“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t you are right".
- Mary Kay Ash
People who have what they want in their lives on a consistent basis tend to be people who understand what they can and cannot control. They do this by dividing things into three categories. Things that they:
Can directly control e.g. their own behaviours.
Have some influence over, but don’t completely control, e.g. what other people do.,
Don’t either control or have any influence over e.g. the weather.
The interesting thing is that people who are successful tend to focus most of their efforts on things that they can directly control, those things that they are directly responsibility for. They also tend to accept that if something is beyond their influence then there is little point in spending time on it.
In short people who get what they want focus on what they can do to achieve it and let other things go. In this way that have complete ownership for their situation and the results they produce.
This is also true of a person’s health and well-being and more specifically their weight. Those people who are successful at losing weight don’t blame their parents for teaching them poor eating habits or the genes they possess. They don’t blame the gym for its lack of equipment or poor staff. They look at themselves and consider how they are currently producing what they have in their lives and why.
To help you begin to understand how this can help you, I have asked you to record your behaviours, what you do and when you do it. In other words what are your eating habits, when do you exercise, etc. These behaviours will give you a good clue as to why you are getting the results you have got.
The next stage is to go slightly deeper and get an understanding of what causes you to behave the way you do. What you are looking for are the triggers that stimulate you to either behave the way you want to or not. For example, emotions often trigger people to eat particular foods. You might find that you eat certain foods when you are bored or upset.
Identifying the causes will also help you realise whether you are eating due to a physical need i.e. to satisfy your hunger or are you responding to psychological habits. Become aware of the difference.
What is stimulating the urge to eat, hunger or something else, such as the environment you are in, the person you are talking to and what you are talking about, the time of the day or the mood you are in.
Symptoms are those things that you can use to describe what is actually happening at this moment in time. It’s a bit like going to the Doctor, who then asks you to describe where the pain is or how it feels. You must remember though that the Doctor is not going to prescribe a remedy based on your symptoms, what he is doing is using the symptoms to find the cause.
This makes much more sense because it increases the chances of what he prescribes actually working. Many people try to cure symptoms without knowing the cause; this is a very hit and miss way of trying to achieve something.
So once you understand your symptoms it is time to discover the reasons behind them. Ask yourself questions such as:
· What do you believe is causing this to happen?
· What else could be behind this?
It is important to identify at this stage that you remain at ‘Cause’. What I mean by this is that you focus on the things that you are doing that are creating your situation, not what other people are doing.
For example you might say that when one of your friends comes round to your house, she insists on drinking wine with you. Although she might do that, it is your choice whether you drink with her or not. You can’t blame your lack of self control on her.
One of my clients kept talking about his need to consume fatty foods and alcohol at lunch with his clients. He insisted on blaming his work, when the reality was that it is his beliefs around taking clients to lunch that were causing his problems. Only when you are at ‘Cause’ will your solutions be effective and lasting.
To get yourself to ‘Cause’ ask:
What’s stopping you achieving your outcome?
If you give a negative answer i.e. something you don’t want to have, turn it into a positive by asking:
What would you rather have instead?
Keep repeating the questions until you identify what the key thing is that needs to be changed.
At this point you are likely to be at the underlying cause of what has to be done for the goal to be achieved. To confirm it though, check for any other misalignment by answering the following set of questions:
Do you have all the resources you need to achieve the outcome?
How is your environment impacting on your ability to achieve your goal?
How are your behaviours influencing the situation? What might you need to change?
What skills do you currently possess and what others might you need to gain?
What beliefs do you have about your outcome that might be limiting you? Which beliefs do you have that will empower you?
Does achieving your outcome fit with the view you have of yourself?
How highly do you ‘value’ the outcome?
How does achieving the outcome fit into your life and what you want to achieve? Is the outcome connected to other people in your life?
Successful change, which to me means permanent, takes place when a person is able to alter the underlying causes of their current situation. This though rarely takes place straight away. Often the real causes are buried quite deeply and for that reason you need to be willing to preserver, taking one step at a time.
As before, if you have any challenges with the process, please feel free to contact me for a complementary health consultation.