Wednesday, March 4, 2015

4 Secrets For Making Lasting Changes In Your Life

When I posted on Facebook last year that I had lost 100+ lbs, so many people were reaching out to me wanting to know my secret. My initial response was, hard work, exercise and diet changes. But as I begin to think about it, I realized that was a cheap, unfair answer.  How many times had I, myself and others, tried that formula before and it had not worked?  Yeah, we can argue, effort and commitment, but as I began to give it a little more attention, I realized there was so much more to the equation and it worked not only for weight loss but for any circumstance and situation in your life in which you are trying to institute change.  


Prior to writing this post I had never formally organized my thoughts regarding the principles I was using to change my life.  I have gleaned these principles from other aspects of my life and learning. I always find it interesting how intellectual knowledge is just information until it is applied to a relatable experience.  Suddenly it has life, clarity and meaning that we never saw before. I say this because nothing I’m about to share with you here is new.  As a matter of fact, you may have heard all of it before but for some reason this time it will seem as if a mystery or secret is being revealed.  It is simply because you are able to relate to my experience.  

Secrets 1 and 2 are closely related because they involve the need to come to a conclusion and make a decision.  Usually one or both of these two Secrets are the catalyst for change. 

Secret 1:  You Have Got To Hit Rock Bottom
More than likely you have the term Rock Bottom - like they say in recovery and treatment. This whole conversation is virtually pointless if you are not sick and tired of your situation.  Rock bottom is the end of the end.  You have tried everything you know how to do, you are exhausted and in a state of desperation. This place is very important because it is here that you are
  1. Willing to relinquish control,
  2. Open yourself up to instruction and
  3. Move outside your comfort zone.  
If you are sick and tired, but not willing to do all three you are not at rock bottom and your circumstances are, most likely, going to continue until you reach that point.


In my case I had spent years being irritated and disgusted with my weight.  Every now and then I would do a little something to appease the situation, but my efforts were not lasting and eventually I would be right back where I started.  I was contemplating bypass surgery, even when I knew it wasn’t a good fit for me.  I hit rock bottom when I lost my dream job and I closed my business due to the economy.  Those two factors combined with all my other issues brought on an all consuming state of depression. The depression  spiraled until I was immobile, sitting in front of the tv for hours not watching.  It seemed that all my hopes and dreams were dashed. I thought I had nothing left.  After a few months I began to ask myself, “What am I going to do now?” Getting to the place where I could ask that question was the beginning of my willingness to do whatever was necessary to get, not my life back because that one was gone, but a new life.  


Secret 2:  You Must Repent  
Some of you are wondering if I’m going to take you to church.  No, not at all, but the concept is the same.  A definition of Repent is to have a change of mind. In order to do what is needed to overcome this hurdle in your life you need to change your mind on the matter.  Not just a thought or two.  Nor a declaration on top of the same belief system, but a complete overhaul on all your unconscious thought patterns concerning the matter.  No more operating on automatic pilot. You are going to need to shift your paradigm.  I know you’ve heard the saying:


Insanity
Doing the same things over and over
expecting different results.”  
                            - Albert Einstein


We all practice some form of insanity from time to time, but the key is to be able to become attuned to our thoughts and question why we think and feel the way we do.  At some point I will follow up with a post called, How To Change Your Mind so that we can take a deeper look at what it means to have a shift in our thinking.
Secret 3:  You Have To Believe In Yourself
This is biggy.  If you do not have faith that you can accomplish your tasks and dreams, you won’t!  My instruction manual puts it this way, As a man thinketh, so is he. Translation:  whatever it is you believe / think about yourself is absolutely true and that is who you are.  Our internal thoughts build and shape our world.  If you don’t think you can do it, you won’t.  If you believe you can do it, you will.  It is a simple principle, but it can feel evasive sometimes because if you are standing at the point of unbelief how do you shift positions to believing?  I have discovered a bit of a work around for this.

Sometimes you are not going to be able to grasp the entirety of the goal.  At those times start like this:
  1. Get into action.  Start moving toward your goal with small, simple and deliberate steps.  Use whatever strength or resources you may have at that time.  What you currently have, believe it or not, is sufficient to get you started.
  2. As you complete those small steps and attain little victories, they will give you the confidence to continue and to try the next step. Your momentum will begin to build because you are now accomplishing things you thought you couldn't do.
Before you know it you have chipped away at your goal bit by bit.  Now you are feeling awesome because of your newly earned confidence and you are on your way to completing and possibly surpassing what once seemed insurmountable.

