Have you ever thought about the fact that every other animal on Earth, other than humans, survives their imperative lives without ever a thought about whether it’s 6:30 or 7:00 PM because they don’t want to eat dinner too late, or whether they got an 89 or 90 on that exam, or whether or not they gained weight over the holidays?
That’s right, no other animal on this planet but the unique Homo sapiens measures every little thing with numerical value. But to what cost?
Let me start off by saying: I am not implying that using numbers to measure anything is wrong. In fact, it’s incredibly useful and beneficial to us for specific reasons. Any “health” implications I make in this post do not at all discredit the very important need for medically necessary measurements in order to sustain life; such as blood pressure, white blood cell count, insulin levels, heart rate, etc. (Which, again, don’t measure your value as a person, but help to ensure your livelihood.) Instead, my stance is to convince you that everything is not as black and white as it seems, and that your success can be measured in other, more valuable ways.
So how else can we measure our successes in life?
1. Measure Quality, Not Quantity
This goes without saying and may be very obvious to some. However, have you ever really thought about all of the things you measure with quantity instead of quality? Think about it.
We care more about how many calories we are or are not eating, instead of thinking about the effects of that food on our health.
We care more about how much “healthy” foods cost instead of how detrimental cheap foods are to our bodies (Which, btw, is probably more expensive in the long run with medical bills, prescription medications, and healthcare costs due to poor health).
We care more about how much sugar is in a banana than about the levels of Potassium, Magnesium, and fiber our bodies need. And it’s not just about our food choices in numbers, we do this with everything in life, but I’m sure you get the point.
2. Base Success off of Happiness and Contentment, Not Numbers
Easy to say, hard to practice. Success, to us, is so easily measured in numbers and less in ourselves.
We tell ourselves: “I’ll be happy when I reach my goal weight,” and “I’ll be happier when I have x amount of money,” but where does that leave us in the present moment? Unfulfilled, unhappy, uninspired?
The truth is, even when you reach that goal weight, pay check, or anything else you wish for, you will never be very satisfied with it. Why?
We live in a culture where the top is reachable. As children, we are told to work hard and believe in ourselves and we can accomplish ANYTHING we want to. (Debatable, but mostly true.) We won’t stop until we are bigger and better than any competition in our way, we will even step on other people to bring us closer to the top. As sad as that is true, our culture has taught us to never be satisfied until you reach the “top.”
But, from what we have observed with our own successful elite people, especially in recent years, being at the top does not mean having happiness or contentment.
Sorry to get dark on you there but I think it makes my point. You can have all the money in the world but if you aren’t fulfilling your deep rooted, emotional needs and desires then it really doesn’t matter. Because, in reality, none of those things really matter. Your weight, how big or small your house is, what kind of car you drive, how many followers you have, what kind of phone you use, the list goes on and on.
If you let numbers control your emotions, you are limiting your happiness. Happiness is about love, experiences, generosity, making connections with people, self-acceptance; those are what will bring you happiness, not more subscribers on your new YouTube channel.
3. Faster Results Does NOT Equal Better Results
This is so important to note because of the competitive culture we live in. I know that when I was younger, I would often compare myself to other girls. Even now, I still struggle with comparing my journey with others’ journeys when it comes to where we are in our lives.
I’ve thought, “She already got her Bachelor’s degree? I’m jealous,” or, “She lost more weight after having her baby? I wish I had a flat belly like that,” or even, “How did she get that many followers so fast? I’ve been doing this longer than her!”
Comparison is exhausting, debilitating, and degrading. We can’t compare ourselves to other people because, simply, we are NOT those people.
We are on our own journeys in our own time and taking one year or ten years to accomplish the same goal does NOT mean it’s any better or any less of a success.
Instead, think about it this way: If something is not happening in your life it’s either because it’s not the right time, it’s not meant to be, or because something better is on its way. So don’t be discouraged if you feel like your journey doesn’t measure up to someone else’s because it is not your journey to be living, just as your journey is not meant for anyone else but you.
It can often feel like we aren’t successful in our lives because of the constant need to measure up numerically. Allowing numbers to control your emotions and motivational drive will ultimately leave you unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and overall unhappy.
Before I conclude, I want to mention weight stigma exclusively:
The number on the scale does NOT define your worth, your health, your knowledge, your willpower, your abilities, your character, or anything of the sort.
The simple fact is that health is complicated. We don’t have it all figured out and we are arrogant to think we do. There is a LOT of conflicting information out there and it’s frustrating for me to see people sharing information that is both harmful and incorrect.
What we do know is that your weight is not inversely correlated with your health. You can even opt out of the doctor’s office weigh-in if you want to because self-inducing anxiety and obsessing over a silly number is just not worth it. You are more than that number.
Another thing we know – genetics does matter. Weight gain or weight loss is not exclusively mutual with your lifestyle choices. But, again, genetics is not the only factor, but one of many.
I hope you enjoyed this topic and if you did please be sure to share this blog with others! And I challenge YOU to let go of numerical measurements because numbers are just numbers, they can’t and will never define you.
Thanks for reading!