On our Peace with Food journey we have had many “Aha” moments, to be sure, and this is definitely one of them. We call it our Optimal Zone epiphany. This revelation has totally changed the way we approach goal setting, along with the expectations we place on people, circumstances, and ourselves.
Before PWF we were really all-or-nothing type of gals. We saw only one way of doing things and there was only ONE right answer. Never two, and for sure not three or four. But on our PWF journey we slowly began to learn that this mindset only stole our peace. We were setting our goals high. Really, really high and rarely ever achieving those goals. The result: Frustration with a capital “F”.
What did we need? Not a new goal, just a new perspective.
Enter the Optimal Zone.
The Optimal Zone is basically a zone that includes your acceptable level of satisfaction, in any area of life, all the way up to your ideal level of satisfaction in that area. If you applied the Optimal Zone to your weight, instead of just choosing one number that is ideal, you would include a range, say 125-132. Sure, 125 lbs. may be your dream weight, but surely there is a zone where you feel good, even if it isn’t your ideal. Having an Optimal Zone allows you to experience victory, even if you don’t hit the mark perfectly each time.
Determining our Optimal Zone has helped ground us even when things don’t go perfectly. It takes off the pressure and let’s us focus on living, not trying to live up to a certain standard that just so happens to be impossible to reach on a consistent basis.
A bonus of the Optimal Zone is that it is relevant to every area of our lives. We all have expectations, many of those are unrealistic. Whether it be in relationships, our job, our finances, you name it. When you determine your Optimal Zone in each area you can then give yourself and others a break and enjoy the ride instead of being stressed by it.
Go ahead and set your goals high, but then have an acceptable range. Maybe reading to your child for 30 minutes every day isn’t always possible, but reading a story to them and tucking them in to bed might be more attainable day in and day out.
Assess your expectations, especially the ones where you feel disappointed or discouraged and determine what the Optimal Zone might be for each of them. We think that when you begin to live in these zones, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that the pressure level goes down and the enjoyment and peace level goes up.
Take-Home Message: Create Optimal Zones in your life by defining the acceptable level in each area all the way up to the ideal level.