THE #1 REASON YOU'RE NOT LOSING WEIGHT (OR MEETING ANY OTHER GOAL) IS THAT YOU DON'T BELIEVE YOU CAN
I coached a woman who wanted to take a bath before bed as a step toward getting a regular bedtime routine. She'd tried just going to bed at 11 pm, but it didn't work. She couldn't make herself do it. She thought if she just added a bath -- which is something she enjoys -- that might solve the problem and get her to go to bed earlier.
But she found she never took the bath because it was so much more fun to stay up and do all the things she couldn't do during the day.
I asked her what the end game was: "Why do you want to go to bed at 11?"
"Because I'm tired in the afternoons and I want to have more energy," she told me.
"So you're choosing between having fun now and being tired later or going to bed now and not being tired later," I said.
"Well, not really," she said. "I don't know if going to bed early would even work. Everyone I know is tired in the afternoon, so maybe it wouldn't make any difference at all."
And there it is.
She didn't believe going to bed would make any difference. In her brain, she was trying to give up something she loved -- time to herself -- for no real benefit. Of course she's not going to make that trade!
This is the exact same pattern I see every single day with my weight-loss clients. I was coaching one today who couldn't get up the motivation to make an eating plan.
When I asked her why, she told me she was just lazy and uncommitted.
"Wrong," I said.
And then she said, "I guess I just think, I have to do all that work ... and yeah, I may lose the weight, but then I'll just gain it back anyway."
And there it is again.
Listen: If you don't truly BELIEVE you will actually get the result, you will never take the action required to secure it.
I told this client to imagine I promised her that if she would scrub the shower 25 times I would give her a million dollars. If she knew I was super wealthy and a person who always kept her word -- if she was certain that million dollars would show up in her bank account, would she do it? Definitely.
But if she knew I was someone who had no access to that kind of money, would she do it? No! Why in the world would she? She would have to work really hard, and she knew that at the end of it, there would be no benefit.
I told this sweet lady that she was certainly NOT lazy. She's not uniquely broken in any way. Her brain is simply trying to save her from doing all kinds of work for no benefit. She's smart. Her brain is functioning exactly as it should!
To lose weight permanently, she has to start by changing her belief. She believes that she is in some way different from other people who lose weight and ARE able to keep it off.
But the only difference truly is that those people believe they can.
How do you learn to believe when you don't believe?
You want to start building evidence for your belief. Set a goal so tiny you can't help but meet it. You might tell your brain: It could be fun to try this just as an experiment -- it might even work. I wonder if I could do it!
Move slowly, take things small step by small step, and build your belief.