One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to keep yourself so busy that you’re not constantly thinking about eating or trying not to eat.
Before you start screaming at your laptop, I get it — you’re already busy. I’m sure you go 90 to nothing as soon as your feet hit the floor, just like I do. But that’s not the kind of busy I’m talking about.
The kind of busy most of us are is the kind that’s draining and actually makes you want to binge. You probably spend your day feeling a lot like Cinderella with no Prince Charming waiting in the wings.
Cooking, cleaning, carpooling, appointment making — and maybe even doing the job you get paid for on top of it. If you have kids you probably spend a good amount of time separating them. And let’s not forget the time you spend beating yourself up over how you’re probably not doing it right in the first place.
Is it any wonder you have a compulsion to shove something down? And when you do, you feel like a failure and add one more thing to stress yourself out about. Then you set another weight-loss goal and truly add insult to injury.
What you want to do instead is be the right kind of busy. You want to set an exciting goal — one that has nothing to do with losing weight — and then get busy achieving it.
Hold on a minute. I just got done detailing the endless amount of stuff you have to do already, and now I want you to set a goal?
That’s right. And I want to show you how doing this will not only help you lose weight without trying but also get all that other stuff done, too.
The key is to keep yourself occupied with something that challenges you and excites you — you want to happily immerse yourself in it so that you forget about time altogether. When you have a larger goal, you no longer have to eat to fill an inner void. That’s because the void you usually fill with food wouldn’t exist if you were doing things that made you come alive.
So what’s stopping you from doing this? There are only two objections I can think of, so let’s address those now.
Objection #1: I don’t have time! If it feels like it takes you all day to do everything, let me ask you if you’ve ever heard of Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, if you give yourself all day to get something done, it will take you all day to do it. But if you give yourself three hours to do it, you will get it done in three hours.
I do this all the time, and it really works. I have a week to write this blog post — and if I give myself a week, it takes me a week. Now I sit down and set a timer for 60 minutes and start writing. It always amazes me how fast I can write when I know that alarm is about to go off.
Another amazingly effective tactic I’ve learned is to work on your goal first, before all that other tedious crap you have to do. That’s because spending time creating something meaningful and exciting generates energy, and you end up using that energy to get the other stuff done faster.
Use your best energy first and save whatever’s left over to do the mindless stuff (like folding laundry…ugh). And that stuff will also be less painful when you’re thinking about your goal while you’re doing it.
Objection #2: I can’t think of anything! I think part of the reason we don’t aim higher in life is that we’re so used to living such small lives, we don’t think we’re capable of more. So we keep setting the same sad weight-loss goal, over and over again, and wasting our lives never achieving it.
Go back to when you were younger and allowed yourself have a bigger vision for your life. What did you used to dream about doing? Did you want to be a writer? A professional chef? A makeup artist? Pick a cherished dream you used to have and let it inspire you to work toward something similar.
For example, I had a dream growing up of being an interpreter at the UN. It was unlikely (although not impossible!) for that dream to become a reality for a 30-year-old with only a college degree in French. Instead, I made plans to move to France for one year, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life.
I promise you that just thinking about something bigger is enough to get you started. And when you shift your focus away from what you look like and what you’re trying to get rid of to what you’re capable of and what you can create, you’ll feel better about yourself and your body will change without you trying to make it change.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a good idea, start with something small like cleaning and organizing your kitchen to set it up for eating better. Go buy a new cookbook and plan some healthy new meals to prepare. Or make a plan to take a yoga class. Anything you can think of to shift your energy away from dieting and trying to lose weight to creating something positive that you can feel good about.
When you spend your time planning something you can’t wait to do or experience or creating something that gives your life meaning, you will forget all about how much you weigh and how much weight you need to lose. And I promise you that if you do this, you will lose it that much faster.
So right now, get a pen and some paper and write down three super-exciting goals for yourself. Then pick one and write down three small steps you could take today to start achieving it. And don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what it is!
Get busy doing something that inspires you and makes you forget about time. You’ll lose weight, feel better about yourself, and maybe change the course of your life! And you’ll get all that other stuff done, too. 🙂