The first step to making a change is to be totally okay with what’s going on right here and now. Does that sound backwards? I mean, if it’s okay, then why do I want desperately to change it?? It’s NOT okay - that’s the whole point!!
Hear me out for a sec. The most permanent successes I’ve had helping people change their behavior (the stuff they’re either doing or not doing that they don’t like, that hurts their health) comes from switching from a battle mindset to an accepting one. As that shifts, then the whole inner conversation loosens up, and behavior naturally starts to shift too.
How? Let’s try.
Start by thinking of something you do that you want to change. Snooze button v. exercise. Cookies before dinner. A glass of wine v. herbal tea. Whenever what you WANT isn’t what you DO. Okay. Got one in mind? Great. Now quietly listen for your thoughts around that choice or behavior when you last did what you DID, not what you WANTED. Anything judgmental in that memory? Kinda mean, even? Like maybe words you would never say out loud, never to anyone else? Weak, dumb, broken, hopeless, pathetic, lazy…. gulp. And notice any emotions directed at yourself, too. Did you feel angry or frustrated? Scared maybe, or ashamed? Oh boy. If you’re like me, (like everyone?), then this is very familiar turf.
Here’s what I’ll ask you to do, while you’re in this uncomfortable place.
What if instead of judging and criticizing, you got open and curious? I promise you 100% that every single thing you do is for a good, smart, real reason. It really is - all. of. it. So think again of the thing you don’t want, and get curious: what is this a solution to? What’s the problem? Be kind, patient, it’ll come.
Too tired? Skipped lunch? Feeling sad? Habit? Cute someone who scoops ice cream you want a reason to visit? It’s all truly okay - you’re okay. When you’re curious about WHY the behavior is there, then you can start to see the real pressing problem that it’s solving. And then you can start to weigh the ups and downs of alternatives if you want to make a different choice going forward, one that supports your health too.
Here are a couple of examples: If I sit and eat a real lunch - not some crackers and cheese in the car, but actually take a break during the day to get outside and move a little, then I might not be so tired when I walk in the house when the box of granola bars is my best choice. Or if I skip the wine and late dinner, I might sleep better and be more ready to get up to take a walk. If you want to make a different choice, plan it out fairly ahead of time, so the one you want is the best one at that time.
Does that make sense? Try it for the day and see if you catch yourself in judge mode. Be alert - it happens so often and automatically - this nonstop fight for control - that we honestly don’t always notice. It’s like an irritating background noise we don’t hear anymore. And as you go, please let me know if I can help, or if there’s something sticky (or unsticky!) you want to share.
Remember: you are a smart problem solver! Be a kind one, too. xo