“The greatest gap in life is the one between knowing and doing.”
–Dick Biggs, author
This is a theme to which I think many women (and men) can relate. We know WHAT to do, but for God-knows-what-reason we just cannot DO it. Or at least with any type of consistency. Whether it’s eating for fat loss, working out regularly, getting into bed on time, giving up our favorite (name your treat here), etc. The list goes on.
And on top of the NOT doing, we end up BEATING OURSELVES UP because “I know what I should be doing” and so we feel bad about it. In other words, on top of the behavioral stuff, we pile on negative self-talk and we are left with overwhelming discouragement.
This is normal stuff. I happens to all of us, but the key is that if we REALLY want it to be different–be successful at consistently implementing a certain behavior–we need to look at making 2 key adjustments: first to our attitude and then to our strategy.
Yes, this is largely an attitude problem, believe it or not. First off, negative self-talk and beating ourselves about about something does not spur action, at least long term. But we think it does. Guilt and remorse felt the morning after an overindulgence might keep us from binging again THAT NEXT DAY but it doesn’t keep us from binging again in the long run, it is just makes us feel extra bad when we do. We make it mean something about ourselves–we are undisciplined, we are weak, we don’t have self-control, we are bad at this–and then we hold onto to those self-affirmations and cheat again, because, why wouldn’t we? We are undisciplined, of course! The idea is that if we decide we suck at something, then we will keep doing things to prove that we do, indeed, suck. It’s a small distinction, but our attitude is shaped by what we tell ourselves about ourselves. And beating ourselves up about not implementing or doing something “bad” just perpetuates those self-affirmations through actions. (Been a while since I got a little woo woo on you guys!! :)) But essentially, a negative attitude can be easily perpetuated. It is learned using the following: focusing only on the negative (without looking for a silver lining), seeking out ways to “prove” we are bad (mostly subconsciously), a perfectionist attitude (believe it or not), seeing successes as flukes or not acknowledging them at all and finally, not practicing gratitude.
The people who are the most successful at consistent action are the people who simply have DECIDED to ADOPT the attitude that if they put their mind to something and work hard, they can achieve it. This positive attitude is learned as well. Several things can affect our attitude without us even knowing. For those who have a more positive attitude, they use the following to develop it: using past successes as affirmations, using past failures as feedback for learning, resiliency, gratitude and open-mindedness. Positive people also understand that in order to create the change they want, they have to be the ones to do it. In other words, no one can do it for you. Though it can be scary, it is also good news because it means you can now own your power, control and create your life how you want it to be, since you know it has nothing to do with anyone else.
So as you can see, there is a lot more to it than the old “glass is half full” trick but to start adjusting your attitude, you have to begin to PRACTICE the following: gratitude, self-love, being gentle with yourself (and others), knowing that if you don’t succeed, it is not the end of the world and in fact, a mistake or failure is an opportunity for growth, and ultimately resiliency. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have bad days or don’t get stressed at times, it simply means that on the whole, you are a positive force in the world, you believe in others and you believe in yourself at your core. You use positive affirmation, even when times get tough.
“Most people fail in the starting.”
The second part of this is the strategy. Once the right attitude is in place, a lot of the actionable items fall into place naturally. But, here are some keys to think about:
Start at a high level. Think about your purpose, vision and core values. I like to ask myself, if my name where a brand :), what are the words or phrases that I want people to associate with my brand. Here are JillFit’s 5 core values:
1) Results-based approach
2) Positivity over negativity
3) Introspection along the journey
4) Self-acceptance without resignation
5) Always be kind and accessible
If I am doing a good job, then all the material, content, online presence and products I put out will reflect these values and customers or clients or anyone we come in contact with feel these things off of me. It also means that I will not put out energy in line with the opposite of these things: negativity, “hating”, “rants”, negative self-talk, being rude or “better than”, etc etc. I have simply MADE THE DECISION to act in line with my core values. What are your 5 words or phrases?
Next, break down your goals into 2 or 3 big things you want to accomplish and do regularly. Then take each one of those and “chunk it up” into smaller, achievable pieces. Breaking monstrous tasks into smaller pieces allows for us to experience small successes along the way to build momentum and positive affirmation.
Finally, just get started with SOMETHING. This is often the hardest part. We feel like we need more answers or more affirmation or more clout or more things in line before we can go. And often times we are scared to start. What if it doesn’t work? What if I end up a failure again? What if no one believe in me or supports me? Self-doubt is a success killer. It is natural to doubt, but if we believe we can’t do it, then we will never take the first step. Though starting doesn’t guarantee you will succeed, not starting guarantees you will not move past the status quo.
So stop waiting. There will never be a perfect time. Realize that there will always be bumps in the road, but you now know that you can choose to view those bumps positively or negatively. They can fuel you forward (resiliency) or knock you back down–the good news is that YOU get to decide.
Related: Where is your head at?