October 17, 2016

      Frances, Yes, it’s time to put yourself first. It’s not selfish, it’s smart. You are so right. You can’t take care of others if you’re not healthy yourself. ‘you can’t give from an empty cup.’

      Yes, one day at a time, one decision at a time.

  • Sandy keeney

    October 6, 2016

    Reading that scripture make me think of the great cloud of witnesses are cheering us on knowing we need lay aside every weight and sin which clings to us. Because oh Gods faithfulness,grace and strength He will help to run this race with endurance. Always looking to Jesus Not to grow weary. It’s way to hard when I try to do it in my own strength

    • Cathy

      October 17, 2016

      Amen!