Unlimited data! Unlimited prints! Unlimited shrimp! You name it, it is there. In our consumer-driven society, the golden egg seems to be something, in fact anything, that is offered to us “unlimited.” It sounds so enticing because we can have as much as we want and not have to worry about the hassle of boundaries and limits. Unfortunately, when you take limits out of the equation, it can also take some of the pleasure out of the experience.
When we only have a little bit of something, we tend to treasure it so deeply. We savor the food, the experience, the moment; but in larger quantities, we start to either take it for granted or get tired of it. Think of the lottery winner who quickly burns through all their money. Why? Perhaps it is because in excess, that is to say, without limits, that financial freedom quickly loses its’ appeal and they go searching for more. The more they consume chasing that high of those first feelings of financial freedom, the more it goes down the drain and leaves them unsatisfied, lost and broke.
We all want financial freedom, freedom from hunger; just freedom in general. We all want what we want. The key is appreciating the journey. When you get there, then what? Having a goal, being “not there yet” is not a bad thing and it is not something to get past. It is a joy to have that goal to work toward and boundaries to keep us motivated and hoping for the future.
This can be applied to weight loss as well. I have spent most of my life wanting internally to be a smaller number on the scale. My mind has had an open tab thinking about how to get there, automatically calculating how long it will take, considering what to eat and what not to eat to reach my goal. However, I have so many other goals. SO MANY! The time and energy I have expended in my life on aspirations to lose weight have been enough to probably make tangible headway toward world peace!
Why is that tab always open for weight loss? I naturally thought if I just got that goal knocked out, it would be done, and I could focus on other things that just bring me joy. The problem with that concept is that I have learned through experience that when I meet my goal weight, shocking though it may be, that tab does NOT go away. WHAT???? Hard to believe, I know. It seems only logical that if you are trying to lose weight, you have a goal and you get there, you will be done and it will be over. This is not true. It is a fallacy.
We never close out that chapter because it is an ongoing experience, regardless of the number on the scale. We need to eat every day no matter what our weight or goal. Maintenance is as much or more of a challenge as losing weight. I have heard this before, but as the one with the goal so far away so much of my life, I was a skeptic. Being “at your goal” seems effortless. However, it can remove the self-imposed limits. It can dampen the motivation that kept you in check.
I think the solution is embracing the limits. If we could flip the script and stop thinking of our limits as a temporary means to an end; if we could instead think of them as part of the structure that keeps our lives in joyful, grateful balance, perhaps we could spend more time enjoying the journey and less time pining away for arrival. We could focus less on getting to our goal and more on gratitude that we have a goal. This just may be a game changer!
With limits and never-ending goals,