Mind Makeover Pt. III: Progress Principle

Written by JJ Smith, certified weight management specialist (NESTA) and nutritionist (ANA)

Posted September 20th, 2017 under Diet/Weight Loss, Health and Wellness, JJ Smith

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve hit a point where you realize that making a lifestyle change is a major mental challenge that requires stamina, rational thought, and emotional support. You won’t lose weight until you makeover your mind first. So we’ve developed a ‘mind makeover’ series where we’ll share my top seven mental strategies to keep your thought-life in check! In series 3 of 4, we’ll explain the Progress Principle and the importance of appreciating the  little things.

It’s The Little Things

People say “it’s the little things that count,” and they’re right. When we think of our weight loss goals, we tend to think of a grand, long-term objective we hope to achieve. Weight loss is all about a journey. You have a destination. But how do you know how far you’ve gone if you don’t stop to celebrate all of the smaller victories along the way? I hear so many people say “I need to lose fifty pounds.” Well, you might, but what happens when you lose ten? Are you celebrating?

People hear the words ‘weight loss journey’ and get too psyched out about the idea itself. They focus on the large gap between where they are now and where they want to be. That’s exactly where you shouldn’t place your attention. Success isn’t an all or nothing proposition. It’s built daily by striving for a distance goal, creating and celebrating small wins you can check off along the way to your ultimate goal.

The Progress Principle

There’s always some progress to recognize in a day, even on the most challenging or discouraging days. Tracking small achievements, and then contemplating on the next goal that lies ahead compartmentalizes challenges, allowing you to make progress in chunks instead of all in one fell swoop. This compartmentalization is a motivational tactic. It helps you appreciate your ‘small wins’ and boosts your sense of accomplishment. You can then leverage that confidence toward subsequent, larger successes.

I’ve spoken to thousands of people who have had huge success with the 10-day green smoothie cleanse.  One of the key things that helped people reach their long term weight loss goals while others didn’t was their ability to appreciate and celebrate small progress. They focused on the positive every step of the way. Sure, they struggled, but they struggled forward and recognized that a temporary plateau was just that: temporary.  Too often we downplay our progress and focus instead on how far we still have to go. In order to achieve the weight loss success we hope and expect, we have to stop downplaying our progress and celebrate our small wins.

In the grand scheme of things, sometimes small wins have more power than the accomplishment of your goals themselves. It makes no difference how minimal or small your achievements are if you recognize the cumulative effect small wins have on the perception of progress. Once you start to believe and accept the progress you’ve made, you’ll become more motivated. Stay small in your goals and make sure you stop and give yourself a pat on the back along the way. Until next time…

-xo JJ