Tag Archives: weight loss

268. A Fear of Success?

When I blog, I tend to steer clear of post in which I do a lot of self-reflection.  It’s not that I don’t spend time reflecting on myself; in fact, I spend a great deal of time thinking about myself.  Lately, I’ve spent so much time reflecting – primarily my struggles with losing weight and reaching goals, that it’s overshadowed a lot of my blogging inspiration – hence the lack of posting lately.  I’ve considered posting some of these things, but to be perfectly honest, I think in such a random and fragmented sense that my thoughts usually don’t make much sense to anyone other than me (I spent three days composing this post going back over it to see if it would make sense to an outsider.)  However, I’m sure there are plenty of people who can identify.  Plus, at the end of the day, this is my blog and I’ll self-reflect if I want to.  So here’s what’s been consuming my mind lately…

I’ve talked before about how I’m not very good at seeing things through when I set goals.  Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about why this is.  I’ve examined my reasons before and come to valid conclusions – I overwhelm myself by trying to do too much.  I don’t keep them in the front of my mind so I forget.  And I’ve done things to try and solve my issues based on these conclusions – I go for small starts.  I set just few goals.  I create mini vision boards and stick post-it notes all over the place.  I’ve been creating daily goals to try and boost my confidence in sticking to goals.  Despite this all, I still come up short in sticking to so many of my goals. 

Recently something has occurred to me though: a sort of break-through if you will.  It’s occurred to me that my problem is actually making the commitment to my goals.  I set goals yes, but the truth is I never really commit to them.  I don’t really dedicate myself.  This begs the question why.  Why would I not commit to things I really want?  Why do I not commit to things I know I can achieve?  Why do I settle instead of going for things?  I’ve only come up with one answer, and that is fear.  I’m afraid.  It’s not necessarily that I’m afraid to commit, but I’m afraid of what will happen once I commit.  Part of me is afraid that I’ll fail, but even worse, a larger part of me is afraid I’ll succeed.

On the surface, I present a cool-as-a-cucumber, laid back attitude, and for the most part that’s an accurate depiction of my personality.  However, lurking beneath the surface there’s a tiny perfectionist, type-a control freak.  This is the part of me that’s afraid to fail.  The fear of failure isn’t what really bothers me.  I get it.  I understand being afraid to fail.  It’s the fear of success that bothers me.  It just seems so irrational to me.

That’s why I’ve spent so much time thinking about it.  It just doesn’t make sense.  I guess maybe it’s rooted in a fear of the unknown.  Perhaps I’m not scared of being successful so much as I am what will happen if/ when I do succeed.  That my life would somehow be changed for the worse?  Still seems silly, but…

As I’ve been thinking about this I’ve looked back on myself a lot.  I’m used to be good at stuff, but it’s rare that I ever letter myself be much better than average.  In high school, I was a good swimmer, but I wasn’t great.  And when I got a chance to be great, I quit.  Yes, there was more to it than that – I didn’t get along with the coach.  I was taking multiple AP classes.  There wasn’t enough time in the day to balance school and swimming and friends. – but ultimately, I quit when I got to the point where I was being pushed into going from good to great.  That was part of the reason I didn’t like the coach.  He pushed for more than just good enough.  I can find repeated instances of me basically calling it quits and settling for good enough: my grades in college, my decision not to teach, my staying with Chris for as long as I did.

Truth be told, it was Rachel’s post on how to handle praise that really triggered this entire post.  At the heart of my personality, I’m an introvert.  I don’t like to be the center of attention.  I don’t like people paying attention to my achievements.  I don’t like praise, and I don’t handle it well.    Her post got me thinking about how I handle praise and take compliments.  I don’t.  Receiving praise makes me really uncomfortable.    I down play everything.  When I first lost weight, I hated it when people would call attention to it.  I could handle about one comment before I started getting anxious.  If people started gushing about how good I looked, I immediately downplayed it.  “Oh, it’s nothing…”  When my friend Sarah would give me props on running calling me “the little marathoner,” I immediately emphasized that a 5K is only 3 miles.  Even when I cook or bake, I’m constantly nit picking the dish.  It could be this… It should be that…

Maybe I’m not so much afraid of being successful, of being great, as I am uncomfortable with the attention it will bring on me. 

But how do I fix it?  Do I just face the fear?  That seems much easier said than done.  Do I slowly learn to take praise better?  I guess that’s as good a place as any to start.  So here I go.  I’m going to do my best to learn to take praise.  If you compliment me on anything and I downplay it, feel free to slap me upside the head…or something.

264. On the Importance of Start Small


Those are two very small words.  So small it’s easy to forget them – to overlook their significance.  However, despite how small those words are on the outside, they are truly epic words.  Small starts, small changes, add up to something epic.

Somewhere along the lines I forgot the importance of starting small.  Of making little changes and building on those changes.  Maybe it was because I had built a momentum.  I had a solid base of small starts.  All those small starts created something larger and got lost.  It’s like pointillism – A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – all those dots create something beautiful while getting lost in the bigger picture.   

In my rambling and meandering epiphany regarding my weight loss (or lack thereof), I made the decision to go back to basics.  I made the decision to start small though I didn’t really realize it.  And guess what, so far I’ve had a lot of success.

Today I realized the mistake I’ve been making all along in my efforts to get back on track.  A mistake I wasn’t truly aware of until I stopped making it.  All of my previous attempts to get back on track were me diving right back in.  Yes, that can be an effective method…after a bad weekend.  The more time that passes, the harder it is to pick right back up where you left off. 

Sometimes you just have to start over, although I don’t look at it as starting over really.  Starting over implies I’m back at square one that all the progress I made is lost.  That’s not true at all.  I’m looking at it as picking back up at a slower speed.

When I made the decision to get back to basics I was starting small and it has led to bigger things.  I decided to take the small step of eating more veggies, and in paying attention to my veggie intake, I started paying closer attention to everything I was eating.  I decided to start a food journal – an old school, pen and paper journal.  And I decided not to write down just the foods I was eating but the details as well – was I hungry, eating out of boredom, did I eat too much, what factors might be effecting my appetite.  Keeping this detailed log has led me to paying more attention to my calorie intake – I’ve been using SparkPeople to keep track of calories (generally after the fact) on almost a daily basis.  And since I always already writing all this other stuff down, I went ahead and started keeping track of my workouts in there too – what I did, how I felt. 

I’ve had more success in getting back on track this time than I ever have before.  I feel really good about it.  I know I can make more small starts – like setting a single goal for myself each morning.  I’m writing it in the top margin of my journal.  It could be anything.  Today’s goal: 50 wall push-ups.  Tomorrow’s goal might be to buy ink for my printer.  (Seriously, it probably will be.)  I’ve talked about how I’m terrible at seeing things through when I set goals.  Setting a single daily goal seems like a good way to start small.

It seems that it all boils down to one thing: Start Small, Finish Big.

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