What Happens When You Reach The Top

NOTE: Catch the premiere episode of the Daily Choices podcast here to hear more about the purpose and mission of this blog.

Goals are wonderful things. They give us a reason to get out of bed each morning and a place to focus our energy. Many goals are rooted in our dreams and desires. I’m a goal-oriented, goal-driven person.

In the Fall of 2015, I set my sight on the goal of losing weight. I have battled with weight issues my entire life but this time – something felt right – and so I committed and over the next fourteen months ended up losing over two-hundred pounds. I was much happier with the new me, many of those surrounding me were happier with the new me, but not everyone.

As I moved into “maintenance-mode” where I had learned to maintain my new weight by moving back to a more natural routine of nutrition and exercise – I started to feel lonely. Many of the people that were there to cheer me on during my journey to the goal packed up their stuff and headed home – their job was done. They were my cheerleaders on the climb up the mountain – I had reached the summit – mission accomplished. I can honestly say that all the highs that came along with people noticing the “new me” – also went away – as nothing stays “new” forever.  

I maintained the weight for six months. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t difficult either. I had learned how to do it – and as long as I stuck to plan and made good choices – things were fine. Shortly after the six month anniversary of maintenance I slipped into a nasty cycle of depression. My depression comes in waves and I could feel a hint of it coming. I was moving into the “who cares”, “what’s the point” phase – and when I start saying those things to myself, I know that I’ve started an official fight with my depression.

I have used many methods over the years to help combat the deep, dark parts of depression – but there have been times for as long as I can remember that the dark side does take over in full force. This evolved into one of those times.

Days of depression become weeks, weeks become months. It got dark… very dark. My weight started to climb and I started to tell myself that I didn’t care about it. While I was having those negative thoughts of not caring, I was also strapping myself with feelings of guilt about letting the core support group that cheered me on to my initial goal down as I let all the hard work slide away. I was talking myself deeper and deeper, negative thoughts, beating myself up, calling myself a failure. This went on for several months, the deep depression leading to anxiety and getting to a point where I felt paralyzed and not able to function.

There are several unique situations in my life that allowed this to play out without too many others noticing – other than the obvious withdrawal from society / my somewhat infrequent posts about latest projects in the works. I reached the top of the mountain with great fanfare and celebration. I have fallen down the side of it – pretty much unnoticed.

As I type this blog entry – I have gained back nearly 150 pounds of what I had lost. It’s sad, and frustrating, but I feel like I’m on the upswing in my cycle of depression – and so I’m going to take advantage of that. I’m going to put the same power to use that lead me to dream and set a goal of losing the weight the first time – the power of choice. I honestly believe that our ability to choose is a superpower that can put us on the path to reaching any goal that we want to achieve. It’s not easy, there are many challenges. I learned quite a few ways to help when I was on my first journey – and I want to share these with others in the hope that they will find value in them.

I’m at the bottom again, but I’m setting up a new base camp. I’m a bit more seasoned of a climber now, with a few tips and tricks in my bag. I have set my goal on surpassing my original weight loss goal – because the only thing to me more amazing than losing two-hundred pounds is doing it twice.

The lessons I’ve learned about goal-setting and the power of choice can be used to enable us to reach any goal – no matter how small or how large. I want to share what I’ve learned with you and hope that you will share your story, challenges and celebrations with me.

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