Most of you have done diets and done them well. Given up sugar for 4 weeks or been on the Daily9 for 8 weeks and seen tremendous results. And it is not in the nutrition front, right? Going to the gym for January and even February, sticking to your evening walk religiously for many months - you've all done your versions of this and been successful.
But things derail. Even though you know to shift gears from 100% to 80%, that shift seems more difficult than it should be. But why? And is there a way around it?
Well, I've given it away via the title but let me explain with a bit more detail.
Most times, things derail because life happens. Pizza and movie night with the family becomes a Sunday brunch, and you wake up Monday morning and see too many empty bottles of beer. Fuck yeah, it was a great weekend but ....
100% and 0% seem easier to do. But as you've found it, that's not conducive to feeling good over the long term.
Life will happen. There will always be events - expected and unexpected.
Easy to do zero sugar rather than just a little bit
When you are in your zero-sugar zone, you actually get through many of these events with flying colours. Bonus points if you didn't sit on your high horse while doing it but let's give you some leeway even if you didn't. You'll learn being a jerk doesn't help.
But when you slip to the sustainable zone, why does it behave like a slippery slide?!?!
Well, first, the ZERO works because you removed the option to change your mind. You removed decision making. You pre-made your decisions. You aren't going to eat sugar. And since you aren't going to eat sugar, you thought ahead and planned your dinner, your allowed stuff (say, diet Coke) and all that.
You are clear about your goal - ZERO SUGAR. Or whatever it is. But when we go to the 85%, the sustainable zone, the Goldilocks area, the place where you have your cake and get to eat it too - what is the goal?!?!
One goal. One sentence.
Are you clear and committed about your long-term goal? Are you sure? Well then, state it in a sentence. One goal. One sentence.
Don't skim this over. Do it!
Now, let's think about the pain of NOT getting to your goal. It sucks. You don't feel good about failing at it, yet again. But here you are, yet again. Why oh why?!?
But as Coach Dan John, via Tony Robbins, pointed out in my conversation with him - let's talk about the pain of getting to your goal. Because right now, you are not able to handle that pain.
The pain of getting to your goal could involve you missing out on pizza and movie night, on weekly beers and shenanigans with your buddies, not getting to sleep in or not getting to bum around in the night and watch TV and chill with the spouse.
But does it mean that?
Or you could start by listing down all the pains of getting to your goal. The various stumbling points that happen. Your memory is a good start. And you can continue jotting things down as they happen. When the pain of getting to your goal makes you fail, that's okay. Write it down and begin again tomorrow.
In a few months, armed with a lot of pertinent information, you go again.
Now, you are going to decide how to approach them. And remove the option of changing your mind.
One beer night with friends every month. Additional beer nights, you will drink sparkling water.
Weekly pizza and movie night with the kids. You will have pizza once and eat a salad the other 3 times. Movie night and fun times with the kids is still the primary reason, right? And not stuffing your face with pizza.
And so on and so forth.
Remove the option to change your mind.
When you can impartially look at this, and with a longer-term view, now you know it is simply about doing this for the year.
By removing the option of changing your mind, you've given yourself a lot more freedom, a lot less anxiety, no more decision fatigue.
Every time you fail, you give in to the pain becomes one more thing your log to solve for the next time. Shift your mindset, stop berating yourself about failures.
You can do this.