“I just can’t seem to lose weight”,
“I don’t enjoy exercising and lack the motivation”,
“When I’m stressed I emotionally eat”,
“I can’t turn down snacks in the office”,
“I fall off the fitness bandwagon easily”,
“I’m too tired to cook once I get home”,
Does any of this sound familiar??
It certainly does to me.
What may come as a surprise is that these are all patterns that have strengthened over time (through repeated behaviours) until beliefs, attitudes and perceptions have formed. No one is born with set ideals or habits yet through exposure we turn these traits, into our new ‘self’ and eventually find it hard to differ from.
It’s a natural tendency for things to lose order – nature is the perfect example of this. Left to its own devices, life will always become less structured. Sand grains are washed away with erosion, weeds overtake gardens, metal rusts in the weather, and bodies deteriorate. Things become less organised, and in a long way round this also relates to the body as a system – what we neglect now amplifies in the future.
When negative judgements are running through our heads, most of us use commas in our inner dialogue where there needs to be full stops. There needs to be space to see things for how they are and full stops placed where needed. For instance, “I was going to go to the gym tonight, but…. “. By placing full stops we are soothing the itch that says ‘take the easy option’. Your language and behaviour is your outermost expression of your beliefs. This begins with awareness.
Humans are hardwired to choose immediate gratification over benefits we have to wait to receive. Unfortunately logic doesn’t motivate us – emotions do and this is where words like ‘but’’, ‘I don’t feel like’, are used and opportunities to improve our current ways are quashed. Most of the time we don’t even know what voices are going through our heads and we have knee jerk reactions to existing limited beliefs. By changing your personal meaning for life – fitness, nutrition, self –care from a chore to a gift will help transform current decisions into something achievable.
Imagine you have a new mindset that is directing you to make feeling better in your daily life and self-care a top priority. What activities would you spend time doing? What do you notice or feel about yourself when you imagine yourself doing these activities? Your mindset is your socialisation, but it’s not necessarily you. It does not necessarily have your best interests at heart – just the easiest, which is what we know best. By training yourself to think differently is where real change can foster.
So what do you turn to when all else fails?
What sustains us – we sustain
We have to understand that physical changes begin in the mind. You can’t will yourself to eat differently or turn into an exercise fiend without attention being bought forth. Mindset changes only ever happen when there is
- A step taken to accept responsibility and stop blaming external circumstances. Have a conscious intention with every action you make and learn to use your mind rather than lose it.
- Instead of changing who you are, try changing what you do – your behaviours.
- Understanding that health and happiness is not a fixed state but a skill you can practice
How do we put this into action?
Let’s say for example you suffer from afternoon sugar cravings. Each day you tell yourself it’s going to be different but it simply doesn’t work out that way.
Recognition that the problem exists is the first step of the process. It’s no good putting your head in the sand and trying to push the problem under the carpet. Like a hungry baby – sshhhing isn’t going to fix the problem. Addressing the problem is (that you do indeed have a habit of reaching for sugary treats in the afternoon).
By accepting your current behaviour is based on a natural response that existed at the time the behaviour was learnt (i.e. – once you were hungry in the afternoon and you had something sugary, but the response has continued).
If you meet the needs rather than deny them the parts of yourself which possess these needs are then more willing to join forces with you and your conscious motivation. (This isn’t woo woo stuff but backed by scientific research into brain plasticity), rather than resist or self-sabotage the changes you are trying to make.
The more momentum and intention you have the more of critical mass you have to bring upon new patterns of behaviour. As simple as it sounds, following the latest diet trend or fitness celebrity’s workout isn’t going to be a long-term answer. Sure, you might lose a few kilos or eat better for a couple of weeks but what happens after that? Living a life searching for an answer that already lies in you is crazy so it’s time to begin tapping into your true potential without limitations.