It’s true. I love to watch people lose.
I love watching people lose weight, lose bad relationships, lose limiting belief systems, lose debt. One of the things I think I find most beautiful about humans is our ability to decide to make changes for our own betterment.
Let’s talk for a second about how hard that is. Seriously, can we admit that this is hard?
Large sections of book stores, grocery stores, gyms, banks, counselors’ offices and the interwebs are filled with advice, food, books, equipment, techniques, therapies, supplements, processes, and programs all designed to help us lose things that are no longer serving us. I love these tools and by and large think many of them really will be effective for their intended purpose. They only work, however, if we do.
And the work is so hard.
This is where we run into trouble. We’re oftentimes led to believe that change is simple and quick. “With These 10 Easy Steps” or “In Only Five Days” you can make life-altering changes to your behavior patterns and thought processes you’ve spent an entire lifetime creating?
I doubt it.
I’m honestly trying to be encouraging, I am. But we can’t approach lifelong habits and mindsets with the idea that we’ll undo them in a few short days or weeks. There are thought patterns that deeply embed themselves into our psyche, and we are literally wired to do the things that we do. That wiring can take some time to re-wire.
The good news is that it’s soft-wired. We’re only hard-wired to do things like breathe, pump blood through our veins, heat and cool our bodies, and run from predators. We don’t really need to give any thought to that. What we do need to think about are the things we can control, like our self-talk.
Self-talk is one of my favorite topics of all time. I’ve probably read enough books on this topic to be an expert, but I am seriously not great at putting it into practice regularly (that statement, by the way, is an excellent example of how much work I still have to do). Over the weekend, I took a class on nutrition, and one of the things they brought up, not surprisingly, was mindset and how we speak to ourselves. This is because it’s a key component to any change we’re trying to make, lifestyle or otherwise.
If you’re not aware of it, negative self-talk is probably happening all day, every day, while you’re awake and while you sleep. It can seem as innocuous as “I never get a good parking spot when I come here” or “for whatever reason, I’m always leaving the house five minutes later than I mean to in the morning”. But it can also be as serious as “I’ve been fat my whole life, my whole family is fat, this is just how we are” or “I have never had a healthy relationship in my life, I’m not lovable, men always end up leaving me for someone better”.
These are the beliefs that make it hard to lose.
When we tell ourselves that we’re “always sick”, even if we say, “I’m sick of always being sick”, all our subconscious brain hears is “I’m sick”, and guess what? You’re sick. All the time.
What can we do instead?
One of my favorite tricks is to speak to myself like I would to a good friend. When I have a thought like, “I always struggle with my weight”, I try asking myself, gently, if that’s really true. Is it really true that I always struggle with my weight? When I look truthfully at that statement, it’s not true at all. What is true is that I have a few extra pounds that I gain and lose, and that I’ve not been consistent as it relates to my diet and exercise habits and patterns. There’s a huge difference between “struggling with my weight” and actually struggling with a weight issue.
Try doing this for yourself. What are some areas that you struggle with? What are some things you tell yourself that you need to discover for yourself whether or not they are true? Are you “always broke”? Is that true? If it is true that you really have always been broke or in debt, what are some things you can start telling yourself to change that mindset and pattern of thinking? What about, “I’m working hard toward a fulfilling, financially stable future for myself and my family”? Or, “I am debt free and enjoying the peace that comes with it”?
You might be thinking, nice Jess, I’m going to start telling myself “I am debt free” when I’m flat broke? Like, really broke. Like, not-sure-how-I’m-paying-rent-next-month broke. Yes, I know how crazy that sounds, but you should still tell yourself you’re debt free. Because when you start telling yourself what you want to become, what you know deep down inside serves you and your loved ones better, and you will become that. Your subconscious mind only knows how to help you become whatever it is you’re telling it to.
If you’re not already familiar, these are called affirmations. They are “I Am” statements that affirm what you want. It’ll feel funny at first. Some people write lists of them that they keep by their desk, their mirror in their bathroom and in their car, so that they can recite them throughout the day. What you’re essentially doing is re-wiring your brain patterns to lose negative beliefs, and replace them with positive ones.
These positive new beliefs are what will help you LOSE. Lose weight, debt, bad relationships. There is almost no way of moving forward if you don’t start with your mindset first. However, to try to convince anyone that this is simple would be unfair. It takes time and patience, but it does work. Elite Athletes, famous actors and successful business people often credit the power of affirmations as helping them to gain a competitive edge.
My hope for you is that you’ll give this some thought, and that if you are on a journey of needing to lose, that you lose well. I love watching people lose.
If you’d like some help with creating affirmations, there are several resources available. You can check out Psychology Today or this article for help on writing affirmations. For business folks, you may want to check out the work done by The Pacific Institute, and for my fellow woo-woo friends, you may enjoy this piece.
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