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Women Dieting, Women Trying to Lose Weight, and the “Coulda”, “Woulda”, “Shoulda” Effect

Posted Jul 31 2012 5:00am

If only I…
I could’ve…
I should’ve…

How often have you said this when you ran up against some diet problem, some weight-loss difficulty?

And how often did you, as a result of saying this, or even thinking this to yourself, come up with a good prescription for what would actually help you next time to reach a better outcome or avoid an outcome that you didn’t want?

It should have. It could have. It would have. Only…

Thinking like this, saying this to yourself, doesn’t always work. It doesn’t work if you overestimate your competence and you’re simply explaining away your failure. If you are guilty of doing this, you might not take the opportunity to improve, to really do it better next time. You might also not attend to what you should be attending to in order to fix the problem and make your shoulda, coulda, woulda come true.

So watch out. Express your regrets, but make sure what you say to yourself about what might have been is an accurate prescription for the behavior and the mental resolve you will need the next time around.

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