|I often watch You Tube videos by this organizational psychologist named Benjamin Hardy, and he loves to quote people. Last week he quoted Dan Sullivan, a business coach. He said, “All progress starts by telling the truth.”|
I had to pause the video and really think about that. Admittedly I didn’t completely get it at first, and then I did.
It reminded me of the idea of Truth and Reconciliation…you can’t/shouldn’t reconcile and move forward with any damaged relationship until you tell the truth about what actually went wrong in the first place.
Just like if you are dissatisfied with something ongoing in your own life or your body, you can rarely move forward until you tell yourself the truth about what is keeping you stuck where you are.
The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about your ‘reasons’ (read: excuses) for what got you where you are and why you are not taking action to change, the faster you will make progress.
And so, if you know you need to do something positive for your health & longevity such as exercise more, lose weight, eat better, socialize more, drink less, go to bed or get up earlier etc you have to first look at what you are or aren’t doing that is preventing you from making the progress you want. Then, be honest with yourself about what excuses your are giving yourself about why are you are not taking action or making change.
The second step is to then be honest with yourself about whether you are willing to make the changes you need. And if you aren’t, then you need to drill down on your excuses and find out why you are holding on to these unhealthy habits. What benefit are you getting by staying where you are? Then think about what benefits you’d get by making a change? Which is more enticing? Which has the stronger pull? That’s the one that will win.
And trust me, you can’t get where you want to go by lying to yourself. So let me start by sharing some lies I have told myself in the past, and still catch myself saying; and what I tell myself instead.
Lies I’ve Told Myself
Lie #1: I hate wasting food. It just seems so indulgent and wrong. And so, when I would start a diet (I used to weight about 30 pounds more at one point in time…😬) I would first do any of the following…finish the row of cookies, gobble down the leftover piece of cake, have seconds of dinner even when I wasn’t hungry, etc etc. All the while telling myself, I don’t want to waste it, so I will finish it and then start my new healthy eating plan tomorrow.
But here is the Truth I replaced that lie with. I am not a garbage can. If the only two options for avoiding waste is to eat it or put it in the garbage and I choose to eat it … then what sort of value am I placing on myself? Am I truly equal to a garbage can? The rest of that truth is that the only way to not waste is to not buy it in the first place.
I am all about not wasting, but do not forget, you are not a garbage can either. If it is going to take you further from a health goal that is important to you, then it’s time to trash it.
Lie #2: believe very strongly in the value of family and community and participation. And so when there was a birthday or a holiday gathering I felt like I needed to try all the food and enjoy all the desserts in order to participate fully and make the most of the experience. I didn’t want to deprive myself of enjoying this food that was lovingly cooked and presented.
But here is the truth I replaced that lie with. I don’t want to deprive myself of feeling and being my best. And overeating not only made me feel bad quite quickly, but over time it resulted in extra pounds that also made me feel less than my best. And eating all the food didn’t make the event more memorable. In fact, I also realized that I never regretted not eating the dessert or the second helping, but there were many times that I regretted eating them.
Lie # 3: One last lie I used to tell myself is how much I wanted to lose weight or get in shape. I used to want it, but then I wouldn’t work out or I wouldn’t stop eating the foods. And so I had to face the truth, I didn’t want it badly enough. Or in the words of Robert Brault, “We are kept from our goals not by obstacles, but a clear path to a lesser goal.”
I had to accept the fact that I wasn’t making change because there was something else I wanted more, which was comfort and familiarity. Until I changed that narrative, and found an accountability partner, no new habit would stick.
I could go on, but what I am hoping is that if there is a health goal that you are not working towards but know you should be, perhaps you can take a minute to listen to the ‘reasons’ you have for not moving forwards towards them and question the truth of those words. Do you think you are too old? Too fat? Too skinny? Too shy? Too lazy? Too inflexible? Too anything to make that change? Let me be the first to tell you that you are none of those things but maybe you just don’t want it badly enough?