Letting Go of: Obsession with Numbers

Letting Go of the Obsession with Numbers

I recently had a client ask me how to let go of her attachment to numbers, whether it be a number on the scale, the number of followers on our social media, the number of likes on a picture, the amount of time spent working out, etc.

This is such a great question, and one I think most of us have dealt with – I remember when I used to weigh myself every day. If my weight was lower that day, or a certain number that I had deemed “good”, I would be in a great mood and feel confident. However, if my weight increased or went above that “safe” number, the rest of my day was ruined and I would restrict my food for the remainder of the day.

Now, of course, this only led to a binge (microwaving multiple plates of cheap nachos, hovered over the kitchen counter as I ate them them, taking handfuls of candy, and eating out of the tub of ice cream), which would cause me to restrict again. From there the cycle would continue.

When I first heard of “the importance of growing followers on Instagram,” I set out to grow my following. If the number of my followers grew, I’d be reaching more people who wanted to learn about intuitive eating, and this would be good for my business, right?

However, as I began to focus more closely on the numbers my “why” began to fade, and I felt like I was losing sight of what I truly enjoyed sharing. What truly lit me up.

If I lost followers I would feel like I wasn’t doing as good of a job and that what I had to say, perhaps wasn’t as important as I thought it was.  Much like the number on the scale, my Instagram stats were leading my feelings of success.

This focus on numbers was causing me to lose enjoyment in Instagram all together. I found myself researching “how to beat the algorithm,” what the best pictures were to post, and the right way to do the caption. The focus shifted from “What do I want to share?” to “What is the right thing to share?” Much like with food, when our focus is “What should I eat today?” instead of “What do I want to eat? What would leave me feeling good?”.  Focusing on the numbers and the “right” way to post left me feeling more confused than ever and bored.

I realized I had to shift away from this focus on numbers, and instead visualize exactly what my life would be like if I just focused on what brought me true joy.

That’s the kind of content I want to read anyway. 

Content that people post because it’s true, real, raw, and honest. Not just “what I want to hear” and what’s expected; that content, if we’re honest, is what bores us most about Instagram anyway.

Anytime I choose to stop focusing on the numbers and instead connect to what is actually important to me, I am always happy with the result. I’ve never once felt regret for choosing to be myself.

When you stop focusing on the numbers, the power that obsession has begins to go away.

Now, when I go to the doctor’s office and see my weight written on the chart, it doesn’t change my attitude or my day – I see it as an objective number, much like my blood pressure level, or my hormone levels.

Today, I focus on my amazing clients who give me an empowered yes to trusting me to lead them, to learn from me, and take my advice. I focus on those who message me saying I have helped them make a shift to listening to their bodies and moving away from the diet trap.

It is so much more important to have 100 loyal followers who trust me (this isn’t an exact number, it’s a mindset), like me, and want to learn from me, as opposed to 1000’s of followers who may not trust my advice, or connect with what I have to share.

I shifted my focus to the why behind my career, my health, and my relationships, and on what I can control. 

Several girls I coach are in jobs that are very numbers driven, such as sales or influencers. My advice to them is instead of focusing on those numbers each week, write out the things you can control and focus on those things.

Instead of focusing on the number on the scale, something I can’t control, I focus on what I can control…creating an amazing relationship with food, exercising because I want to, filling my cup with self-love, fulfilling relationships, and grace. Focusing on what feels good for me.

Instead of focusing on the number of followers I have, I focus on the things I can control, such as…writing a new blog post each week, sending out newsletters from my heart, intentionally sharing my thoughts on social media, putting myself out there to new people, and creating true connection.

For my clients, things that they can control in their jobs might include – having more intentional phone calls that show others you care and not just “closing the deal”.

Begin to gain the trust of others and build a reputation of authenticity and fairness, and the success will follow.

I was listening to a podcast recently with Tony Gonzalez, an NFL Hall of Famer. He talked about his football career and what set him a part from others. It wasn’t his hard work or talent that made him special. He said everyone in the NFL has these traits, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the NFL. Instead, he said that it was his heart, authenticity, and constant visualization of the things he could control that set him apart. 

His whole heart was in the game of football. Not the wins, not the last play of the game, not the championships. It was just in playing the sport he loved so much. He knew that if his authentic love of the game ever disappeared, his focus would go towards only winning, and he would never perform as well. His focus would shift towards numbers-the score, the number of yards he gained, the championships he could win – and that power would bring him down.

We can learn so much from this story. When we focus on what’s important to us and not the end result, we can go so much further. It’s essential to focus on enjoying the game. If you take your eyes off of what’s important to you and only on winning, that power will bring you down.

So no matter what number you are trying to detach from, remember to focus on what you CAN control, and do it with authenticity towards your why and your beliefs. This shift will cause that power the numbers have to go away, and you will be able to move forward with what you truly want in life.

Love, Paige
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