Let’s say you’ve been chosen to lead a team of awesome women, and you’ve been told about a particular system designed to motivate and enhance productivity and energy all around.
So, you go ahead and implement this system and are super encouraging with all your team members as they start using it.
“This is going to be great! It’s going to keep us all on track, hold us accountable, and get that needle consistently moving in the right direction! Report and record your progress every week, I can’t wait to see the positive results!”
Off everyone goes on this awesome start and things are humming along nicely.
The weekly reports are motivating for sure, very positive results.
About a month in though, things start to stagnate.
The results aren’t as fantastic as in the beginning and morale drops a bit.
But being the great leader you are, you pick them up with a bit of a pep talk:
“Not to worry team, next week will be better! I noticed that some of you were a bit off track by the end of the week…. that’s probably the problem. Power through those last couple of days – you can do it!”
However, the following week there wasn’t the same great results as there once were.
You contact head office about this, and they tell you that it’s obviously you and your team that is screwing this up as the system is foolproof.
They tell you to get your shit together and tell your team to do the same.
You call a meeting and tell everyone that you are disappointed in them and that they need to get their shit together.
There must be something wrong with them (and you), so smarten up and do better.
Morale is down, motivation is low, energy is non-existent as everyone tries to power through the week.
The only focus is on the system, on that final number at the end of the week. There is frustration, insecurity, and zero joy in the workplace now.
WE JUST NEED TO GET THAT NEEDLE MOVING. WHY CAN’T WE DO THAT? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US? WE NEED TO WHITE KNUCKLE OUR WAY THROUGH THIS.
You apply pressure, you tell them to go hard, get more diligent, be stricter, stay focused, don’t let anything or anyone distract you.
Work longer hours, don’t go to that party on the weekend, no time for fun and relaxation, don’t you dare slip up!
There is no flexibility, no compassion, no consideration for any other factors in their professional or personal life. No questioning the system itself.
They just stay hyper focused on that end of week number.
It’s like an obsession and that number is representative of their performance.
If the number isn’t great, then neither are they.
Hey! A week comes along and feels kind of good, and the conversation is:
“This is it! This is the week that things have changed. It feels like we’ve made some progress!”
There are even some long-lost smiles as they head towards the system’s logging area to get the report.
“We’ve turned a corner! We’ve worked SO hard this week!”
But nope. The report doesn’t match that, no change.
All that feel good stuff and lift in motivation goes instantly out the window.
Just because the number didn’t line up with how they were feeling, the smiles drop immediately.
The happiness and feeling of “YES!” completely disappears simply because the system showed them, they “failed.”
Instant buzz kill.
As their leader, you see this. You’ve tried everything.
You’ve tried pumping your team up, you’ve tried disciplining, you’ve tried punishment. You’ve witnessed the steady decline in their happiness, and you see how it is sucking the joy out of EVERY aspect of their collective lives.
You see how they are basing their self-worth solely on this end of the week report.
The number is good – I am good! The number is bad – I am bad.
You see this negativity seeping into all areas of their life, as if they are obsessed with just getting that number to where they not just want it to be but NEED it to be.
There’s a desperation about it now.
You see that it’s all they are thinking about, with little to no attention given to all the other things in their life.
Tell me something. As their manager, would you keep using this system?
Of course not!
And I’m guessing by now you see where I’m going with this.
Ditch the scale, you awesome woman!
It’s going to take some time for you to let go of the belief system, the behaviour pattern, that the number on the scale is the sole indicator of your “progress.”
How many times have you thought, just before hopping on the scale: “I feel lighter! This feels pretty good, I’m kind of proud of myself. I’m pretty sure I’ve dropped a couple of pounds.”
Then you hop on and nope.
The number is the same. Or heaven forbid – higher.
What happens to your good mood then? GONE.
That “This feels pretty good” feeling is stripped from you simply because that number doesn’t line up.
Why would you allow that to happen to you? Why not stay in the good feeling?
Why let the scale dictate your mood?!
Instead of just going with that good feeling (which is so motivating!) you hit the downward spiral of defeated thoughts every time:
“Holy shit, I can’t believe I haven’t lost any weight. I swear I felt lighter. This just sucks. What’s the point? Nothing is working. I can’t do this. I hate everything right now.”
If you just stayed in feeling lighter and good about yourself, your thoughts would continue in that direction.
You would be more inclined to say: “Maybe I’ll go for a walk today, that feels kind of awesome!”
You behave in line with how you feel.
You would enjoy your own company so much more.
You would be more kind and loving to yourself.
When you are feeling kind and loving to something, you want to take really good care of it – right?
YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT TO DO. You know what food is better for your health. You already know what to eat more of and less of. You already know that you need to move with some energy each day. You already know you need to release stress and sleep better.
YOU ARE A SMART WOMAN. There is a part of you that knows the scale is a terrible way to monitor your weight loss journey. You know that there are far too many factors and minute by minute fluctuations that effect that number! Our inner and outer worlds are complicated and intricate.
Besides, who cares about that number?! It’s not like you meet someone and say: “I bet they’re 200 pounds”.
It’s not like you are walking around with your weight posted on your shirt.
Make the conscious effort to stop driving yourself crazy with that thing.
If you are thinking: “Yeah, but when I see the number drop, I feel amazing,” then you are saying I will only feel amazing if the scale tells me I can.
You are allowing the scale to dictate how you feel.
Something outside of yourself.
If the scale says this number, I will feel amazing.
Equally, if the scale says this number, I will feel shitty.
Keep reminding yourself that YOU are able to make yourself feel amazing any time you want.
Empower yourself with that reminder.
Don’t give your personal power away to, in this case, an inanimate object.
YOU DON’T NEED THE SCALE TO VALIDATE IF YOU ARE DOING IT “RIGHT”.
And removing the scale removes the risk of all that defeatist, negative, “I’m doing it wrong” self-talk.
Breaking the ‘getting on the scale’ habit will take time, but you can do it!
Keep reminding yourself that you want to break free from it and all the negativity it can bring into your life.
Be that leader that would ditch the system that does nothing but harm.
The system that holds you hostage. The one that tells you whether you should feel good about yourself. The one that you are giving that kind of control to. The one that strips you of your good feeling if the numbers don’t match the feeling.
Be your personal leader, woman!
If you choose to let the scale go start here:
Every time you feel the urge to hop on “Just to see” …. take a couple of minutes to REALLY consider what you are doing.
It may seem like a small action to “just quickly hop on” but widen your life lens for a couple of minutes and make a fully conscious decision.
Is “hopping on” going to truly benefit you?
Can you show up for yourself in a way that encourages self empowerment and self love?
Are you choosing that?
Is getting on the scale doing that or is choosing to ride the urge wave until it goes away more loving and empowering?
Be sure to let the part of you that wants to stop weighing in as a “yes you are doing well/no you suck at this” monitoring system show up.
Let her into the conversation, along with the “just hop on and see” part of you.
Do your best to show up fully before you decide. Give yourself a few minutes to reflect and consider.
Wanting to stop a habitual behaviour or thought pattern is tough work!
Go easy on yourself as you transition through it all.
If/when you go for the scale anyway, don’t feel badly about doing so.
Be there as your own support with thoughts like:
“It makes sense that you got on the scale, breaking habits is hard work and takes time and application. I’ll get there.”
Give yourself some grace, especially under the pressure of old ways.
Once you master this (and you will!) you will build more self trust and confidence.
That trust and confidence will be carried with you in all aspects of your life.
Be patient with yourself and when self-doubt creeps in be sure to add some self-belief, okay? OKAY!