Ultimately, you get what you expect.
You may hold yourself back from being willing to believe you can achieve your goal because of:
- Fear that you will be disappointed
- Worry that you aren’t doing the “right” eating plan or exercise program
- Other contradictory beliefs, such as there’s something wrong with your body and it doesn’t respond like other people’s
- Faulty beliefs about your self-worth and how much you deserve it
- A combination of these or other thoughts
There are a number of reasons that expectation is so powerful and is such a huge predictor of success.
One is simply that you hold back on your commitment to action if there’s a part of you that believes the results are not possible.
Just think about it. How likely are you to give your workout your all or stick to your eating plan if you are questioning how effective it will be?
It can feel like a huge risk to put all your emotional chips in the game. It can lead to sabotaging thoughts such as, “What if I give it my all and still fail?”
But how likely are you to succeed if you aren’t giving it your all? By holding back, you are actually creating the outcome that you don’t want.
This is why really thinking about what optimal wellness means to you and the value it will have in your life is so important. This is why is it critical to be focused on creating a healthy lifestyle rather than a “diet” that you are doing for a limited time.
It helps you redefine success and the parameters of the game.
If you only define success as the numbers on the scale, it’s easy to “fail.”
But if success includes having your clothes fit better or being a smaller size, having more energy, doing more, feeling better, being more engaged in life, improved health, endurance, strength and stamina, etc., there is no way you could give your plan your all and “fail.”
And if you are focused on creating a lifestyle there is no end buzzer in which the game is over and you “fail.” It doesn’t matter if you reach your goal in 12 weeks or a year. What matters is that you are making progress. (See definition of success above.)
Expecting results is powerful. How much you hold back on being willing to believe you can achieve your goal is how much you will fall short.
The good news is that, as Abraham-Hicks says, a belief is just a thought you keep thinking.
This means that you can change your beliefs by choosing to think new thoughts!
Choose to think about:
- How it will feel to be slim and healthy
- How eating healthy food in the right portions and moving your body will help you achieve your wellness goals
- How hard your body is working on your behalf
- How much you deserve—and can achieve—the the body you want
What else can you do to shore up your expectation that you can achieve your goals? How does that impact your success?
Together we can do it!
Wellness Tip of the Weekend: How you view all aspects of your life impacts your wellness. Change your view by changing your thoughts. Feeling good signals success.
Wellness Tip of the Day: Focus on what you did well, and learn from and let go of the rest. Building on small successes generates momentum towards your goal.
This is the simple but great challenge that all of our dreams face—expecting that you can do whatever it is that you want in the face of people pointing out the obstacles or inadequacies, previous personal experiences, and numerous examples of failure.
In your heart and gut, you have to know that you can do it no matter what. And when you do fall into fear and doubt, you have to get back up and move towards that inner belief anyway.
Doubt is the distance your mind must travel in order to be able to reach your goals. If it dictates your decisions, there will always be a part of you holding back, which means you will almost certainly fall short of the mark.
But how do you mentally move from doubt to expectation?
Slowly, gently, and one step at a time. Taking a flying leap of faith without the wings of inner knowing is often ill-advised, and can lead to false starts or worse, a crash landing.
Here are five tips for crossing from doubt to expectation.
- Practice how it will feel. Imagine how it will feel to achieve your goal. Pick one word to describe that feeling. What are some other things that give you that feeling? Spend 10 to 15 minutes a day thinking about those things and feeling that feeling. Allowing yourself to experience the feeling of success as much as possible will confirm for your mind that the end result is attainable.
- Act as if. How would someone who has already achieved your goal think, feel, and act? Begin to act as if it is already done. Again, this helps your mind move towards belief.
- Count the tiny steps of success. Break down your goal into tiny steps. Take at least one step each day that makes you feel like you’re making progress. Instead of focusing on how tiny the steps are, focus on the progress you are making. As the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
- Look for positive examples. Chances are that somewhere there is someone who is doing what you want to do. Look for the examples that inspire you and help convince you that your dream is possible. Ignore the other examples as irrelevant. They aren’t you and they don’t know what you know.
- Appreciate where you are. There is no better antidote to doubt than gratitude and appreciation. Stopping to appreciate where you are reminds you that life is lived in the journey, not in the few moments experienced when you reach your destination.
What can you do today to nurture your expectation of success? How does this impact your ability and desire to move towards your goals? What does your belief say about the distance your mind needs to travel to help you create the life of your dreams?
Together we can do it!
Often my clients are surprised that creating optimal wellness requires working their mental muscles in the same way they exercise their bodies. It takes discipline, practice, and consistency.
Just as you might plan to get up and do your physical workout, you also need to plan to work your mental muscles if you want to shift your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs to help support and change your actions to get different—and more desirable—results.
How long do you think you will maintain a workout program if you force yourself to exercise through sheer willpower but spend the whole time thinking about how much you hate it? Let’s just say your chances of long-term success will be pretty slim.
But how likely it is that you are going to go from hating to exercise to loving it in an instant? You wouldn’t expect to get off the sofa and be able to go run 3 miles the first time out, so why would you expect to create new mental patterns that quickly?
The truth is that mentally, most people are the equivalent of coach potatoes. They just react unconsciously to the physical stimulus around them in the exact same way they’ve always reacted, or people around them react. They have no idea that they have just as much potential to control their thoughts and reactions as a body builder has to curl a 50-pound dumbbell.
Just because you have hated exercise in the past—or have always hated it—doesn’t mean that you have to hate it forever. That is a practiced reaction that you actually do have the power to change—if you want to.
I know because I was one of those people. As a kid, I was not physically gifted. My lack of grace was a running joke in my family. Reading was my pleasure and the idea of working physically hard and, heaven forbid, actually sweating were abhorrent to me.
In other words, I hated exercise. Oh, my parents poked, goaded, and prodded me to get off the sofa and move, but I resented the heck out of it.
As a teenager and young adult, I only worked out long enough to meet my weight-loss goal. As soon as the scale hit my target weight, I went right back to my more slothful habits—only to regain the weight I had just lost—and usually then some.
It wasn’t until I started shifting my thoughts that I began to be able to exercise more consistently. First, I made peace with the need to exercise to maintain my health and feel physically well. Slowly and surely—with mental practice—I began to look forward to it, and eventually to actually enjoy it.
Now, my day is off big time if I don’t get my workout in. All truly is not right with the world! I enjoy moving my body and working out—and I love how good it makes me feel. And I love to sweat!
Building your mental muscles is a process, just as building your physical muscles is a process.
You first figure out your goal and create a plan to get there. There are lots of mental exercises to choose from, such as centering exercises, meditations, making lists of things you appreciate, visualizing, affirmations, journaling, and consciously shifting your thoughts on specific topics.
Just as you decide if you want to run, life weights, or do yoga, you pick what feels right to you—and what you will actually do consistently. And then decide how often and for how long. Just as with physical exercise, start off easy and build up.
With practice, you’ll begin to notice that you don’t instantly get angry when someone cuts you off in traffic, and even better, you’ll find yourself pushing yourself in your workout because it feels good and you want to.
What can you do today to exercise your mental muscles? How can you make that a consistent practice that you are just as committed to as your physical workout? What difference does that make to achieving your wellness goals?
Together we can do it!
Photo from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
It was almost exactly a year ago that I decided to become a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and began exploring what that commitment would look like. I selected the most rigorous and challenging program I could find (a minimum of 9 months and 350 hours) and set out to achieve that goal.
Yesterday I received notice from the Institute for Profession Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) that I had passed my oral exam and am now a CPC. As I look back, it has been an incredible year of personal and professional development that was more challenging and rewarding than I could have imagined.
The release and satisfaction that I feel at having successfully achieved this goal is awesome!
So while I still have a week’s worth of intense work to complete my second certification as an Energy Leadership Assessment Index-Master Practitioner, I am giving myself permission this weekend to relax and enjoy my success.
And I encourage you to do the same. Give yourself permission to relax, smile, laugh, and enjoy this weekend—and your life. Celebrate your success, whatever that may be. Pay attention to the connection between lightening up emotionally and physically.
Together we can do it!
“When you make a dieting mistake, it’s helpful to NOT use the word “cheat” because “cheating” can have very negative, sometimes moralistic undertones. If you make a mistake in dieting, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a NORMAL person.”
When you see someone falter, how does that make you feel? Does their getting back up and keep going inspire you and make you try harder? Does it fill you with glee that the person isn’t so perfect after all, and make you feel justified in not even trying? Does it just remind you that success is a process and their journey is normal for them?
Does your reaction say more about you or about the person who stumbled?
I recently had a fabulous reader tell me that they much preferred my posts where I share my faults and stumbles because they see me as perfect and intimidating and it makes them feel better.
In the past, comments like these used to really bother me. I’m so far from perfect—and don’t try to hide my imperfection—so how could anyone see me that way? This would mean to me that I needed to flay myself open even more and put all of my warts on display to show that if I can do it, anybody can.
In other words, I reacted to their reaction. (Don’t you love that I’m so normal?)
But as hard as I try, the message that “what I can do, so can you” doesn’t always gets through because a person’s response truly is about them. It may be that reader thinks everyone else has it easy and only they struggle. It may be that my faltering makes them feel better because it helps them justify why they aren’t working harder. Who knows?
The bottom line is they are looking outside of their own experience and are judging themselves by how well someone else is doing.
While that can be helpful in normalizing your experience and inspiring you to reach for greatness, more often than not, I think as a society we use any chink in someone’s armor to justify our own limitations. (Here’s a great editorial by Ashley Judd on how society judge’s people on their appearance.)
But the truth is, nobody’s journey looks the same, or follows the same path. How you do it will be as unique as you are. And your journey is perfectly normal for you. Including the stumbles, which are truly a valuable and helpful part of the process.
This was said perfectly in a recent blog from Life Coach Marta Beck where she cited “Success is the opposite of failure” as one of the “Ten Life Lessons You Should Unlearn.”
Fact: From quitting smoking to skiing, we succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is built on failure.
So what does it matter if you–or someone else—falters, or even falls? How might what you consider a stumble or failure actually be key to your ultimate success? How might you remember that success is a process and everyone’s journey is normal for them?
To create the life of your dreams, begin to only compare yourself to you. Celebrate all the successes you’ve had, and do more of that. Celebrate all the lessons you’ve learned that are helping guide you to new decisions and actions. Celebrate that you are exactly in the right place on your own journey–and allow others to be exactly in the right place, too.
Together we can do it!
Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
One of the benefits of taking on a new challenge is the opportunity to identify and clean-up limiting beliefs and other blocks to your success that absolutely will come up. The quickest way to ferret these blocks out is to pay attention to negative emotions.
When I identified a whiff of discouragement, I knew this was a fabulous opportunity to identify and shift some limiting thoughts, feelings, and beliefs so that they will better support me in achieving my goals, rather than hold me in place.
I am in week two of an 18-week challenge for Transformation Mastery. When I decided to take on this challenge, not only did I set the goal to release 10 pounds of fat and increase my nutrition and fitness level, but I also wanted to let go of lingering fear or limiting beliefs about what I can and cannot do.
My only surprise was that they showed up so quickly!
After a week-and-a-half of eating cleaner than I ever have before, and going after a new high-intensity workout program, I was shocked yesterday when I pulled on my jeans and they were tight. Sure enough, when I stepped on the scale, I was up a pound-and-a-half.
The first thing I did was go into troubleshooting mode and look at what I’ve been eating. What I found was plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and other quality protein, and complex carbohydrates. I had already replaced one cup of coffee a day with a cup of ginger-green tea, and was working on letting go of the second cup so that I would be half-and-half free. Other than adding an apple and a few strawberries here and there, I couldn’t see what the problem was.
So I added up the calories and discovered that I was actually eating between 200 and 300 calories more a day than my goal of 1,800. I wrote out a new plan for the rest of the week that would help me hit my mark and the problem seemingly was solved.
But my Gremlin, that inner critic that likes to tell people they aren’t good enough, took this opportunity to kick in. With this increase in self-criticism, I found myself really struggling with my workout this morning.
The good news is that, as my mentor coach likes to say, your Gremlin shows up when you are about to step into your greatness.
What are the thoughts that were coming up for me that were at the root of this feeling of discouragement?
- My metabolism is too slow. Maybe my body type just can’t lose weight.
- What if I get through this and there are no physical changes? I’ve been pretty public about this challenge. Won’t people think I’m a failure?
- Maybe this is the best my body can look and feel, and I should just accept it.
If left unchecked, these thoughts would lead to actions that would begin to undermine how well I would stick to my eating plan or how much I would challenge myself during workouts. What’s the point of eating clean or pushing yourself if you are only going to fail anyway?
These types of thoughts are normal. We all have doubts, fears, and worries. But the difference between people who achieve their goals and those that don’t is that they learn how to shift their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs to support them.
What are some new thoughts that I can think?
- My metabolism may be efficient, but everything I am doing can certainly kick it into a higher gear. And I have been fitter, stronger, and leaner in the past, so I absolutely can get there again.
- If I truly can get through these 18-weeks loving my body enough to consistently feed it high-energy, anabolic foods and move it with intention and intensity, then regardless of any physical changes, I will achieve my goal of being an authentic example of successful weight management, and optimal health and wellness for my clients and everyone I encounter. That’s what matters.
- If my words and actions are in alignment with my intentions, values, and beliefs and I am allowing myself to be the fullest and most authentic version of me, then it truly doesn’t matter what size I am or what my body looks like.
The emotion these new thoughts generate is confidence and renewed commitment, because for me, this isn’t about being a certain size or body shape, it’s about striving to be the best possible me that I can be.
Are your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs supporting the achievement of your goals, or holding you in place? How can you shift them to better support you? What new feelings does that generate? How does that help you achieve your goals?
Together we can do it!
Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Wellness Tip of the Day: Measure your success by how much you are enjoying the process of life leading to your goals.