We started this series on change by discussing the "feeling".
But, what sparks the feeling that drives us to make a change in our life?
That feeling of unhappiness with life can creep up on us slowly or it can crash down on us in an instant. It is different for everyone.
However, everyone has a defining moment.
In the six plus years I have been practicing Weight Management and Health Coaching, I have yet to talk to a patient that did not have a defining moment that led them to my office.
What is the definition of a defining moment?
It is a moment in your life when you feel the urge to make a pivotal decision because you have experienced something that changes you.
That change can be external or internal. Mental or physical. Self inflicted or delivered by an external source.
It can be a diagnosis of a major medical condition that forces you to realize you need to make serious changes in your life to become healthier and live longer. It may be a personal change such as divorce or the death of a spouse.
Sometimes, it is less innocuous but no less pivotal to you. Perhaps it is the pregnancy weight you cannot lose, the weight you gained after your hysterectomy, or the weight you put on after retirement or your knee replacement.
Often, it is about quality of life. You find you can no longer do the things you love because of your weight. Or, you cannot do basic things, like tie your shoes, walk to the mailbox, get on the floor and play with your children, or ride the rollercoaster at the amusement park.
Heck, it may simply be about those jeans you can no longer get over your hips!
We could all list something different and many of us could list more than one thing I am sure.
The point is, those defining moments can propel us to change. They are the line in the sand. Our before and after in life. And, how we deal with those defining moments determine our outcome.
"When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you" - Roy McAvoy
There are so many things in life we cannot control. Our genetics, our biology, our environment, and accidental things that just happen but create a lifelong impact on our lives.
What we can control is our response to those events in life. We can define the moment.
I could spend hours giving examples of people in history who overcame great odds to do great things or define their moment:
Stephen Hawking, who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21, went on to be one of the greatest physicist to live.
Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school basketball team, did not give up his dream and is now still regarded as one of the greatest who ever played the game.
Beethoven, one of the best composers to live, did most of his work deaf.
Helen Keller, born blind and deaf, went on to be an author, an influential disability rights and political activist.
There is a theory that we belong to one of two camps: we are internally motivated or externally motivated.
Internal Locus of Control- we believe we are responsible for our own success and the outcomes in our lives are dependent on what we do.
External Locus of Control- we believe we are not in control of our own lives and it is in the hands of fate, luck, or others. There is nothing we can do to influence the outcome.
Although I think most of us are thinking in one of these two parks, I do not believe we cannot change how we think. We must first realize what we are doing and then make an effort to change our way of thinking.
How do we do that?
First, we must accept we can only change what we have the power to control.
The failure to not realize this is perhaps the biggest misstep many of us make when embarking on change. And, I see it daily when working with patients who have started their weight loss journey.
We are overcome with feelings of failure, defeat, and negative thoughts when we fail to conquer things that were never in our control.
It is amazing how human beings expect so much of themselves but so little of others around us. I wish we could all be super heroes but we, unfortunately, are not.
But, even a super hero has only so much control. Super Man cannot be everywhere at the same time to save everyone. And, the last I checked, he was not going home at night and eating his feelings about it!
So, how does this apply to you, you ask?
Well, we have discussed the "feeling" that sparked the need for change. And now, we have talked about the pivotal moment.
What was your pivotal moment?
Write it down. Then, list the things you have control to change and also list the things you CANNOT CONTROL. Because, let's be real, we need to remind ourselves we are not super heroes sometimes.
In a nutshell, stop expecting too much of yourself! Do what you can do and stop beating yourself up for what you have no control over.
You cannot change your genetics, magically take away a medical condition, or the body you inherited from your mom (thanks mom).
Focus on the what you can do today. Keep your focus real and achievable. One thing at a time. Small steps lead to big results!