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Motivation Articles

9 Dieting Paradoxes that Make Perfect Sense - Part 1

How Can That Be?


Weight loss can make smart people look silly, confound roomfuls of award-winning scientists, and baffle the rest of us, who are otherwise competent and brilliant in our own right. Somehow the mysterious answers still elude us.

Part of the mystery and frustration could be that we often look at the whole dieting question backwards. There are a number of assumptions and beliefs we often hold that are actually the opposite of what’s really true. However, there are some paradoxes (statements that seem contradictory but are actually true) that you should hold onto. Putting these to use will help you see progress and, more importantly, gain confidence.

There are 9 Goal Achievement Paradoxes that you can apply to your weight loss goals, or any part of your life. Here are the first three. Perhaps they can lend some insight for how to solve some puzzles in your own life:

PARADOX 1: Perfectionism does not lead to perfection.
Excellence is a good thing. So is working as hard as possible to create, build, and perform to the best of your abilities. But what you may not realize is that trying to be perfect can actually hinder your chances of being excellent.

The pursuit of perfection comes with an ugly flip side: a fear of failure, or fear of making a mistake. This fear keeps a lot of people from trying something different or learning a new skill. They'd rather not try than go through the anguish of not doing it perfectly. The perfectionist likes to stick with things she knows that she can do.

To succeed, you need to grow, learn, and expand your world. By erasing your opportunities for testing the water, perfectionism limits your growth, and takes away your chances of finding a more excellent path.

That's why your physical foundation is so critical. It gives you the confidence and support you need to take those chances, to recover from mistakes, and test the limits of possibility.

PARADOX 2: The harder you work, the more fun you’ll have- Really!
There's a time for work. There's a time for play. And sometimes they happen to be one and the same.

We all know people who say their jobs don't really feel like work. That's because they absolutely love what they're doing. They consider themselves lucky to have work that’s fun, or to be part of something they really believe in. The secret is, this can happen in any area of your life—not just your career.

Your goals reflect your interests, what you'd like to do, and what you care about. Can you think of a more fun way to use energy than on stuff you deeply enjoy and hold dear? If it sounds a bit idealistic, it is. But going after something you really want is what makes it fun.

You'll still need gallons of elbow grease, but goals shouldn’t seem like work at all. It's your playtime.

PARADOX 3: Focusing on only one area can hurt your progress in that area.
Building a healthy lifestyle while emphasizing a key part of your life is important. But that foundation is just the beginning, and can't happen by itself.

Your healthy habits can work together to take your life to another level. Improvement in one area helps—and depends on—the others. To reach your full potential in anything, you can't neglect all to zero-in on one.

For example, you could become decently creative if that's all you focused on. But for impressive progress, you'd also need to pay attention to nutrition, fitness, sleep and stress management.

Limiting your focus too much can not only hinder progress, but it can also be harmful. Losing sleep, eating poorly and living with stress are common mistakes people make when they're obsessed with a goal. In the short term, it may be effective, but results could reach new heights in the long run if these important needs aren’t neglected.

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Member Comments

  • Good information.
  • Thank you! Very informative! :)
  • I love reading stuffs like this, it is a good help.
  • Doing "not perfect" is a lot better than doing nothing!
    THANK YOU SO MUCH! "Trying to be perfect can hinder your chances of being excellent." WOW....what a great concept to wrap my mind around. Thanks for a great day-starter. Wonderful article and once again, I'm so grateful for this remarkable website!
  • Voltaire said (rough translation) "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

    Way to go - right up there with classic French philosophy!
    I LOVE the statement "Perfectionism does not lead to perfection." I just posted it on my wall. Every time I quit a healthy living plan it was because I couldn't do it perfectly. Understanding this has been a huge help this time around. Seeing this quote reminds me that it is universally true.
  • Great article! Keep 'em coming :)
  • LEAN04
    Thanks for the article, since being told by my doctor, that I had diabetes life has changed but this article was on point. My daughter and granddaughter has been sent this article to help them achieve there goal in losing their weight goal and a healthy life style. Thank you so very much, it help me also. Tx-Wilean04
  • Thank you--you gave a focus on things I knew deep down I needed to change in order to succeed, Very perceptive well-thought out points! Thanks and keep them coming.
  • I think only a perfectionist would criticize the article! A writer can write anything they feel or think and put it in any form they wish. If you don't happen to like it, It doesn't make it wrong and it doesn't mean that it is poor writing. Instead of taking your time to point out what you didn't like to everyone else, you should just move on to another article. I'm sure there is plenty of people out there who did like it. It actually had some good points for me to remember, which is the whole point of these articles -to give us things to think about and work on.
  • This is a great article that applies to all areas of life. I return to it over and over again and have passed it on to others.
  • This needs a rewrite. Any of these points is valid, but this is a poor article overall. Each topic should have a seperate article devoted to it. These are not "blurbable" themes - a paragraph on perfectionism is just going to raise the hackles of perfectionists without giving them any insight on the dangers of their habit. The other two just didn't resonate in the least. What was that business about working harder until it starts to be fun, or some junk...... ???
  • While I think expression of one's opinion is important - I think it's also equally important to be respectful of others.

    Thank you for an excellent article - I absolutely avoid doing things because I'm afraid of failing! I think we all need to go a lot easier on ourselves! Weight loss and healthy living is a continuum, and I think the direction our intentions leads us the majority of the time is what will bring results..

About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.