It’s only the second month of 2018 and most of us are still probably getting into our groove after the start of a new year. I’m sure I am not alone in trying to stick with New Year’s resolutions, by regularly giving thought to what I can do to make myself and my life better. What can I change to make this happen?
For me, the idea of change hasn’t necessarily been a daunting thing as much as it’s been an external thing. For years I saw change as something that happened around me or to me; that I had to adjust or react to.
But then I came across the Norman Vincent Peele quote, “Change your thoughts and change your world.” My first thought was, how could such a simple saying be so deep and complex? Well, I was determined to make it complex, ‘cause that’s how I roll, by nature or nurture. I’ve grown to believe if something is simple it’s too easy; or it’s cheating (thanks Baby Boomer Parents!)
But the more I let that idea marinate the more I realized it is that simple. So why hadn’t I thought of it myself?! I chalk it up to it being a case of having to hear the right thing at the right time.
That got me thinking. Sure, when things aren’t going the way we want we can change external things- i.e. the variables like our clothes, our car, our hair, our jobs, even our partners- but the one thing that is constant is us! And if we’re the ones that need true change; altering or eliminating that external stuff is a just temporary fix. We must first change ourselves by, as Mr. Peele so profoundly put it, “changing our thoughts.” Otherwise we will be in an emotional tar pit for as long as we keep our old way of thinking.
There is no denying it; our thoughts are powerful. They are powerful because what starts as a thought /idea, then becomes words- written or spoken. Those words also take on power because they become actions and energy. Actions are what we must take to create the momentum for change to occur. So, it all starts with changing our thoughts—but how often do we think of it that way?!
Full disclosure- I have struggled with my weight since adolescence. I had the unfortunate hindrance of steroids and medication for asthma that played its role, but later, it was my addiction to food and using food as comfort and medication to feed my emotions that was to blame. I failed miserably at every “diet/life style” change I tried except for ONE time.
I desperately needed a change. I was coming out of a toxic work situation and personal relationship during which I’d added an additional 20+ pounds to my already full figure. But I decided to approach it from a completely different angle.
Instead of attacking the issue from the standpoint of “I’m doing this to lose weight and see how many pounds and inches I can lose.” I chose to approach it from the perspective of “How healthy can I get? How will changing the way I’m treating my body benefit me?” I was certainly open to all the possibilities and if it included not dropping a lot of weight that would be a bonus. It was my own personal psychological experiment, which I took literally one day at a time.
Not that I’m recommending this, but you should know the seriousness of my commitment. I vowed to myself and my viewers (at the time I had a daily web show) that I would go 90 Days with NO Sugar, NO Wheat, NO Dairy, NO Gluten, NO Alcohol.
On stage while doing stand-up comedy, I share that it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Detoxing from the sugar was the worst! It was so bad at times I hallucinated. I was at the mall one day and these two little white kids with frizzy hair walked by; and I started following them because I thought they were cotton candy!
Joking aside, I did have highs and lows, but the longer I stayed in my commitment to my health vs. my singular goal of weight-loss the stronger I became and the more incredible differences I began to notice in myself. I was sleeping better. My thoughts were clearer. My skin was looked amazing! I was glowing so that a few people asked if I was pregnant. My asthma and allergies became almost non-existent and I felt really good about myself. Oh, and in those 90 days I lost about 22 inches and close to 30 lbs.
While there were several factors in my success the main one I credit is my completely different approach. Because I changed my thoughts I changed my world.
We obviously aren’t all dealing with the same struggles or issues so while there is certainly no cookie–cutter answer, I can’t help but believe that starting by changing how you think about something, changing how you approach something and seeing how you can put a twist on it will help you bring about the change you want to see and be. So when you think about it, what do you have to lose?
Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash