How Changing Routines can have a Profound Effect on Our Life's Path...
Change in our routines can be huge and painful, like moving across the country, or it can be small like eating something different for breakfast or getting up at a different time. The interesting thing about change is what we decide when we are faced with making a change.. We can tell ourselves that change is going to be impossible, too hard or a waste of time. We want the different outcome (loss of weight, better relationships, more organized, more disciplined) but we are so unsure if it can become our reality. Some of us live and stay in that fear because it is easier to deal with what you know then what you don’t know, even if it doesn’t serve you. I can see this in myself and in those around me.
In myself, I start to procrastinate. I was horrible at writing when I was in high school and college. I would do anything else instead of taking the steps to get the assignment done. I ended up quitting college the first time around because I couldn’t stay focused and on task to get the assignments completed. Luckily, I met my husband who has writing as one of his greatest strengths. I am not kidding! He is so amazing at articulating his words that he very rarely buys a greeting card. He has written birthday, anniversary, graduations, Bar and Bat Mitzvah cards to all of us. When I went back to college, he taught me how to get my thoughts on paper, with organization, correct grammar, and a fluidity that I never had before. I went from agonizing over assignments to enjoying the writing process and even graduating with a BA in Sociology from Rutgers University with Honors!!!
I see people struggle with their weight and know they need to make changes but never seem to figure it out. I hear from clients and others the stories they tell themselves and then living within the confines of those statements. A great example of this comes from a conversation I had in a client session. The client explained how they had been overweight since they were an adolescent. The client remembered an experience from a shopping trip with her mom and grandmother. The mother was giving her different dresses to try on for a special family event and couldn’t find anything that fit properly. While in the dressing room, she overheard her mom and grandmother discussing how she has always had a problem with her weight and was destined to be overweight her whole life… That statement left such a mark on her perception of herself that every time she tried to make changes or another diet and failed, she replayed the conversation between her mother and grandmother and gave up. It took a while for her to take a step outside of this thought process of being overweight and feeling shame. As we worked together, I gave her a series of assignments to write about this situation, to acknowledge the feelings, to feel the hurt, the pain, the disappointment in the belief that she was always going to be overweight. After releasing her pain, and anger, she started to read about a different way of eating. She made small changes and found some success. The success she found was not becoming a size 0, but that she had the power to change her opinion of herself. By changing the opinion, she made different choices and the new choices lead her to a successful weight for her body with a healthy body image. The struggle wasn’t over but she could identify the feelings and behaviors that kept her in the cycle of defeat.
My client can now recognize when she starts to make choices that are based on the old story she used to tell herself. Instead of beating herself up and continuing the battle in her head, she can take a step back and acknowledge the behavior and what it is motivating the choice. There are many ways to separate thoughts, emotions and behaviors. For some it takes a time out- meditation, Yoga, a walk outside in nature or any physical activity. For others it is an accountability coach that can offer suggestions to look at things from a different perspective.
If you are trying to figure out why things don’t change in your life, you might just need to look at what stories you are telling yourself. Take a journal out and start writing about your feelings- you may be able to see the story as it plays out in front of you. Namaste