“I’ll do that after I lose 20 pounds.”
How many times have you said that?
Personally, I’ve lost count. That was my modus operandi both before bariatric surgery and after surgery when I was dealing with regain.
I put off adventures I wanted to take, put off wearing bold new fashions, put off any professional opportunities that would shine the spotlight on me and so much more. All because I had this weird perception that I wasn’t good enough “as is” or that I’d enjoy them more if I was thinner.
What a bunch of poppycock!
If you put off the important things, you might NEVER get the opportunity to experience them.
Last year, I lost one of my college besties. Her name was Mindy and she passed away at only 52. I hadn’t seen her in years because I kept putting off traveling to Arizona to spend time together. Now, I’ll never get that chance. Her bright light and exuberant laugh are emblazoned in my memories, but I’ll never get to experience them in person again. If only I hadn't put off making that trip...
Don't get caught with a case of the "If Onlys!"
If you are putting off dreams or anything that’s important to you because you want to lose a few pound first, it’s time to think twice. You have no idea what tomorrow holds. The longer you put your dream on a shelf, the greater the risk that it will never be more than a spark of your imagination.
3 Reasons to Go For Your Dreams NOW
Aside from your limited time here on this planet, there are three reasons you should strap that jet pack onto your back, ignite the thrusters and get in hot pursuit of the experiences that you’ve been putting off.
#1: You’re good enough NOW!
Carrying around extra weight takes a toll your self-worth. You beat yourself up. You convince yourself you’re not good enough as is. Thinking this way has become a habit that surgery doesn’t magically change.
You don’t need to be red-carpet ready before relentlessly pursuing the dreams and experiences that make life worth living. It's easy to fall into this trap because when you think about what reaching that dream will be like, it’s perfect in your mind. So, you want to be perfect, too. You imagine experiencing the dream in a rightsize body in which you look and feel like a million bucks.
That’s dangerous. When you put off your dream because of your weight, you are focusing on what you perceive to be wrong with your body. And when you focus on what’s wrong with your body instead of what’s right, you’re more likely to remain stuck where you are, experiencing more of the same. As the saying goes, “you get more of what you focus on.”
#2: Procrastination is Often an Unconscious Response to Fear.
Your procrastination may really be an excuse to avoid taking a risk or a chance on yourself. Does that sound crazy? Why would your dream invoke fear?
Well, because pursuing a new experience of any sort can be scary, right?
Some dreams are really ambitious. Sometimes the things you’ve got to do to reach your dreams can feel a little scary. Perhaps you have to stretch yourself, learn something new or take a big risk. What if you achieve your dream and it doesn’t live up to your expectations? What if it changes your life in unforeseen ways? What if you fail? What if you succeed? (Yes, even success can be scary because it comes with unknowns.)
It’s a lot easier to blame the delay on your weight than it is to admit you’re afraid. In that sense, your weight is like a security blanket. You might not like the extra weight, but it’s what you know. The familiar can feel more comfortable than the unknown.
Guess what? If you fail in your effort or even if you achieve your dream and it’s not quite what you expected, just the fact that you went for it is a win. You’ll feel good about yourself because you were courageous and followed through. Besides, you can always modify your dream if it’s not what you expect or target a new one.
#3. There is Magic in Taking Action
The third reason to go for your dreams now is that the act of simply starting your journey can kick-start results. That’s because your behavior is way ahead of your dreams. In most cases, dreams don’t happen overnight. But they all have one thing in common: they require action to get there.
There is a quote by Wolfgang Von Goethe. I encourage you to look it up and read the lengthier version, but the abbreviated version is this:
“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.”
When I say take action, I’m not referring to things like reading a book about it, or writing a “to do” list. I’m referring to taking real, concrete action … the type that requires a little courage and commitment.
If your dream is to go to Italy, don’t read a book about it. Commit to a travel date and make a reservation. Even if it’s two or three years out. That’s the type of action that makes it real and gets the ball rolling. If your dream is to be a public speaker presenting to an auditorium filled with thousands of people, then start by joining Toastmasters and giving a speech to a group of 20 people.
I Almost Gave Up on My Dream...
Believe it or not, I’m living one of my dreams right now. Since shortly after I had weight loss surgery in 2002, I dreamed of helping people in the bariatric community. I wrote a business plan 15 years ago, but at the time I totally chickened out and gave up on that dream. Because I had regained weight after surgery, I felt like I didn’t deserve my dream. “Who was I” that people would want to hear what I had to share and allow me to help them on their journey?
But, even though I gave up way back then that dream never fully died. In early 2017, I was carrying around 50 pounds of regain. I still wanted to help people in the bariatric community, especially those struggling with regain just like I was. Part of me said, that because I was carrying around regain that “I wasn’t good enough. How could I help others if I hadn’t yet even figured it out myself? What if l people thought I was a loser and made a total fool out of myself?"
But, it was my dream!
So, with all 50 pounds of regain intact, I got in front of a camera and declared my intention to the world. I said, “I’m going to overcome regain and I invite you to come along on this journey with me.”
I’ll never forget uploading that first video to YouTube in early 2017. I was terrified. I mean, who knew how many people would see this video. Would the comments be mean? Would people laugh at me? I sat there looking at the publish button for probably and hour before finally holding my breath and just clicking it. You know what happened? Nothing! (LOL) At least, not at first. I think it took me a year to get 50 views on that one video.
Taking that action preceded my dream becoming reality. It got the ball rolling. Like Van Goethe said, there IS something magic about taking action. Here I am today, doing what I had envisioned. It’s not perfect and my body’s not perfect, but where would I be if had had put off my dream until I lost that extra 50 pounds?
Your Time is Now!
Remember: You are good enough right NOW, it might simply be fear standing in your way and there is magic in TAKING ACTION.
Whatever you do, don’t put off your dream until you lose that 30, 50 or 100 pounds. If you do, you’re only making your body a prison. Set yourself free because you deserve to experience your dreams!