For me, one of my dreams was being able to run.  I had never run before, not even as a child. How would I be able to run when I can’t even walk to the car without getting winded.  This is how I learned about the workaround.  I would show up a couple of days a week to walk around the park. Eventually the short distance I was going became easier and I increased the distance.  It felt good to be able to make progress.  I kept increasing the distance on my walks until I was lapping the park five and six times.  I went from walking for 20 minutes, two days a week to walking for three hours every day.  That was the beginning of the momentum for me.


Whatever you direct your energy toward will multiply.   


Secret 4:  You Must Discover The Root Cause of Your Situation
All of your success will come to nought if you don't:
  1. Discover the origin or the root cause of your situation
  2. Become aware of how it affects you
  3. And learn or begin to work through it
Let’s be frank.  I didn’t find myself needing to lose 180 pounds simply because I like food.  And since we are being honest, weight is not my true issue!  The weight is a symptom of another problem.  Just as a cough and runny nose are symptoms of the flu.  Now I can choose to treat or suppress the symptoms, and get temporary relief, but with the understanding that the root is still there and it will resurface again. Counterwise, I can learn to face the true issue and, over time, uproot the cause completely and let the healing begin.

In my case,  eating for comfort or emotional eating was a coping mechanism I, unconsciously, developed to deal with the stresses of life.  I have some very prominent triggers and I have learned that running helps a lot to keep me balanced, but there are still times where I fall into old habits, as I wrote about here.  And that is ok because I am learning to shift my thinking. One day I will be as seamless with a new coping skills as I was with emotional eating.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I wanted to highlight some factors that have been critical to my development. My secrets.  As you can tell some things are easier than others and some things are really hard.  Please know that you will stumble and fall, but don’t stay down.  It takes time, sometimes years to shift a paradigm.  However, there are gifts waiting on the other side of your mountain. Some of my gifts have been freedom and confidence. I have begun to scale the biggest obstacle of my life and am learning to stare down some of my worst situations.  I’m not even finished yet and I have become my own superhero.  I don’t have words to describe how awesome that feels.


I tend to color my posts with a lifestyle change / fitness / weight loss paintbrush, however, I hope you can see that these principles can be applied in varying situations and that they are truly universal.


What tips, principles or secrets have you learned while pursuing change?

Also shared on Tell It To Me Tuesdays Blog Hop, FYI Fridays

58 comments :

  1. This post is so inspiring and I will share it with a couple of my clients that need to lose at least 300 pounds. #wowlinkup

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    1. Great! Glad that I can be of help. It is doable. Thanks.

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  2. About hitting rock bottom, I so hear you! I've done that a few times now and have hopefully learnt, discovered that I was creating my own pain by not listening to my mind, body or living by my values, and that I needed to make some drastic changes. This is still in progress...

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    1. It is a progression for all of us and I'm glad you are now listening to what is in your heart. Thanks for popping in.

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  3. I think you have to figure out why you are stuck first and then be committed to make a change. I hope not too many people need to hit rock bottom (some do because they just do not learn) but make up your mind and just do it! #wowlinkup

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    1. You are right not everyone has to hit rock bottom. I should have been clearer and stated they either hit rock bottom or have a change of mind. But for some it is just not as simple as make up your mind and do it. There are other factors involved. Thanks for commenting.

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    2. Good article Gina. Keep up the good work.

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  4. I think making the decision to do it and then doing it helps me. I like to procrastinate by making plans. Sometimes I just have to get off of butt and move!

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    1. Making plans assist you in procrastinating lol. Never looked like that before, but I guess it can.

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  5. If you don't believe in yourself, then nobody will. You can't expect others to support you if you are unwilling to support yourself.

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  6. Beautifully written. I think that self reflection and getting the root of the problem is such a crucial component of making a big change!

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    1. So true Susie. How can we fix it if we don't know what the problem is?

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  7. Well written! These are great pieces of advice that I think people are all too scared to implement in their lives. You advice requires those to take a long look in the mirror and critically analyze the things that need to change in their life.

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    1. Yes, Ariana it can be rough and ugly, but is also necessary if we expect to move forward. However, everyone in their own timing.

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  8. I love your Blog! I just discovered you. :)

    Looking forward to your posts in the future.

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    1. Awe thanks Margo. You have made my day. Take a look around and see if there is anything else of interest to you. Thank you so much!

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  9. YES YES YES. I LOVE this post. It is so true that you have to hit bottom and figure out why do do the things you do before you can make any positive changes. Congrats on the weight loss!

