I’d been struggling with certain bad habits for years. All I wanted was to make a lasting change.
Some of the biggest challenges in my life have been related to body image, weight, and fitness level.
I had spurts of pushing myself. In the summers, I worked out 5–6 days a week. I ate paleo, counted my calories and did intermittent fasting. Every winter, I’d put the weight back on and then start again every spring.
In the end, my belief about my situation was that this pattern was never going to change. I found myself concluding I should simply accept my fate.
Have you ever felt desperate to change, or maybe felt really motivated to make a change in your life, just to find yourself back in your old habits within a couple of weeks and wondering why?
I recently discovered the power of transformation. I understood why I was not changing, and what I could do about it.
What is Change?
There are many definitions of “change” in the Cambridge Dictionary. The one that resonates with me the most is:
“to make or become different”
For me, change is to “become different” or to do something differently. I’ve tried to change so many things, both in my personal and professional life. I’ve succeeded in some areas and failed in others.
Some might see change as:
- Having a different fashion style
- Getting a new haircut
- Moving home
- Getting a new job
- Entering into a new relationship
- Buying a new car
- Transforming dietary habits
- Adopting a new exercise regime
- Expanding friendship circles
These could be wonderful in the beginning. Depending on the change that you’ve made, it might take some time. In some cases, you might fall back into the old you.
Why was I not changing?
I was trying to change a part of myself without going deeper into understanding why I do what I do in the first place.
My focus was on why change was so important and what I needed to change.
My beliefs, mindset and values belonged to the old version of me. This old me was attempting to create a new possibility with the old mindset. This is almost impossible to achieve.
My beliefs affected my actions, making me do what I did without consciously knowing it.
Blind spots, limiting beliefs & change
Our blind spots are the areas of our personality we are not aware of. They create limiting beliefs and limit our progress.
These blind spots could be the results of your experiences and the meanings you gave to them, even though somehow you forgot about the event or do not consider it pivotal.
For example, after being laughed at by your classmates for answering questions in class, you stopped doing so. As an adult you are now scared of public speaking but you aren’t conscious of the link.
Deep down, I did not see myself as a healthy and fit person. I was allowing my past to affect my present and the future.
You might be wondering how I find out what my limiting beliefs are? Usually, I am not really aware of them and need the help of a coach to discover them.
It’s only when I discover and transform those limiting beliefs, ideas and concepts that I can create a lasting change.
Discovering new possibilities
When taking part in a seminar, I was asked, “What area of your life is not fulfilling?
The first thing that came to me was my body and fitness, but deep down I heard a voice saying, don’t mention it. If you try to tackle it, you’ll fail again. You’ve been trying this for years.
Then I thought, let me try this again.
One of the assignments was “Look at that area, observe your promises and how you react when you break them.”
I noticed that I was talking negatively to myself whenever I said I would work out and yet did not do it. I was so disappointed in myself for not keeping my word that I ended up doing nothing whatsoever.
My words, my promises, and actions
I realized I don’t do the things I say I will do in areas I do not feel fulfilled in.
I made a promise to keep my word this time and work out 4 times a week.
The first week I worked out 3 days, the second week only 2 days. Then it went to 3 again, and then 4. It was hard. I hadn’t been working out for years. The weights felt hard to lift.
I broke my promise again. I felt really awful about it. I noticed I was talking negatively to myself about it and had placed a lot of value on it.
Giving new meanings to events in my life
Being harsh to myself was not helping in any way.
I hadn’t been working out for 4 years. Of course I was tired and sore. Yet, I was expecting myself to nail it straight away.
I noticed I had a different mindset and expectations in areas I was doing well in. I believed in myself. I kept trying to find new ways to make things possible. If I broke a promise, I kept trying and didn’t take it too seriously.
Somehow I forgot that this should also be the model for areas I don’t do well in.
I realized that I can try again and again until I make this part of the new me.
This allowed me to continue with this new possibility and make promises to myself. It’s OK if I break them. I can make new ones and stick to them without blaming myself.
I just came to the conclusion that I was placing lots of value on promises I was breaking.
Today, I work out three times a week. There is a shift in my perspective. I see sports as a part of my life. I’m also aware of how my day-to-day choices help meet my fitness goals. For example, when I can, I choose walking over driving.
There is no lasting change without transformation
It’s not our actions nor how to achieve something that we need to focus on. Rather it is about creating a new possibility on a deeper level.
This new possibility will automatically result in the right actions.
Once we create a new possibility, we can discover the blind spots and limiting beliefs keeping us from getting what we want.
Acknowledging those blind spots is then the first step towards freedom and choice.
It’s about transforming something within you.
It’s like riding a bicycle, once you learn how to do it, you’ll never unlearn it. Once you’re transformed, you won’t fall back into the old you.
For me, it’s all connected to myself as a being. If I want to exercise and have a healthy body, I must see myself as a healthy being that will take the right actions.
The reason some changes don’t last is because I haven’t yet discovered the blind spots and limiting beliefs that are causing the current state of affairs. Once I know them, I can transform them.
There is a difference between change and transformation. Most of us would like to change, but what we truly want is to transform.
Transformation can be hard, uncomfortable, and exhausting. It’s like you lose a piece of yourself to make space for the new you.
The best way to transform, is to allow others to coach you. Allow yourself to make new discoveries and create new possibilities. Let go of your past and start acting in the present.
I really hope that you enjoyed this article. I’m excited to know your thoughts.