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Focus On What You’re Gaining October 27, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.

JoggingAt the outset, let’s talk a bit about motivation and goals.

If we focus on what we are giving up, we feel deprived, dissatisfied, and down-hearted . . . unless and until we start to see real results.

We feel like we are making huge sacrifices with little immediate gratification.

So we fall off the wagon . . .

We reach for a donut or some other non-nutritious “goodie” that gives us momentary satisfaction but, in the end, makes us feel worse.

If we want to forge new habits, like making better choices about what we eat, we need to focus on what we are GIVING ourselves ~ health and wellness!

And, as we start to make better choices, we need to follow the path of Ps ~ Patience, Persistence, Passion, and Purpose!

If our Purpose is to be healthier, and we become Passionate about that endeavor, we develop the Patience we need to Persist in our efforts until we start to see tangible results ~ on the scales, in our energy levels, in our moods, or in positive feelings of well-being.

Better choices make us feel better!

Purpose, Passion, and Patience give us the Power we need to Persist and keep moving forward . . . one step at a time in the direction of our goals.

If we focus on what we are giving up, that self-created feeling of sacrifice causes us to be discouraged.

In contrast, if we focus on what we are gaining  from our efforts (better health, more energy, etc.), there is no feeling of sacrifice.

Our positive thoughts encourage us to keep on, keeping on.

In time, we start the reap the fruits of our labor ~ we feel better, we look better, we have more energy, we feel calmer and more in control.

Our new habits allow us to stop surviving . . . and start thriving.

Aah . . . that’s better!

What about you?  What tips and techniques do you use to stay motivated when the going gets rough?

Quotes to Ponder:

* Life is not a dress rehearsal.  Quit practicing what you’re going to do, and just do it.  In one bold stroke, you can transform today. ~ Phillip Markins

* The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. ~ J. Pierpoint Morgan

* The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  The gift of life is yours.  It is an amazing journey and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. ~ Dan Zadra

* We cannot put off living until we are ready.  The most salient characteristic of life is its urgency, “here and now” without any possible postponement.  Life is fired at us point-blank. ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset

Related posts:  Frugal Habits Are Healthy * Coffee ~ Friend or Foe? * Get Out!!! * Mindful Eating ~ The French Paradox (Psychology Today)


1. Fortivita Fitness - October 27, 2011

good post 🙂 I like the path of p’s

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

The first step is the hardest . . . that overcoming any negative thinking that stands in the way of SUCCESS. 😀

2. suzicate - October 27, 2011

In contrast, if we focus on what we are gaining from our efforts (better health, more energy, etc.), there is no feeling of sacrifice. -this is so true…I need to keep this in mind next time I’m ready to give up on something that is beneficial to me. Thank you.

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

If I DIET by focusing on what I am giving up . . . cravings and desires surface in short order and I need supreme will power to keep from giving in.

If I focus on each POSITIVE step I am taking, and the REWARDS that I am gaining with each . . . I feel empowered and in control and do not create unnecessary suffering.

3. Carl D'Agostino - October 27, 2011

12-Steps and everything that comes with participation

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

I’m glad that the 12 Step program works for you, Carl.

4. Just A Smidgen - October 27, 2011

Very inspiring message, today. I love the four P’s and can apply it to so much in my life. I particularly need to remember to have Patience…

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

Patience is very important . . . we are letting go of our attachment to immediate gratification in favor of gaining long term rewards and benefits.

If we keep focused on the POSITIVE choices we are making, the path is riddled with fewer potholes. 😉

5. Crowing Crone Joss - October 27, 2011

I’m loving these ‘p’eas! on my plate and in my life. Bring me more, I say!

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

Thanks, Joss. Shall do! 😀

6. nuvofelt - October 27, 2011

Those p’s are perfectly practical 🙂

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

Precisely! 😉

7. kateshrewsday - October 27, 2011

Ooooh, different perspective. I like that. I might try it 🙂

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

I find that changing our perspective makes ALL the difference!

When we feel like we are in CONTROL . . . it’s much easier to make better choices.

kateshrewsday - October 28, 2011

Didn’t know which of your posts to put this under: I saw it in Psychology Today and thought of this series. Slightly different focus but a startling emphasis on mindful eating. I found it quite inspiring

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Excellent article, Kate. I think it ties in perfectly with our Purpose for eating and Passion for food. Thanks!

8. Patricia - October 27, 2011

I think you are on to something here! Maybe you could start a new fitness craze “All the P’s on Your Plate” or “The P Plan of Positives”…or something like that.

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

Perfect! 😀

9. sufilight - October 27, 2011

OMG, I just did that….reached for a second sugarless pudding (I generally eat one) out of a mini frustation. I love your suggestion to focus on what I am GAINING instead of what is being released. It’s a good way to build up higher energy instead of a lower one of struggle. I am printing this post to read again. Awesome post! 🙂

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

As soon as someone (including us) tells US that we cannot have something that we WANT . . . the toddler within starts to SQUAWK in protest.

So, we must focus on what we WANT . . . what we really WANT. If we really want a 2nd pudding, we should have a 2nd pudding.

But, if we take the time to consider what we REALLY want, often our knee-jerk reaction fades and we CHOOSE to go for a walk to relieve our frustration instead of eating mindelessly.

sufilight - October 27, 2011

Thanks for this additional insight.. I get it. I love clarity and “aha” moments. 😉

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

Me too!

Many of us are emotional eaters ~ we eat when we’re upset . . . we eat when we’re happy . . . we eat to soothe our ruffled feathers and frustrations . . . we eat to celebrate.

When we find “better” ways to process our emotions (like exercise, meditation, visualization) . . . we find it easier to choose food that nourishes our bodies.

10. thirdhandart - October 27, 2011

“Purpose, Passion, and Patience give us the Power we need to Persist….”

In addition to eating healthier, this can be applied to other areas of life. Thank you. I’m going to remember these very important P’s!

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

I agree. Any time we want to change our lives to move in a more positive or desired direction, we can follow the path of Ps to increase the probability that we will succeed in our endeavor.

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12. Maggie L R - October 27, 2011

\Well said, we do have a tendency to focus on the negative, we can’t eat this, we can’t have that. istead, we should look at the positive. I am changing my focus. thanks.

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

It works in so many areas of life, enabling us to shift our focus from what we are denying ourselves (i.e., the “luxury” of being upset over some minor incident or infraction) to what we are giving ourselves (peace of mind and serenity).

We find things are easier to shrug off. We stop getting tripped up on potholes in our past.

13. crumbl - October 27, 2011

I don’t believe in self-inflicted guilt as motivation to deter behaviour. If I have a second cupcake, my life, my choice, no guilt.

I don’t cook “no fat”, I don’t subscribe to vegetarianism, or any other lifestyle “ism” where food is concerned. I don’t buy, cook or eat “heathy” for healthy’s sake, although we do buy mostly (local if possible) fresh produce, unrefined sugar, flour, rice, etc., we have local sources for poultry (not just chicken and turkey and fresh eggs, but duck, pheasant, goose, quail), lamb, game meats like bison, venison, ostrich, sometimes I can special order boar, elk. I cook with butter, not margarine, different oils. We eat a lot of yogurt, flavoured and plain (plain yogurt, referring back to an earlier post of yours, makes a good substitute for sour cream in many cases, nr). I cook with and eat a lot of different cheeses. We don’t usually buy milk in favour of non-dairy alternatives; however, I do cook with a lot of creams.

I don’t buy and cook with all this stuff to follow any food fad. I buy, cook and eat what I like because I prefer the flavours, I love to cook and I prefer to cook from scratch if possible, and it tickles my tastebuds. Do I lose sleep tossing and turning with guilt? Not a chance. Never really give it a second thought.

We eat the minimum of processed foods. If we buy frozen dinners, for example, they’re for the boys to be able to nuke if they’re hungry, and no, that’s not a rationalization or justification for having them around to sneak when no one’s looking. I wouldn’t thank you to serve me that crap. Same like “junk” food. No chips and dip, no doritos, no Cheesies. We buy (or I make) tortilla chips and snack on them with homemade chili con queso, salsa and guacamole, sour cream and grated cheese, or a plate of patés, cheeses, crackers and breads, maybe pickles, sometimes cold cuts and smoked oysters and such.

I could go on, but ya’ll get it. I eat a lot of “bad” stuff by choice and feel not one twinge of guilt, I eat a lot of good stuff, also by choice, not because I feel I have to, but because it’s what I prefer. My cholesterol is low, my b.p. is fine, we have a bathroom scale that I never look at unless it tries to eat my toe as I pass it. No one stands on my shoulder compelling guilt if I have seconds. I’m a naturally self- regulating system … I eat more today, I probably won’t feel like as much tomorrow, but no guilt if I never atone for my “sins”. I may die from my “bad” choices, but I’ll die sated and smiling, free from guilt. Ask me if I have any difficulty with motivation to follow my diet?

nrhatch - October 27, 2011

Sounds like you’re happy right were you are. So stay put. 😉

I agree with you about guilt . . . it’s a negative emotion that adds to our stress and seldom propels us in the right direction.

Debra - October 28, 2011

yes being happy makes all the difference. 🙂

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Exactly. When we are HAPPY with the choices we are making, we have more energy and enthusiasm for life.

And that’s a good thing.

14. jannatwrites - October 28, 2011

I like the shift in perspective. The cup is filling instead of draining. It makes sense that we would be more successful if we think of what we gain rather than what we’re giving up. This goes for anything in life, not just food 🙂

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

In the past, when I tried to change habits ~ I definitely came at it from the “wrong” direction. The more I sacrificed, the more of a martyr I became. 😉

Now, when I want to change something, I am more patient. I allow the shift to occur more slowly. If I’m trying to lose weight, I don’t jump on the scales each morning expecting to have dropped 10 pounds. I am easier on myself.

I just mindfully choose what my body REALLY wants ~ mostly, that’s fruits, veggies, grains, and . . . chocolate. 😉

15. bluebee - October 28, 2011

Also key – focus on what we’re gaining in terms of what we really want and not in relation to what others have or expect us to have

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

So true, BB ~ playing “follow the leader” is rarely in our long term interest.

When we ask ourselves, “Will this choice bring me happiness?” . . . it gets easier and easier to discern the answer and move in the “right direction” for us.

If we get use an external reference point, we ask, “Will this choice make ALL of THEM happy?” . . . the answer is almost always going to be . . . NO! ;D

16. LittleMissVix - October 28, 2011

Focus is key!

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

When we keep our goals in the forefront of our thoughts, it’s easier to see the choices we want to make to keep heading in that direction.

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18. adeeyoyo - October 28, 2011

Great post, Nancy. When we see pics of people walking in city streets I would say nearly 90% of them are overweight. And yet there are so many poor, underfed people in the world. Are they also fat from wrong choices, cheap food, or are they thin enough to be invisible?

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Often obsese people are malnourished because they aren’t eating foods high in nutritional value.

Maybe if WE start eating better . . . and feeling better . . . we’ll have more energy to make sure that EVERYONE on the planet gets enough of the RIGHT KIND of food?

19. eof737 - October 28, 2011

As we start to make better choices, we need to follow the path of Ps ~ Patience, Persistence, Passion, and Purpose!
I love the 4 Ps… they work for me. 🙂

nrhatch - October 28, 2011

Thanks, E! They remind me WHY I’m doing what I’m doing.

20. Cindy - October 29, 2011

Thank you for this, Nancy xxx

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

I hope you are gaining back your strength and energy, Cin.

21. Tilly Bud - October 29, 2011

The Hub always tells me: turn a negative into a positive.

nrhatch - October 29, 2011

It becomes a “game” after awhile . . . we see something that we don’t “like” and we look at IT until we find something to like about IT.

A tumor and surgery reminded me to make the most of THIS moment.
A flood in the basement reminded me that our possessions can come to possess us.

I had a wonderful dream about synchronicity last night . . . really being in the flow from moment to moment and having things we needed next handed to us at the very moment we needed them. Very reassuring dream.

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