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  10. Awesome tips here! I lost a good amount of weight a few years ago but unfortunately gained some of it back :-/
    You're a great inspiration, thank you :-)

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    1. Thanks Lindsay. Not to worry that happens from time to time so all you have to do is get back to it. It's never too late.

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  11. Wonderful principles that truly are applicable in almost all situations.

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    1. Yes Rose I agree that they are pretty universal. Thanks for commenting.

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  12. Yes, believe in yourself! Also, finding the root cause of your problems depends on being honest with yourself. Great tips!

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  13. I think these are great points! Hitting rock bottom is a must for so many people. I didn't hit rock bottom, but I got to a very low point in her life.

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    1. AJ, I'm glad you found your way out. Thanks for commenting.

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  14. Wonderful tips on life long change. I might add "know your why" to the list. It all has to be for the right reason.

    Thank you for sharing your inspiration with Fitness Friday. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  15. Great tips! Believing in yourself is the number one key to everlasting change!

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  16. Really great advice. Repenting and investing why you got where you are are hard. They have been for me anyway. I want to say my weight is not all my fault because of medications and my illness. I looked long and hard at that idea. I know I have to eat better period because of my illness. Thanks for sharing. You should post this on my Spiritual Journey update linky post here: http://www.maryanderingcreatively.com/continuing-weight-loss-adventure/?trashed=1&ids=6382 I think some of us will find this very helpful. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Mary, I think the process is hard or at least uncomfortable for everyone and sometimes there are extenuating circumstances and that's life, right? The important point is that you are doing what you can where you are. No outside judgement, just what you know is true in your heart. Be encouraged!

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  17. Let me give you a better link to copy and paste, sorry. http://www.maryanderingcreatively.com/continuing-weight-loss-adventure

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    1. Thanks for the invite Mary. I'll look into it.

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  18. This is an amazing post, thank you for sharing. I'm bookmarking it to share with clients!

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  19. Brilliant post! Really love this and just what I needed to read as I'm still struggling. Thank you for sharing your words and your own journey with us. Be blessed, girl!

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  20. I've been finding it hard to lose 10-15 lbs lately and know exactly what the root of the cause is yet just haven't been able to get it under control. My sweet tooth is ridiculous and I just have cravings all the time! But I really am not happy with where I'm at so I know it's time to make a change.

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    1. You can do it Patty! Thanks for stopping by.

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  21. What a great post and great tips. There really isn't a secret fix. It's a combination of things and you've done them all and had amazing success with it.

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    1. Thanks Steph. Much prayer that I can make it the rest of the way.

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  22. Yes Gina. I love the honestly and realness of it all. I am definitely at a point where I know change is the only thing that will make my life better. When I think about my children, I know I want to live a happy and healthy life for them, my husband and most importantly myself.

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    1. I with you in the idea of being the best I can be for myself first and family second.

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  23. I agree!!! I FINALLY hit that point with my weight and now it's not as hard as it was now that my mind set is right! Great post!

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    1. Thanks LaShawn and I wish you the best in your journey.

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  24. I think this is the most honest weight loss post that I have read and I have read a lot of them! Thank you so much for sharing this at the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup!

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    1. Wow, that means so much to me. Thank you so much that means a look to me. Please take a peak around the blog.

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  25. Thank you for sharing, this was truly inspiring. I can say that I have hit rock bottom before. I always say that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

    Thanks,
    Sara @ naturalsara.com

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    1. And they have definitely made me stronger. Thanks for popping in.

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  26. I think your weight loss success is incredible, to be quite honest, and the fact that you're so open about how you achieved success is wonderful! keep it up girl!

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    1. Thanks Amber, I appreciate that. I hasn't alwAys been easy but it definitely has proven to be worth it.

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  27. I sooooo need help with this!!! I start to get focused then I face schedule changes as I am up when the rest of the world is going sleep!!!! I NEED BALANCE!!!!! But I want you to know G you are doing an AWESOME JOB!!!!

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  28. Wow, this is incredibly well written and I think you are so right. I think for weight loss to be successful the person has to be ready and really ready to make the changes in their life. It's not an easy journey as you know.

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  29. All great advice and a really good breakdown of what it takes to make a lasting change in your life. Congrats on the 100-lb loss! THAT is phenomenal.
    Julian (www.boldandfearless.me, @BoldFearless1 )

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  30. Excellent advice. You do have to hit rock bottom sometimes to move to bigger and better things. And congrats on losing 100 pounds! That is amazing!!!

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