The Law of Unintended Consequences

lawToo often those of us seeking to attain and sustain healthy weight and fitness tend to live in a state of “suspended animation.”  We don’t fully live our lives.  Instead we look forward to living our lives as our “future selves.”

  • Our self at a healthy weight.
  • Our self that looks good in a bathing suit.
  • Our self that no longer has to take blood pressure medication.
  • Our self that can comfortably fit into the seat on the airplane.

Our self that finally feels comfortable with who we are.

Unfortunately, it is this very kind of thinking that can sabotage our efforts to ever actually meet the future self we picture in our minds.

It may appear that I am directly refuting the notion that having a dream or a vision of a “more perfect future state” has the power to motivate us to do what it takes to achieve a goal.  That “positive thinking” is powerless when it comes to making our dreams, our vision a reality.

It may also appear that I am going against my own approach to attaining and sustaining life-long healthy weight and fitness as I base that approach on employing meaning, motivation, and method in a strategic manner.  And anyone who knows anything about strategic approaches understands that having a clear future vision of one’s “desired state” is essential to achieving that desire.

Appearances can be deceiving.

The Secret to the Secret

In 2006 a very popular book called “The Secret” was published that detailed the power of the “Law of Attraction.”  In her review of the book Elizabeth Scott, M.S. gives us a great snapshot of what the Law of Attraction regulates:

  • “If you focus your attention on achieving a goal and believe not only that you can do it, but that you already have done it, you can achieve virtually any goal you set your mind to. 
  • If you focus on what you don’t want, you are inadvertently drawing that into your life. For example, if you constantly ruminate on what is stressing you, you’ll actually draw more of those situations (and accompanying stressed feelings) into your life. Instead, the trick is to focus on what you do want in your life, and you’ll get more of that. 
  • The Law of Attraction, the principle that you attract whatever you focus your energy on (good or bad), works with relationships, possessions, goals, and anything else you are able to focus on — even your own health.” 

I essentially agree to some degree with all of the above.  But this post isn’t about the Law of Attraction – it’s about the Law of Unintended Consequences.

In the case of attaining and sustaining life-long healthy weight and fitness the unintended consequence of applying the Law of Attraction can be that we think in order to follow that law we need to negate and/or don’t appreciate who we are now.  And now is where we live.  Now is the only reality we will ever experience.  We remember the past.  We project the future.  But we live now.  Too often we can get so caught up in anticipating our vision that we don’t actually live our vision.  And if we don’t live our vision now, we will never achieve it then.

secretSo there’s a secret to “The Secret” – and that secret is to appreciate and validate who you are now as well as what you are doing NOW guided by a positive vision and focus.


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