More on Immediate Gratification: Does the Long-Term Goal Still Motivate You?

I guess I just didn't want it enough.

I guess I just didn’t want it enough.

I opened my coat closet today – yes, it is officially spring today, even though it is frigid and snowy here in Wisconsin, so I still need a winter coat – and there it was!  The knitting project I started when I first met my husband 8 years ago is still unfinished.

The burnt orange super soft yarn inspired me when I first saw it, and the textured pattern of the cardigan design looked like such fun to create.  I have not touched the project for about 6 years now, but there is a fine looking back and sleeve completed!  I now realize I will never finish the sweater.

Why?  Because I don’t really like it anymore.  The pattern looks frumpy – what was I thinking?! – and the color just simply doesn’t excite me as it once did.

As always, I have a message here that applies to your health and weight loss goals.  If you don’t really want the end result, you have about as much chance of getting it as I have of finishing the blasted sweater sitting in my closet.

Of course there are other reasons for weight loss to de-rail, but the question is still important to ask:

Do you still care about reaching your goal – REALLY REALLY CARE?

If not, easy forms of immediate gratification will be more difficult to resist.  That donut or cookie will override the weak desire to accomplish your goal, which admittedly may be down the road a bit.

If you still think the goal is important, immediate gratification can sometimes come in the form of pride at each day that small changes continue.  The packed lunch or extra trip to the gym become shining moments of short term pleasure.

My half-finished sweater holds none of this allure for me anymore.  And as I learned long ago, it won’t finish itself!  No one really likes a reminder of an unfinished project.  I finally put it in the trash.

2 responses to “More on Immediate Gratification: Does the Long-Term Goal Still Motivate You?

  1. Haha, I really enjoyed this post. I have an unfinished project that I would like to get rid of, but instead I have hidden it in the garage…it’s the 500 piece puzzle that barely has one of the corners complete. Switching gears to weight loss, I really really really would like to lose that last 5 lbs to reach my so-called “perfect” weight but I feel tired of paying so much attention to my eating and workout habits- it’s exhausting! Can’t a girl just eat a bowl of ice cream? Geez. But sadly I know that if I give in today, I’ll give in a few days later too, and then maybe I’ll give in for the month. And then all of a sudden the 7 lbs I’ve already lost will be back on, and then I’m back at square one. Guess I’ll have to search for that motivation to continue!

    • Maybe you are aiming for a weight that is not realistic for you. I have seen people over-reach with a weight goal and then wish they had just learned to maintain at a less ambitious level.

      If you are motivated enough to continue, you will. Otherwise, it probably would be good to make your current lifestyle feel more automatic. Practice, practice, practice! Of course a bowl of ice cream will have to fit in sometimes. I don’t think it means you will start to slide if you look at it as a part of the overall plan.

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