Thought for the Day--May 5, 2011: I Want, I Want, I Want...

No, you can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
--The Rolling Stones
Yesterday, I offered my take on how you can nudge your entire family to eat healthier; you may want this more than anything in the world, but the truth of the matter: you really can't force people to make changes, no matter how much you want it.

You can change only your own behavior, but, even then, you really don't have that much control over the outcome.

For example, you might set this goal: "I will eat 1,000 calories a day for 31 days [changed behavior] so that I can lose 10 pounds [expected outcome]."

So you go on your new plan and stick to it (success); however, you lose only 5 pounds (failure?).

You wanted to lose 10 pounds, but the outcome did not live up to your expectations.

Is this an automatic fail?

I don't think so; you lost 5 pounds instead of gaining 1 or 2.

Perhaps the above goal itself is a fail; expecting your body to live up to some arbitrary outcome is almost guaranteed to set you up for failure.

So, perhaps, you ought to rethink your goal: "I will eat approximately 1,200 [a more realistic and doable number] calories a day for 31 days [changed behavior] so that I can lose some weight and become healthier [expected outcome]."

This is a more realistic goal; by upping your number of calories, you will be less hungry, and your expected outcome is more likely to be achieved.

The "I want" conundrum can be applied to life in general; for example, maybe your goal is to be to be rich. Depending on how you approach achieving this goal (for example, honestly) that may be a good goal, but what if the economy tanks and you lose your seed investment?

What you "want" may have been derailed, but you may have been given what you "need": a life lesson about making risky investments and the tools to make better decisions.

Today's advice: set realistic goals and expectations.

By the way, here's a YouTube video of "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

Ta, CF.


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