Looking back on my life, I came to realize I was on a diet for quite many years. In the Eastern-Europe society I grew up in, the concept of beauty was deeply connected to the weight scales. I don’t recall having any sports culture in my family; I even hated gym classes at school because they impacted negatively on my grades.
When I was a child, my father worked in a chocolate factory (what a blessing, I thought at that time), but much later I could understand that a big part of my life was built around food. That came together with the emotional package of short-term eating pleasure and long-term guilt. No wonder why most of my New Year’s resolutions were a copy-paste version of “losing weight.”
Year after year, I found myself losing weight and putting it back on. Feelings of accomplishment, followed by self-blame and sometimes even anger for not being able to deal with it. I’ve seen myself up and down again and again, and being unable to fulfill my goal made me feel like a failure.
After completing some valuable self-growth work, I finally understood the reasons behind my failures and I would now like to share them with you:
My resolution did not belong to me. I know this might sound strange. What it means is that I didn’t have a strong enough reason to push myself to transformation. I wanted to lose weight to fit in with certain society requirements of “looking good.” My wish had nothing to do with my own standards because, deep inside, I knew I was a beautiful soul who was struggling to fit in. We only make real progress towards a goal when it means something personal to us.
This is what makes the difference between a resolution and a to-do list. Goals that sound like “I need to do this” or “I should do that” come from a place of survival, from the resistance of being a victim of the circumstances. Goals that sound like “I want to do this” or “I choose to do that” come from a place of self-empowerment and inspiration.
I didn’t think I could make it. My coaching experience with different people and my own journey of self-discovery make me believe our worst enemy is fear. The fear of failure and sometimes even the fear of success feed our minds with thoughts like “this is too hard”, “I’ll never make it” or “this is too good to be true.”
Such limiting beliefs are the sabotaging inner voices that don’t speak from our true nature. They come as a result of the way we’ve learned to perceive ourselves through other people who shaped us, including family, schooling system and different life circumstances.
The good news is that once aware of your own voices, you can unlearn them and replace them with positive thoughts that grow you instead of working against you. You can always rebuild a life of your own design. Remember, in life, we don’t get what we want; we get what we believe we deserve. You can choose to think that you can’t achieve what you want because of your background, or you can decide for yourself that your past is part of you but has nothing to do with your future.
Lack of real action, commitment, and follow-through. I wasn’t making true resolutions; I was making wishes. Being clear on what we want and why we want it is not good enough to succeed. The fact of being overweight was the result of my actions (lack of physical activity and overeating). Making a specific and even measurable plan around my goal would have brought me to a better result because we can’t get different results by doing the same things as before. A sustainable plan would have included physical exercise on specific days (not randomly, depending on my mood or the sunshine outside) or work on nutrition with a health coach.
The same thing is valid for being “happier.” You have to get clarity on what you truly want by breaking it down into smaller steps. Happiness means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? Which are the areas in your life where you would like to see some improvements? Is it your career, your health, your finances or maybe your personal relationships? What could be a good plan to take you further, short-term and long-term? What’s holding you back right now and what pushes you forward? As long as what you want is clear, getting there comes easy. There’s always a solution to everything and, in most of the cases, you already know the answer. Nobody knows better what makes you truly happy but you.
That was all about my past experiences. I’ve taken it as a much-needed learning and here’s where I am today:
I set no goals related to losing weight. Instead, I have something much stronger, a vision of living a healthy life at mental, emotional, spiritual and physical level. I want to feel energized and happy in my own skin.
I know my body is the temple of my soul, so I make sure to take good care of it. It is the only body I have and I love life. I approve of myself exactly the way I am and I choose to replace self-criticism by self-compassion.
I stopped investing time in activities I don’t like doing. I am ok with not going to the gym because I like power walking in nature. I ceased to setting unrealistic targets like “I’ll exercise every single day” because I know there will be days I won’t. Staying committed to what sounds achievable is part of a healthy goal setting that won’t turn into disappointment. I’ve learned how to balance different ingredients to stay fit and still enjoy a tasty meal.
This time, it’s all about me and my own choices and it has nothing to do with what other people think of me. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. We don’t see things and people as they are; we see them as we are. My plan doesn’t look like a punishment any longer; instead, it is tailored to my needs. It’s not about a short-term cabbage diet anymore; it’s a new lifestyle and it’s transformational. Impossible is nothing when we believe.
CALL TO ACTION:
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Originally published at sarafabiancoaching.com on April 20, 2017.
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com