We all have the parts of our lives that we wish were different. For many of us it is our weight, but it could be career, relationships, finances, or maybe all of the above. The fly in the ointment is that the more we fight to change these parts of our lives, the more we engage in a tug of war with ourselves. I know, for myself, the moment I decide I am going on a diet, I become ravenously hungry. The longer I punish myself with memories of talk show hosts holding up lumpy, yellow, gelatinous replicas of what “five pounds of fat” looks like, and shameful images of bathing suit shopping… the more I EAT!! What if there was a way to drop the rope and walk away from this endless tug of war that is draining our energy, focus and self-esteem?
We can give ourselves permission to have things in our life that we wish were different. End of story. We can do that. We can decide that, yes, I can’t stand my relationship with my mother-in-law. We don’t have to like the ways things are, we don’t have to be happy with the way things are, but we can come to a place of acceptance. “Yes, I deeply, truly, desperately wish I was 20 pounds lighter.” Then we can begin to back away from the constant berating, excuses, and dialogue that circulates through our mind around this subject. I have heard health coaches who say, “Don’t worry about removing unhealthy foods from your diet. Just keep adding more healthy foods and the unhealthy ones will get edged out over time.” This idea of releasing what isn’t working by focusing on what you can comfortably do that will work is a beautifully painless way to change any area of your life.
Another approach is to change seemingly random habits or behaviors and trust that the ripples of positive energy will flow into all areas of your life. Here is an example of how this could work. Hilda really wants to begin a workout routine but it has just never come together. She has a gym membership, workout videos and even a treadmill, but she still can’t seem to stick to any kind of regular routine. For a very long time Hilda feels very badly about her inability to stick to a regular exercise routine and believes it shows her lack of motivation and discipline. Gradually Hilda begins to get excited about having a clean bathroom on a regular basis. She doesn’t have a schedule or anything, she just begins to notice when she has let things go a little too long, and she begins to notice how nice it feels to have a clean bathroom. Now Hilda has the nice clean bathroom and is enjoying it so much she begins to see other parts of her home that could use sprucing up. After she gives the fridge a much-needed scrubbing, the grout on the back splash gets bleached, and then she even cleans out the dryer vent. She’s on a tear! It feels so good to take care of herself and her home. She feels proud of… HERSELF. Now, without struggle and sacrifice she realizes that she has begun to walk more and has been meeting a friend at the gym. She has begun to incorporate exercise into her life because it makes her feel good! You can equate this practice with the person who says, “I don’t know how I quit smoking. I tried a thousand times before and couldn’t do it. This time it just stuck and it wasn’t really hard at all.” The reason it” just stuck” is they had laid the groundwork by effortlessly making changes that empowered and motivated them.
Beginning to incorporate more of what makes us feel good into our lives changes everything about us. It turns our attention from what we “can’t stand” about ourselves or our lives to what makes us feel strong and successful. We will always have parts of our life that, we feel, need work. That is not shameful or embarrassing. That’s life! Accepting who we are is the rock that sends the ripples of change throughout our entire existence. It is the magic that allows us to release our strangle hold on what we believe we need and to begin to relax into the flow of what is possible. Never underestimate the power of the path of least resistance!!