You’re fat. You’re poor. You’re unemployed (or making no money). You’re unhealthy. You’re alone. And you have no one to blame but yourself.
OUCH. These are the HORRIBLE things we tell ourselves in our weak, painful moments. We would never speak this way to another person! But when we get in this head space, we’re afraid . . . afraid that our lack of progress means that things will never be better or different than they are right now.
Get Out of the Spiral of Pain and Self-Blame
The pain you feel isn’t actually from BEING overweight, underpaid, unemployed, miserable, unhealthy or alone right this very moment; the pain is from the THOUGHT that we will ALWAYS be fat, poor, unemployed, etc. That we’re stuck, and that nothing we do will ever change our present state. That we simply aren’t EQUIPPED to make the change we want.
When we indulge in those thoughts—and don’t immediately recognize it for its inherent toxicity—we start to fulfill our exact fear: we quit doing the stuff that would have made us healthier, more connected and more confident.
None of the mean things we tell ourselves about our lack of progress will ever actually help us change. Or, if it did, the change would be based in fear and self loathing–which means you wouldn’t really like where you end up. You want your thinking in alignment with the results you want, so you’re happy when you get there!
Six Ways to Re-Set Your Brain
Back when I had money worries, I literally spent 30 minutes or more every day getting my head “right,” so that I stayed on top of the situation and my emotions. When you’re frustrated with your current state or lack of progress in an area of your life, I find these steps help get you back on track:
Come out of isolation. I know that I am toughest on myself when I am in my head, isolated from others and believing that no one “gets” what I am experiencing. But when I am out in the world, I find a more balanced person is mirrored back to me. Certainly not perfect, but worthy of support, connection and understanding.
Remind yourself of where things are going well. Your money situation may be in the toilet, but your marriage might be awesome. You feel fatter than you ever have in your life, but your new baby boy rocks. Don’t let yourself be swallowed up by your present state of being in one area. You are so much more than your money, your body, your relationship or your career.
Find the kernel of truth and good in the “bad” area of your life. You can’t begin to change something until you’re comfortable with WHAT IS and have squeezed all of the opportunity you can find from your present state:
- You may be carrying extra weight, but it’s important to understand how it got there so you can understand how to respond differently
- You might not be making any money, but that might be exactly what you need to clarify the difference between essential expenses and incidental ones
- You might be miserable in your job, but it helps you define what you DO want
- You might be struggling with health, but that forces you to cut out all of the crap and only spend time on what matters to you
- You might be alone, but that might be exactly what you need to build a life you absolutely love, instead of compromising yourself for someone else
Accept where you are, even if it is not where you want to be. Just because we can find a benefit from being overweight, short on cash or uncoupled doesn’t make it more pleasant, but your acceptance allows you to operate from that point of truth and helps you move forward.
One thing I see a lot is many self employed people who don’t want to accept how much money they ARE making, because they only want to focus on making more. But until they can BE PRESENT and inhabit their current state, they can’t realistically plan a way out of it.
Don’t focus on what you CAN’T do, focus on what you CAN do. As someone coping with low thyroid and adrenal issues, I can get very frustrated when I think about my former high activity levels. Instead, I have to switch the focus to the activity I am able to complete today, and remember that teensy, consistent, baby steps in ALL areas of your life is the best way to create real change.
Clarify the change you want to see. I never used to take vision boards seriously, but recently I have had a change of heart. I created a vision board with all of the activities that I wanted to learn to do, along with the results I wanted to experience, and I left it out where I can see it throughout the day. I didn’t realize it at first, but after a week I noticed that my brain—without me consciously choosing to think about it—was spontaneously thinking of ways to accomplish the things on the vision board!
Actions To Take This Week
- Don’t hide in pjs (at your computer) at home – get out in the world and reconnect.
- Schedule 30 minutes every day to affirm the good things in your life (my journal time).
- With your current “sucky” life area, think about how you’re growing from the experience.
- Ask yourself: how would you be making yourself happy right now if this current lack of progress never changed? Take one step to being that person.
- Create a vision board reflecting your desired state in whatever area you feel stuck.
P.S. If you’re looking to align your vision with your money, you should check out my free workbook called Chief Initiative, which ex plains exactly how to do that – you can download it here.