You have to feel happy first.
That’s right, to achieve your weight loss goals—you have to feel happy first.
And while this is the premise behind the Law of Attraction, this isn’t just some woo woo notion. Science backs this up.
Shawn Achor, a Harvard psychology researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage, says that pinning our happiness on achieving a goal actually hinders our progress. Instead, it’s being happy that help us achieve our goals.
“Wait a minute,” you might say. “Isn’t happiness what you feel because something good happened? Isn’t “being happy” outside my control?”
Every feeling is related to your underlying thoughts. And thoughts are made of energy, not marble. You have the power to change them.
This means that how you feel is ultimately within your control. And you can choose to be happy—or not. Regardless of what is happening around you.
One of the most amazing examples of this is Viktor Frankl who chronicled his experience in a concentration camp in the book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Even in the most dire circumstances, Frankl choose to look for meaning, and yes, even joy.
If Frankl can do it while imprisoned and facing death, you can do it in the midst of your life.
So why would you want to choose to be happy first, before you achieve your weight-loss goals?
Primarily because you would feel happy right now. And isn’t that what you are truly seeking anyway?
Imagine having the body of your dreams. How would having that body make you feel?
“Oh,” you might say, “it would feel good. It would feel like accomplishment. It would feel like wellness and well-being. It would feel like satisfaction, contentment, and joy. It would feel like happiness.”
Archor explains in an Inc. online article that the reason being happy first helps you achieve your goals is because every time you have a success, your brain changes what success means so that happiness is always on the opposite side—meaning you never get there.
But if you increase your levels of happiness in the midst of a challenge, he says “all of your success rates rise dramatically.”
And while you may feel that your emotions are out of your control, Archor says that “it is a myth that we cannot change our happiness.” While happiness may come easier to some people, it’s a possibility that everyone can achieve–if they change their behavior and mindset.
And Archor’s research confirms that changing your mindset may not be as hard as people often think. “What we found was something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism and it holds for the next six months.”
He adds, “The research is amazing. It proves we actually can change.”
To begin, simple decide to shift your thinking from, “I will be happy when I achieve my weight-loss goals” to “Being happy helps me achieve my goals.”
And then look for reasons to be happy right now.
Together we can do it!
Check out Shawn Achor’s funny and engaging TEDX talk: