If you’re like every human being alive on Earth, chances are you want to change some things. Perhaps you’re interested in changing your looks, your weight, finances, a relationship dynamic, a quirky personality trait that gets in your way, or an unwanted eating habit, just to name a few. Entire industries are built upon both our desire to change something and the inherent difficulties that seem to make such changes a nearly impossible task.
After working years with clients, I know firsthand that when it comes to food, health, body, weight, and eating concerns, it is easy to get stuck and feel frustrated or disappointed when trying to make a change and it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. These juicy ingredients are my five proven suggestions that assist in the face of change.
1. Be Curious
Try some curiosity. When it comes to changing an unwanted food habit, many of us use the most common strategy that never seems to work in a real and lasting way – we attack our habit. We stand up to it with the ferocity of a carnivore looking to kill and devour its prey. With this approach, it’s easy to see our unwanted emotional eating as a part of us that simply needs to be annihilated. Once this happens, our problem is usually solved but only temporarily. The real problem, creating lasting and meaningful change within oneself, is seldom achieved by going down the road of self-hate. What if you got curious about your unwanted eating habit? What if you really started asking questions? What if you explored your challenge through new eyes, with the innocence of a child? In my yoga class they call it beginner’s mind. Look at everything as if it was new. Curiosity relaxes us. It empowers us. Curiosity actually puts us in the driver’s seat and allows us to intelligently gather data that we otherwise might not have noticed had we been engaged in a brutal fight against our emotional eating. If you lean into your unwanted eating habit with an unrelenting and loving curiosity, a beautiful magic happens. Give it a try.
2. Open Your Heart
Oddly enough, one of the ways that humans are often taught to deal with anything or anyone that disturbs us is to close down our heart. After all, our loved ones often hurt us, friends betray us and people we believed were trustworthy can surprise us with their selfish behavior. We do the same with our self. If there’s something you don’t like about yourself – I don’t have enough money, I’m carrying too much weight, I eat too much food – our first move is often to withdraw our love from this part of self. Of course, this seems to make sense because why should you love something that’s causing so much pain? When we close down our hearts though, we declare a cold war. And it’s nearly impossible to shut down our heart in one domain and not have that closed heartedness spill into other places as well. You may not know this, but humans love to be loved into change. Consider the possibility that anything you want to change in your life needs your love. It needs your compassionate understanding. It needs your kindheartedness. If your heart’s been cold towards anything you wanted to change about yourself, try warming it up and see what happens.
3. Sharpen Your Focus
If you’ve been sitting in “un-success” when it comes to changing any unwanted habit or symptom in the body, chances are you’ve been trying the same unsuccessful strategies. Perhaps the most common example of this is weight loss. Even though we can’t reach our goal and sustain it, it’s easy to keep enacting the same approach – eat less and exercise more. Unfortunately, I’ve known far too many people who stay stuck in this black hole for a lifetime. Sometimes, we need to get tougher when it comes to critical thinking. We need to look in the mirror with clarity, and use our discernment to notice that some of our strategies simply don’t work. By narrowing your focus and looking at the obstacle from a new angle, we can see where life is calling for new approaches, new ideas, and a new map to give us the hope of traversing the territory of change with success. So, where do you get lazy and sloppy? Where do you stay stuck doing the same thing over and over again? Where do you need some new input and new ideas from the outside? Where do you need to cut through stagnation? We don’t always like to see these parts of ourselves, but seeing them with a clear mind is crucial to catalyzing real change.
4. See In the Dark
Have you noticed this phenomenon: oftentimes, when we go on a new diet, follow a new health strategy, or commit ourselves to some type of transformational activity to help us change – we hit a wall? Hitting the wall can feel like being stuck, but it can also feel like we’re suddenly lost, confused, and perhaps even worse off than we started. For example, I’ve had so many clients over the years who, when we work on their overeating or binge eating issues, get worse. And of course, at times such as these, we abandon ship. This seems to make perfect sense, because why would we practice any strategy or see any type of coach or counselor where the net result is that we’re eating more, not less? But here’s the trick: things often get worse before they get better. That’s just the way life works. Our unwanted habits often have us in the dark, and it’s easy to be afraid of the dark and run. Learn to see in the dark. This means that we understand that “this too shall pass” and that indeed the darkness really does precede the dawn. Running around the darkness like a frightened child keeps us in fear and stops change. Navigating through the darkness with a sense of trust and dignity empowers change at the most core level.
5. Find a Mentor
The wonderful thing about changing any unwanted eating habit or changing our body for the better, is that we feel so good when we arrive at our destination. It’s easy to fall in love with ourselves when we’ve worked really hard and hit the bull’s-eye. The challenge is, there are a lot of us looking to change – and we’ve been looking for too long of a time. Unfortunately, it’s way too easy to get stuck in the same old strategies that produce the same old lack of results. That’s where mentorship comes in. We need other people. No one goes through life alone. For sure, sometimes we can tough it out on our own, yet we live in a world that’s magically and forever interconnected. If the wisdom of life wanted you to do everything by yourself, you would’ve been born on your own planet. Who are the people in life who can help guide you? Who are the ones who have courageously walked down the road that you find yourself faltering on? Who can you lean on? Who can inspire you? And who is raising their hand and expressing their willingness to hold yours? One of my favorite tasks is to hold a client’s hand. To guide, support, encourage and inspire you to make that change. Give me a call if you want some accountability to get you to that next great place in your life.
If you are one of the millions of humans who are ceaselessly changing and transforming, I hope you found a bit of inspiration to create the kind of change that your heart and body desire most. Which of these five ingredients is going into your recipe for change?