Change does not happen overnight. Rarely, does it happen in just 30 days. And, contrary to what we hear, habits are not formed in a mere 21 days.
Change takes time. And, when that change is focused on weight related goals, there are many factors to consider and many steps in the process.
Over the next several weeks, I am going to take each step and elaborate.
How do we start the process of self change?
Simply wanting to change, unfortunately, does not make it happen.
We can have the best intentions but pre-existing medical conditions, family history, medications, genetics, our environment, and our mental state can block any progress we may attempt.
Getting a grasp on our weight and our health can be a daunting task.
It stands to reason, if you are not where you wish to be weight-wise and/or health-wise, something you are doing is not working. Yes, all the above mentioned factors can be contributing but we must focus on those we can change.
In my personal and professional experience, I have found that change starts with a feeling.
It may be a dissatisfaction, a feeling of unpleasantness, sadness or depression, a mental burden, or a feeling that you have lost control. Sometimes, it is mourning the person you once were. Often, it is a feeling of impending troubles if action is not taken soon.
Each feeling is unique to the individual but they all share one common theme: an unhappiness with one's current state.
This is the spark that starts the process of change. This feeling may nag at us for weeks, months, or even years before we actually take action but the feeling must come first.
Why is this step important? I think the importance is in identifying that feeling.
Here is an example and some sharing:
I have ADD. This ADD leads to an overactive brain and often a lot of "projects" going at one time. I struggle to complete these projects and sometimes, in the mist of my cluttered thoughts and projects, I neglect the daily things in my life that keep me balanced.
This translates to dishes piling up in the sink, dirty laundry overflowing the basket, my desk scattered with things I need to attend to, and basically, clutter in my life (a manifestation of what is actually going on in my brain).
This clutter causes anxiety and often depression. And, when it reaches a state that overwhelms me, I shut down. Shutting down means I sleep more, eat junk, skip yoga class, withdraw from family and friends, and continue to neglect the things I need to do.
These actions lead to self-loathing which in turn causes more unhealthy behaviors and avoidance of the original problem. Do you see where I am going with this? It's a cycle...
It took me many years to connect the cause and effect.
However, once I realized my feeling was a direct consequence of my actions, I was able to tackle the problem.
Now, I recognize those behaviors when they start to get out of control. Most of the time (because no one is perfect and we all have bad days), I intercept the effect of my actions by stopping and cleaning up, clearing off my desk, organizing things, and completing one task before moving on to another.
By doing this, I prevent the overwhelming feelings that cause me to shut down.
Recognizing my cycle of disorganization and hyperactivity, that caused the cycle of withdrawal and depression, started with that feeling: I no longer wanted to feel overwhelmed, depressed, and out of control.
Most of you reading this blog post have already identified your feeling and are well on your way to making the changes to improve your life. However, if you find you are still struggling with making a change, this may be a step you need to start with or revisit.
Get a notebook or a piece of paper (use your phone note tab if you wish), and start writing down how you feel. It may be more than one feeling and that is normal.
Then, list the behaviors those feelings lead to. The behaviors you are not proud of, ashamed of, cause you to feel self-loathing, sad/depressed, or cause negative self thoughts.
The next step is identifying the cause of the feelings and subsequent actions/behaviors. We will discuss that more in my next blog post.
Until then, stay positive and give yourself grace to be human. No one is perfect and willpower sucks. Just start each day with the intention to do your very best. Some days, that will be phenomenal. Others, you may only get by. That is life and we can only control what is within
I believe in each of you!