Why We Self-Sabotage Our Best Efforts
Picture it…You learn about the power of food as medicine because it’s taking the internet by storm and the testimonies coming out of it are incredible! It promises to solve all your problems and you jump on the bandwagon fully committed to change your eating habits, your enthusiasm at an all time high. What happens next? Two weeks in, it hurts! No wait, make that two days in. Where’s it hurting? Your usual routine has gone out the window and now you’re having to: Find extra time you haven’t got Find items in supermarket aisles you don’t normally walk down Eat unfamiliar food you may not particularly like Get up earlier to prepare said new foods Say no to foods you crave Cause problems for family and friends with your new list of outlawed junk foods The comfortableness of it all triggers a deep primal response in our brains that is wired to keep us safe and avoid pain. So you get strong urges to go back to what’s familiar and avoid risks. Our conscious, reasoning mind sees clearly that our old ways weren’t working out for us and we weren't seeing the results that we wanted, which is why we jumped at the chance to change but our subconscious mind, bent on comfort, is pulling us back to our comfy, well-worn path. It’s like being attached to a length of elastic that is constantly straining and pulling us back from the direction we want to go in. The double whammy is that we’ve also all been brought up with a strong quick fix mentality. Anything that takes some time is a fail. Buy now, pay later. Throw away don’t repair. Communication breakdown - walk away and start again with someone new. Quick results…disposable…constant upgrading…path of least resistance. This quick fix mentality spreads to health too. Any health problem and we expect a pill. Weight issues and we expect a pill. Mental health issues, we expect a pill. No effort and instant results. I waited decades for a magic pill as my weight kept going up even as my health went down hill. I tried loads of ‘magic pills’ and guess what? They weren’t magic. You’ve probably found the same. We all find ourselves keeping on doing the same things, settled in our comfort zones, while desperately hoping for a different outcome but deep down we know that we do have to make a change AND STICK WITH IT, to get the results we want. So how do you do it? What can tip the balance, so you break free from that elastic restraint and successfully forge new, healthy habits? Your NEED to change has to become bigger than your FEAR of change. When that happens your strength of mind and your resolve are stronger than the lazy, comfort-loving side of you that’s calling you back and you push through the uncomfortableness till the elastic snaps and a new habit is forged. This didn’t happen for me until my health had totally collapsed and I was no longer able to function through a normal day. I was laid up in bed for weeks at a time, collapsed on the settee the rest of the time and I was only forty years old! My life felt as if it was over and I became desperate. Staying the same was no longer an option. I HAD to make the changes I had been resisting if I wanted my life back. And I did want my life back. I wanted to care for my children, read them bedtime stories, take them to sports days, play with them at the park, go swimming with them on a hot day. I wanted to reawaken the love and the passion I’d known with my husband, romantic meals, walks on the beach, cosy movie nights, working together on shared projects and passions. It took time to ‘snap the elastic’ and forge new eating habits and many, many times I wanted to give up and go back to being sick. What kept me pushing forward? I kept my focus on why I wanted to change! My ‘why’ was that I was going to get well. I had learnt what to do and I was determined to do it. My focus was on resting, de-stressing and nourishing my body with floods of nutrients so that it could fight the infections I was suffering from and start to heal! What’s your ‘why’? Take some time, get a piece of paper and a pen and just write. Don’t over-think it, just write. Write down all the things you desire and long for, get yourself a long list. Picture what you want your life to look like. Maybe it’s to: Lose the extra weight Lower your blood pressure Reverse your Type 2 diabetes Heal your digestive issues Feel good in your own skin There are 2 steps to finding your ‘why’: Define it. Dig down to the details. Write them done — take time on this. You want to see it and feel it. Leave nothing out. Pin it up somewhere where you will see it daily…….speak it out loud every day, declare it, visualise it, feel it - feel how that future ‘you’ feels/looks like. This is probably the most helpful exercise you can do to change a habit so gift yourself some time; put out the cat, send the kids to Grandma, sit yourself down and DREAM. Remember you are too special, unique and beautiful to stay disappointed and frustrated so take the time. Once you’ve got your ‘why’ you need an action plan to follow as that makes the ‘straining against the elastic’ so much easier. If you are super organised and thrive on making a detailed action plan then go for it. The science says that it takes 63 days to ‘snap the elastic’ and forge new habits so don’t give up, use your ‘why’ and press through. If you need help to get organised click here. I love to hear from you. Has this worked for you? How did it change your life? Leave your comments below and if you got value from this then please share.