Mental Commitment to Weight Loss

A mental commitment to drop a bad habit and replace it with a good habit is a sequence of decisions. It's not as if, for example, you can quit smoking cigarettes with one decision.

Each time the urge to smoke strikes it's necessary to decide again to be a nonsmoker.

With respect to losing fat and promoting health, what's the best way to put the odds in your favor?

Two facts are important. First, although they are easy to live with, good habits are difficult to establish. By way of contrast, bad habits are easy to establish but difficult to live with. Second, regardless of our good intentions, there is no way to know the future.

Since our actions have consequences, since those consequences are relevant to the moral evaluation of our actions, and since all the consequences of our actions are unknowable, there is no way to be certain whether or not a particular decision is right or wrong.

So, if you want to improve your life, the best way is to continue to examine it. Adjust what you are doing based on the feedback you are receiving.

It's with good reason that many of us hesitate to make commitments. We fear committing to something that may turn out wrong. We hesitate and remain ready to draw back. As adults, we've been burned before.

Nevertheless, there's no mastery without commitment.

When a child commits to walking, it commits wholeheartedly. It falls and falls and falls again, but a child will keep getting up and trying again until mastery.

Falling is the result of practicing poorly, and practicing poorly precedes practicing well.

Without the kind of commitment that results in falling, none of us would ever have walked—or survived.

Success and achievement require mental commitment.

Thousands of years old

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

This saying about the importance of readiness is thousands of years old, and it's as true today as it was then.

It's O.K. to fall. It's O.K. not to succeed. That's not failure: it's only feedback!

Failure only occurs when trying to succeed stops.

So, please don't beat yourself up when you fail! Instead, congratulate yourself for trying.

Then try something different.

sidebar quotation from Goethe: "There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas & splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves on too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred."

Nobody knows why this is true. (Our suspicion is that it's because commitment frees the brain to work its automatic magic. It gets the "I" out of the way and lets the "me" do its work without internal conflict.) What matters is that it is true.

If you have been burned by weight loss programs, if you have tried them and they haven't resulted in lasting weight loss, you may well be physically worse off than you were before trying them.

However, please let go of being discouraged. You learned what didn't work for you. You tried. Good for you! Let us help you find what will work for you.

You may fear another failure. As long as you don't try again and fail, there's hope that some weight loss program will work for you sometime in the future.

Hope of that kind is a distraction, a delusion about the future. Delusions and distractions are signs of living poorly. Please teach yourself how to dissolve them.

Even though they don't cost any money, the programs we suggest on this website will work for you.

If you are serious about lasting weight loss, just follow them. Do whatever it takes. If you are too discouraged to do it for yourself, do it for a loved one. (You can even keep that a secret!)

It's normal to have fears, and it's common to lie to ourselves about them. What do you fear? Make a list.

Never being trim again? Pain? Death? Looking foolish in front of others? Poverty? Disease? Confusion? Loneliness? Mutilation? Old age? Success? Small animals? Insecurity? Being confined? Meeting new people? Public speaking?

It's normal to have fears like these that block achievements. If you are normal in this respect, admit to yourself that, at least in this respect, being normal is not good.

Because such fears can block important achievements such as lasting weight loss, it's important to master them.

Some fears should not be mastered but obeyed. If you are camping in the bush, smell smoke, and hear crackling, we hope that your fear impels you to move quickly away from the forest fire!

Until you master those fears that block achievements, they will continue to enslave you. It is possible to liberate yourself from all such fears. Decide whether you want you or your fear to be in control. Let's suppose you'd prefer to be free.

Accept the fear; it's part of your life. For more about this important point, see the Meditation section of our website. You will find the link to that page listed on the site map/index.

Doing what it takes to overcome fear teaches an important lesson about living well, and, it's a lesson that will give your self-esteem a boost.

How may fear be mastered?

To master fear, simply do what you most fear doing, and keep doing it until the fear dissolves.

Make the commitment to do that. Instead of waiting for the perfect time, just start from where you are.

Working on fear should become part of your morning ritual.

Do you have an effective morning ritual?

Establishing one is one of the best commitments you could ever make.

We suggest that part of your morning ritual be spend in meditation, doing "Morning Pages," or both.

To learn more about the Morning Pages technique see our Behavioral Weight Loss page. You will find the link to that page listed on the site map/index.

Morning ritual

As part of your morning ritual, we find it helpful simply to take five minutes or so to use some of the other psychological tools discussed in the psychology section of our website.

