This is the Story of a Girl Who Was Completely Out of Control
A few months ago, I walked into work and an entire cake was happily resting next to the coffee maker.
This wouldn’t have been an issue if the coffee maker wasn’t directly in front of my desk. So, I tried not to look at it. (I’ve never been so interested in my emails before.) But eventually everyone went to lunch, and I didn’t go to lunch. And it was just me and the cake. Alone. Together.
I’m currently trying to lose weight (and by currently, I mean I’ve been trying for the past two years.) So I knew I didn’t need to eat the cake. I needed to have self-control.
But, in a crazy out-of-body experience, I found myself suddenly next to the cake.
And soon, I was cramming an entire piece down my throat as fast as I could so no one would catch me in the act. It was soooo good. So good that I immediately ate another piece while hunched over the coffee maker.
Thin People Who Call Themselves Fat
Later, one of my coworkers (a thin, bike rider guy who walks his dog downtown for exercise when he isn’t walking to work or biking all over the place) came in and eyed the cake next to the coffee maker.
“Did you know today is National Coffee Day?” he said to me while looking at the cake.
I told him I wasn’t aware of this holiday.
“Would you like a cup of coffee in celebration of National Coffee Day?” he said to me.
Sure, I would like that, I said, handing him my mug.
“Should I have another piece of cake?” He said more to himself than me, “I only want another one because I’m a fattie.”
I don’t remember what I said to him. But I remember thinking how much I dislike it when thin people call themselves fat.
“Would you like a piece of cake to go with your coffee?” he said to me.
That sounded pretty good. Who doesn’t need cake to go with coffee? The bitterness and the sweetness. He didn’t need to know I had already scarfed two pieces down like some starved jackal.
Yea, I said, I would like that.
He handed me a piece, and I pretended before him and the world that it was the first piece I’d had.
Being Hard On Myself
I ended up eating three and a half pieces of cake. Absolutely no self-control.
I was worse than Will Ferrell when he plays Deangelo Vickers in The Office, and he can’t help shoving fistfuls of cake into his mouth, while everyone stands agape in shock and disgust. And I was so mad at myself. I was like, You are worse than Will Ferrell’s worst character EVER!
Looking back on it now, I realize don’t need to be so hard on myself. But at the same time, I have to do something to have self-control and move forward with my goals, whether with my weight or my life.
So, this week I’d like to lay out 4 ways for you to stay on track with your goals and make good progress without being extreme.
4 Ways to Maintain Self-Control and Stay On Track With Your Goals
Have a Plan
What is your goal? Do you want to be a healthier person? Do you want to write your first novel? Do you want to learn how to cook? Write it down.
How are you going to achieve that goal? Create a detailed, concrete system that you can easily follow. Write it down and stick to it. Here is an example system for someone who wants to be healthier:
- Walk 30 minutes Monday, Wednesday and Friday as soon as you get home from work.
- Join a local Yoga class and go Tuesday and Thursday nights
- Plan meals for family on Fridays
- Eat out once a week only on the weekends
With this plan, you have something to work towards. You know what is expected of you, and you’re less likely to be completely out of control forcing cake down your gullet.
I go into serious detail about how to create a system that is right for you in my free Healthy Habits Mini-Course. You can join at this link: 7 Practical Ways to Build Healthy Habits. Or you can drop your name and email right here:
Find a Middle Way
My co-worker, Vanessa, always says if you completely do without, you’ll overindulge eventually. She says if she wants a piece of chocolate, but tries to avoid it, she’ll eat everything else in the house in an attempt to satisfy that craving. Wouldn’t it be better, she says, to exercise self-control and just eat one piece of chocolate?
Yes, it would.
You do not have to be extreme in any way. You can find a healthy medium. This is probably the most difficult thing for me. I tend to be extremely extreme. I’m either eating a whole box of donuts (or a whole cake) or I’m not eating sweets for a whole year. I’m either working out at 5:30 every morning for 6 months, or I’m sitting on the couch and trudging around like a slug.
We need to find a middle way. Find balance. If you’re working on a novel, maybe you have a word limit to write every day so you don’t find yourself neglecting other areas of life. Maybe you set aside intentional time for you to take breaks while you’re working towards whatever you’re working towards.
This is a big one for me, and I think a big one for women. If you are externally motivated, you need to connect yourself to people who are already doing (or want to do) what you want to do.
The best shape I’ve ever been in was at a time when I had two other women doing all the same things I was doing. We woke up at the same time, worked out together and ate the same things. Motivation is much more difficult when you are in it alone.
Give Yourself Grace
Remember that you are human. You aren’t perfect, and no matter how hard you try, you never will be perfect. This is not an excuse – it’s grace. If you mess up, forgive yourself and keep to your system. As I always say, you are normal, and that’s ok. In fact, it’s fantastic. Embrace it and move on.
Discipline and Structure
If you find yourself completely lacking self-control, it may be time to consider implementing some structure to your life. Discipline and structure are some of the best ways to stick to your goals, be a better you, love others and move forward.
To read more about the benefits of discipline and structure, check out my discipline series here.
To learn how to break your bad habits and implement good ones, sign up for my free mini-course: 7 Practical Ways to Build Healthy Habits.
How do you maintain self-control over your life and your goals? Comment below. I’d love to learn from you!