Focusing on the fact that you don’t like your current situation doesn’t help you out of it or move you forward – it keeps you stuck. Focus on where you want to be and identify what you have the control and power to change to get there.
I was inspired to write this post while reflecting on a recent conversation I had with a client. There was a lot of talk about what wasn’t working; about the symptoms plaguing her body. After gathering enough information, the conversation shifted toward solutions. And, as it typically goes in these conversations, those solutions were followed up with a lot of buts — by “buts” I mean resistance, defensiveness, and complaints. It’s these buts that are keeping people stuck in their complaints, and blocked from feeling how they want to feel. So today, I want to talk about three unhelpful patterns I’ve noticed while working with people who are taking on food and lifestyle changes.
1) They shut their minds off from ideas that go against what they think they know.
There are a lot of ideas in the world on how to eat and live — and there are definitely some good ideas out there. But, a lot of said ideas come from people just like you and me, who have found a way of eating and living that works well for their bodies. Even some of the most scientifically-backed protocols have personal stories and experiences interwoven in their rules. If you try out a handful of those plans and still don’t feel comfortable in your body, you have to get real with yourself and accept that you have new things to learn.
How to reverse it: Start noticing situations in which you find yourself feeling defensive about how you do things. This is usually a good indicator that someone has brushed up against a subject you don’t want touched, for one reason or another. That reason may take some time to figure out, but bringing awareness to the habit is step number one in shifting it.
2) They cling too tightly to ideas and rules.
The body is a complex system that’s constantly changing, reacting, and adapting every second of every day you’re alive — we’re not dealing in absolutes here. Every day calls for some level of a beginner’s mindset, one where you have to clue in, try new things, and adjust as you go. If you cling too tightly to a certain way of doing things, you shut yourself off from the opportunity to learn from your best mentor — your body/self — you prevent yourself from moving toward a healthier, wiser, and therefore, more happy version of yourself.
How to reverse it: Remove expectations based on outcomes from past experiences. For example: You’re body won’t react in exactly the same way every time you eat something, so don’t expect it to. View every meal as an experiment – what will happen? How will you feel? You may start to notice new patterns that can be incorporated into your new rules.
3) They feel sorry for themselves.
I know, I know. This is a tough one because it’s so easy to indulge in a pity party every now and again. But, like any instance in which you party too hard, it eventually takes it toll. It’s natural to feel a bit discombobulated when learning new things, especially when you’re changing things that you’ve been doing for a long time. It’s also easy to get caught up in the why-me mentality. (This is particularly true if you’re dealing with food intolerances.) But, there’s always a brighter side to be found, and nine times out of ten you can think of a few ways in which your situation could be worse.
How to reverse it: Self pity in this case means one is focusing on his/her current situation and views it in a negative light. Have you ever heard of the story of the student driver in a parking lot? Instructor says to not hit the light pole – and what does the student do? Drives straight into it! We tend to head toward where we place our focus. Focusing on the fact that you don’t like your current situation doesn’t help you out of it or move you forward – it keeps you stuck. Focus on where you want to be and identify what you have the control and power to change to get there.
No one is immune to these mind habits, no matter where they are in life or in reaching whatever goals they’ve set for themselves. It’s an easy headspace to get into, but a hard one to get out of. Step number one is recognizing when and if you’re doing it. So! Ready to shed some light? Grab and small pocket journal, keep it with you always, and start getting curious.
Here are your action steps:
1) Take note of the times you bristle up and get defensive about how you do things.
2) Remove expectations by adopting an attitude of curiosity. For example: What’s going to happen when I do/eat this?
3) Write down what you want — out of food or any other habit you’re working to adopt — and three things you could do today to move closer to what you want.