This is the time to adjust your attitude, get your thoughts in perspective with morning remembrances, review your commitments, work on your fears, visualize success, do morning pages, and, most importantly, meditate.

Ask yourself six questions

You may want to include asking yourself the following six questions:

  • What am I grateful for?
  • What am I wholeheartedly committed to?
  • Who do I care for or love?
  • How could I care for them better?
  • What in my life do I really feel good about?
  • What practices are required today to promote my goals?

Remind yourself of these five truths

You may want to remind yourself of the following five truths about life. These morning remembrances will help you to keep events in a more balanced perspective:

  • I am aging, and there is no way to escape growing old.
  • I am subject to ill-health, and there is no way to escape getting sick.
  • I am mortal, and there is no way to escape death.
  • All that I value and everyone I love are impermanent, and there is no way to escape separation from them.
  • My actions, my only true belongings, are what make my life, and I can neither escape their consequences nor apprehend in advance what those consequences will be.

Until you successfully dissolve whatever important fears are obstructing your way, we also suggest that you repeat the following (which we took from Tom Hopkins) during your morning ritual and repeat it throughout the day as often as necessary:

"I am not judged by the number of times I fail but by the number of times I succeed, and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying."

The neuro-linguistic programmers teach us to "reframe" events, and this can be a useful skill. Lack of success in overcoming a fear is not a failure but a lesson in how to succeed.

In other words, it's the negative feedback that we need to improve what we are doing. It gives us another opportunity to practice our techniques and perfect our performance. This is just a game we must play to win.

So, instead of seeing something as a defeat or failure, practice seeing it as an opportunity for mastery, a lesson.

In addition to developing an effective morning routine for yourself, it's also important to think through your values to ensure that they are congruent.

Avoid expecting to improve everything at once

Please avoid expecting yourself to improve everything simultaneously.

This strategy is usually effective: pick your worst fear and dissolve it, letting the pieces fall where they may.

Then pick the next most important problem and get that solved, and so on. By working every day to "chunk" larger issues into bite-sized pieces, you are going in the right direction.

Since living is a process, living well is also a process. So it's foolish to expect the work you are doing to result in some blissful, utterly passive state. The flux is incessant. The work continues.

To learn more about meditation, just click on the link above. Why meditate? The real purpose of meditation is to free you from compulsive thinking.

Whereas other psychological techniques often serve to replace ineffective thoughts with effective thoughts, meditation liberates the practitioner from the incessant stream of thoughts altogether. Therefore, it is much more radical than other psychological techniques.

You may not be ready for it. However, if you might be, we really encourage you to make a commitment to test meditation.

Think of it this way: desires about food and food cravings are, really, thoughts! Meditation is a way to help free you from thoughts, especially those that can torment you.

Pages to help you further

In this the psychology for weight loss section of our website we have the following pages:

  • 1. Psychology for Weight Loss (main page)
  • 2. Emotional Eating: How to Cure It
  • 3. Meditation for Weight Loss and Tranquility
  • 4. Meditation Techniques
  • 5. Releasing a Psychological Trap
  • 6. How to Build Self-Esteem
  • 7. Overcoming Obstacles to Weight Loss
  • 8. Breathing Exercises
  • 9. Mind Visualization
  • 10. Behavioral Weight Loss Tips
  • 11. Commitment to Weight Loss (this page)
  • 12. Realistic Weight Loss Goals
  • 13. Learning for Weight Loss
  • 14. Positive Attitude and Achievement
  • 15. Stress Making You Fat

You will find the direct links to those pages on our site map/index.

Here are two of those links:

Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Overcome Obstacles

Also see our short video (below) about the psychology of Living Well in the Present Moment:

Link to the YouTube video above, for those who might want to save it.

Recommended books for this topic

The books are available at some good bookstores, especially and, usually in Kindle and paperback form, sometimes as hardbacks. If you found the mental commitment page useful, these are excellent further reading suggestions.

  • Butchvarov's Skepticism in Ethics
  • Norretranders's The User Illusion
  • Schwartz's The Magic of Thinking Big
  • Biehl's Stop Setting Goals If You Would Rather Solve Problems

On most pages of our website, we aim to recommend the very best books available according to the topic of each page. We endeavor to make the best suggestions based on experience and our many years of work and research in the fields of health and fitness. We suggest only books that we have read and can wholly commend.

The page is now complete. We do hope you found the page useful and that it helps on your journey to weight loss.

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