I’d love to lose 10 pounds. I’ve actually been saying this for a couple of years now. Everyday, I wake up, get dressed and depending on what the scale says and how my clothes fit, I usually think, “I’d love to lose 10 pounds.” Some days it’s 15. I adore cooking, enjoy eating even more and don’t really like to exercise. That’s pretty much the trifecta of doom when it comes to a productive weight loss strategy.
In my mission to wear a bikini in public again, I have armed myself with some pretty amazing tools to help me take off these stubborn last few pounds. We bought a used elliptical machine and placed it in our bedroom. I have at least 10 DVDs of numerous workouts ranging from kickboxing to stress relieving yoga. I bought a daily deal for 10 Zumba classes. For Christmas, I asked for “Just Dance 2” on the Wii so I can shake my groove thang while burning calories. I even got Zumba for PS3 so I can pretend that my groove thang is Latin when I want to switch it up.
Strangely, even after arming myself with all of these amazing weight loss tools, I have not lost more than a pound or two. The ugly truth is this: Until last week, the elliptical was a great place for my husband to hang his laundry. The workout DVDs are gathering dust under the DVDs of Baby Einstein that see a lot more action these days. I went to two Zumba classes with my sweet friend and neighbor Berween but our schedules got busy and we have not yet been back. I have done “Just Dance 2” a few times but the Zumba PS3 game is still in the package.Even though I have all of these tools at my fingertips to help me accomplish my weight loss goal, none of them have been working. It isn’t their fault. It’s because I haven’t been using them. I keep hoping I will get bitten by the exercise bug and magically transform into a “cardio junkie” like my friend Paige but so far, I must be immune to that bug’s bite. I’d love to lose 10 pounds but if I’m honest with myself, I haven’t really wanted to, or I would have done it. I have the best intentions. I think about exercising every single day. I know what to do in order to lose the weight. But just knowing what to eat, what not to eat and learning exercises to slim down and tone my problem areas does not grant me the same results as actually doing it. I guess I have been waiting for science to finally catch up and invent that magic pill that allows me to drop the weight without diet and exercise. I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t going to happen.
Recently, my incredibly kind friend Trinity shared that she had lost weight after listening to a hypnosis CD. I figured that I had explored everything else, so I may as well try it. I contacted her and she hooked me up with an audio CD from her boyfriend’s hypnotherapy clinic. Not sure what to expect, I decided to give it a try. Far from any voodoo magic mumbo jumbo, the CD merely enforces things I already know. A very nice calm man tells me what to do. I need to make better food choices. I need to eat things that are good from me and stay away from things that aren’t. I need to exercise. Amazingly, I have seen a change since I started listening to the CD every night. It’s like the little voice in my head that has been telling me what to do has now become a real voice reinforcing that I am capable of making good choices.
Over the years of teaching financial education, I have seen how similar my weight loss struggle is to our clients’ struggles to manage their money. I can give them all of the tools they need to make good financial choices. I can show them how to keep track of their spending, shop for the best deal, and save money. I can help them develop the greatest debt reduction plan in the entire world. But, if they don’t “want to” do it enough to make some life changes, it isn’t going to work. The plan isn’t going to manage the money in their banks alone. They have to be the ones to take action.
Even though it isn’t magic, the hypnosis CD is just that little bit of encouragement that I needed. I am taking my own advice when I teach people to break things down into manageable steps instead of getting overwhelmed by the big picture. I find myself daily having little conversations with myself that go something like this.
“I’d like to drink a regular Coke,” I think.
“Do you want a regular Coke or do you want to be in a bikini on the beach this summer?” I reply.
Then, I order water. I have found the image that I need that embodies my weight loss goal and it is working for me. I have found my “want to”- the thing that helps keep me focused on my goal. I do this every time I consider eating something bad or whenever I feel like lying on the couch instead of hopping on the elliptical for 20 minutes.
I think for people that are struggling with money management, this same technique could do wonders. I often talk to people who are so stressed about money that they aren’t sleeping, their job is suffering, they are depressed, they are fighting with their spouse, etc. If they were to find a little piece of motivation in all of that pain and stress, it could help keep focused on their goal, too.
Maybe your “want to” is to keep money in savings. In that case, whenever you are tempted to overspend just ask yourself, “Do I want to buy these shoes or do I want to keep money in savings?” When you put it so simply, those shoes don’t seem worth blowing all of the progress you have made toward your goal of saving money so they are easier to resist.
In many ways, breaking down a goal task by task makes it much easier to accomplish. I did not binge on one meal to end up 10 pounds heavier; I snacked my way there over time. Most people don’t end up in financial trouble over one major shopping spree. They nickeled and dimed themselves into financial trouble, little by little. By focusing on those tiny little decisions that make up our day, I think we can all have a more successful outcome. As long as I stay focused, I know that I am capable of making all of the right choices that will have me beach bound in no time.
So, what’s your “want to?”