New year. New you. Right? But wait... Who exactly are you as 2016 begins?
How do you think about yourself? What kind of energy are you projecting into the world? And, if I Googled you, what results would there be that define you? Answer with the first word and/or descriptor that comes to mind: Fabulous? Amazing? Incredible? ...Fat?
Sadly, it's often words like "Fat," or phrases such as "Too big" or "Too this or too that" that we would choose as the first thought that defines us as of right now. As dieters, we often think in terms of negatives—as if those depressing thoughts might motivate us to finally stick to our diet and take off some excess weight. But in my experience, keeping negative words and thoughts at the forefront of our inner dialogue can actually be pretty destructive.
Think about someone close to you. Someone you love. Someone you think hung the moon. When that person comes to mind, do you think about one of their shortcomings? Or do you think about their many qualities and the warm, fuzzy feeling you get as a result of having them in your life?
Now, think of someone you're not a fan of. When you think of this person, do you list one of their qualities first? Or do you focus on the reason you consider them someone you really don't want to be around?
One thinking process felt good, right? And the other? Not so good.
And yet I'm willing to bet that when you think of yourself, it's often in the same sort of light you think of someone that you dislike or want to avoid. In other words, you're not feeling any of the warm fuzzies for your own self. But I'm here to tell you that you should. After all, you are an incredible, amazing person just as you are right now (in this very moment).
I don't care if you have 5, 10 or 100 pounds (or more) of excess weight to lose. I don't care if you recently lost your temper with your significant other. I don't care if you goofed off at work most of last month. I don't care that you haven't quite achieved or perhaps haven't even started working toward your goals for this new year. You are still incredible. You are still amazing. You are still perfect—right in this very moment.
This doesn't mean that I don't want to encourage you to lose excess weight, get healthier, look better and meet all of your goals. But I doubt you're going to do it if you're defining yourself by what you perceive to be your shortcomings. In other words, it's time to stop defining yourself by negatives (like your excess weight) and start accentuating the positive.
When it comes to helping someone change, wouldn't you be more likely to do anything to help the person you imagined earlier that you care about? And isn't it just as likely that you wouldn't really care to help the person you imagined earlier who you'd like to avoid? So why would you think that you can be down on yourself and still accomplish your goals? By filling your thoughts with shiny, happy ones, you'll add a little pep to your step and be motivated to initiate the changes you want to see come to fruition this year.
Another example: Think of man's best friend (dogs). Are they more motivated by having their nose rubbed in excrement? Or by getting a loving pat and lots of praise when they do something good? You know the answer.
So yes, I want you to stop rubbing your nose in the "excrement" of past failures—not to mention defining yourself by the same. None of those failed diets, exercise plans or goals matter. They can all be counted on as great lessons about what worked and what didn't. My book Weightless is a testament to this. In it I chronicle the countless times I began (and then "failed" at) dieting. And yet if I had stopped trying—if I had not decided to try one more time with self-love instead of self-loathing—I might have never taken off over 250 pounds of excess weight (excess weight I've kept off for over a decade).
Today is a new day. Heck, it's a new year. A year in which you can accomplish anything. But only if you think of yourself with love, with acceptance and with the knowledge that you got it goin' on—even if you're not at your ideal weight quite yet.
So let's all give ourselves some mental hugs today and throughout 2016, shall we? And let's start defining ourselves by our positives, rather than our negatives. This mental channel change—and new definition of ourselves—can lead to amazing things (including weight loss, better health and a happier life).
What have you got to lose? Aside from the negative thoughts, that is?