When I head to an evening class this week at my gym on the Ormeau Road, I know I am going to see loads of new faces there, frantically working off excess pounds and committing themselves to going 5 days a week….
The problem is I know that for most people it is only a matter of time until old habits creep back in. Come February, people drift away again and the gym returns to the core group who consistently go throughout the year. What happens to everyone else? I see with my clients that past failure to maintain a change often leaves them feeling stressed, anxious, guilty and disappointed in themselves, making further attempts appear too difficult.
What do some people do differently to maintain a change?
A lot of the NLP work I do is finding what techniques and thought processes people use when they are successful at something and helping my clients learn to use the same skills. So what is the difference between January people and those at the gym who go all year, despite being mostly working parents or young people who have busy lives?
It is really very simple, so simple that people often don’t recognise it
They turn up at the gym or go running because they enjoy it.
because it makes them feel good, it makes them feel energised and strong and fit.
This becomes their measure for whether they want to do it or not.
They unconsciously ask themselves….
“How good do I want to feel this evening?” VS “I HAVE to go to the gym because I HAVE TO lose weight”
Which of these would motivate you more?
This same idea can work for any change, people who consistently maintain a healthy real-food diet do so because that is what makes them feel good. They enjoy eating real food so that is their motivator, they sometimes have junk food but ultimately they know they like real food more.
Any change that you want to make needs to have enough emotion behind it. Whatever is the stronger emotion will always win out. So if your thought for making a January change is “I should do this” trust me, you won’t last for more than 2 weeks. Why do you want to do it? You need enough strong emotional reasons and feelings about making the change before you will make it a reality.
What we do wrong in the Western World
We have been taught from an early age to put things out in front of us, such as the person who says “I will put in all these hours because when I have that new car THEN I will be really happy…” “When I have that big house then I will have showed them all I have really made it!”
Effectively this puts the cart before the horse and means when they get there they still are not satisfied. Well what about finding how to be happy now and then asking yourself if you really still want the car?
The classic case of this happening is around the area of weight loss, especially in women. Clients of all ages come to me saying, “I feel shit about myself, I am disgusting. If I could just lose this 3 stone then I would feel amazing”
Would you? Remembering that a 3 stone weight loss could be 1 year-18months away if done sustainably.
What is that really saying? “I have planned to feel shit about myself and hate my body for the next year and a half, until I have dropped this weight.” Always remember the many celebrities or models that are very thin and yet are not happy, are never content.
What is your chances of maintaining all the things it is necessary to do to lose weight while feeling horrible about yourself? That means months and months of cooking real food, preparation, saying no to cake, drinking less…do you really think you will have the emotional strength if this is your driver? If your body is that horrible why would you even bother making change to look after it?
As a weight loss coach, I know what a destructive thought process this is to get into and if this is your mentality for making a change, I am telling you to stop now as you will not achieve it, and probably feel worse for having failed or you risk developing other much more dangerous behaviours such as binge eating or severe food restriction.
My answer- find out how you are going to be HAPPY now, find out how you are going to FEEL GOOD now and respect and love your body, lumps and bumps and all as it’s the only home you will ever have. This may take some time: maybe that requires doing some deeper emotional work with me or finding other ways to build up self-esteem that will work for you. Focus on all the food things in your life, be grateful for what you have.
Work on loving yourself and your amazing body, not in a few months, or in a few years but NOW.
Then when you are feeling good ask yourself then, do I still want this change?
Tip Number 1: Work out how you are going to be happy now, how to feel good about yourself now. Then the actions you take are supporting this feeling.
So how do I begin? Find out in the next article.
How can Aisling help you make a lasting change?
If you want to make it stick the best way to do it is to attach enough emotion and motivation to that change by engaging the deeper parts of our minds.
I help you teach your deeper mind everything that you will gain if you make and maintain this positive change. This can be done by tapping into emotions, reframing the situations, finding alternative behaviours and helping your imagination to see all those happy future memories that you will experience when you do it!
Do you need help in making sustainable change of any sort? Don’t make things harder than they need to be! Make an appointment today with Aisling Cowan by calling 02890641111