Deferring Happiness - ie. "I'll be happy when I've finally lost X kgs"...
Let's address the heading of this blog post square on:
>> no, you won't.
If you lose the weight, you'll be the same person, just a few kilos lighter... and you'll realise that the weight wasn't the root cause of your unhappiness, it never is.
And if you don't lose the weight, it can be another stick with which we beat ourselves.
I used to be CONVINCED that increasing my overall weight to 85kg was the magical secret to happiness, riches, more sex, success, everything. I had plucked this arbitrary number from the air and placed all my focus on the numbers increasing.
(this was a while ago, well before Fitter Confident You was born and before I started treating myself with the same kindness I treat all FCY clients).
The numbers went up a bit because I ate and ate and ate... But well before I got anywhere near 85kg, I friend gave me a stern talking to - along the lines of this blog post! - which helped me start to understand where I was going wrong.
I get why I did it and why you may be holding this view still.
The biggest problem of all with the deferred happiness approach, is that the future isn't guaranteed and we might never reach this mythical outcome, for a million different reasons.
Some people also use this approach to delay doing good stuff for themselves too - "I'll start my health kick in the new year", missing out on the opportunities now to do good stuff for themselves, as even 5-10 minutes a day can make you feel better.
(it's why I created the pre-Christmas challenge, to encourage you NOT to wait any longer, but this blog isn't about that)
Deferring happiness also implies that happiness is a destination - accomplish and achieve and acquire according to the rules you've invented and it will finally unlock the reward you've waited so long for...
But I believe happiness is a by-product of loving what you do and who you are - work on that, and THAT person can be happy today. Now. And then the other things they choose to do - lose some weight, get a new job, go on holiday - are much easier to do as there isn't the pressure or expectation that they will be profoundly life-changing, they're all just things we do because we want to.
How do we fix it?
"Live in the present" is easy to say, but can be harder to do, I get that, but appreciation of who you are now - and all the things you've done so far - helps develop this belief.
Saint of Minogue said it best when she sang "cause everyday is all there is In my some kind of bliss"
- Some Kind of Bliss, Kylie Minogue, 25 FREAKING YEARS AGO
The flipside is, look at when you have deferred happiness in the past - ie. when you've thought buying something or doing something would really change your life for the better... Did it honestly have the effect you believed it would, or could you have been happier, sooner?
The other thing - and I say this to everyone, whether they defer happiness or not - is to celebrate yourself, your actions, your wins, your progress as often as possible, every day - heck, every hour! This can drastically help you to see how bloody brilliant you are in the here and now.
Yes you WILL go on to achieve more things and some of them will make you feel great, but celebrate today the amazing you who's alive and breathing and blinking (I bet you just blinked) and reading this. As he's incredibly special and deserves every happiness right now.
Matt Boyles is the Founder and CEO of Fitter Confident You, online Personal Training tailored for the GBTQ+ community, helping us all build strength, fitness and confidence from the inside out.