The first step in any change process is to get clear about what it is you want to change and why. This is the first thing I ask coaching clients even before we schedule our first session. Not only does screen those who aren’t really serious about getting help, but it helps develop a functional awareness of the very reality we are seeking to change. For quite simply:
Without a clear appreciation for what’s true now,
there can be no skillful way to go about changing it.
So if we apply this all to, say, the goal of losing weight, it all comes down to getting “real” or honest with yourself. It’s about dropping the story that you’re a somehow a victim of bad genes– or even bad habits over which you have no control– and instead, finally taking responsibility for the changes you wish to bring about.
It’s the same with any change you wish to make, or goal you wish to achieve. To paraphrase Tony Robbins: first you have to see things as they are. Not worse than they are, mind you. But you must be willing to admit what’s true now. And then you need to be able to envision things way better than they are, and really let yourself get excited about what’s possible.
The bigger the dream, the bigger the motivation to achieve it. But you have to really believe it’s possible. If you don’t, you’ll never make much of an effort, and as a result, most certainly fail. Let me explain.
Whenever we are about to do anything, especially something new and challenging, what we believe about our efforts and abilities determines a great deal about our success, not the least of which is whether we will even try to begin with. Our beliefs are like powerful subprograms in our brain that shape all that we see and do in life. And our beliefs become so ubiquitous to our experience that we seldom question them, at least not in any real way.
So “getting real” is not only about getting clear about what you want and how you’re going to achieve it, but it’s also about stepping out of the self doubt or cynicism that causes you to delay your efforts, or compromise your vision in some way. And if there is one thing that is for certain when it comes to weight-loss (or any other health improvement initiative) it is this:
If you doubt it’s possible to change, or if you doubt your own willingness to do what’s necessary, you’ll either never muster the effort to start, or you’ll quickly cut back on your effort when it’s needed most.
We’ve all heard it said that “diets don’t fail. Dieters do”. The truth is, die DO fail and for a good reasons– deeply personal and compelling reasons, that unfortunately most people trying to lose weight are rarely conscious of. And it’s why the Strategic Intervention approach I take can be so effective. It’s all about expanding a person’s resources to actively choose new behaviours for a new result.
Many of the limiting beliefs that hold us back the most would be rendered ridiculous and quickly dismissed if ever examined consciously. In fact, that, in a nutshell, is what a personal “break-through” in coaching is all about. I mean, to really see a choice is, quite literally, to own the capacity to finally be free to change things –IF we really want to.
Awareness brings choice; choice brings freedom.
Quite simply, only when we see we have a choice, do we really have one. Until then, we’re mostly running on old, well worn patterns. But the more we see, or can be supported to see our power to break pattern and actively behave in new ways, change is not only possible: It’s inevitable! Not only that, we can actually condition new habits that will guide us just as effortlessly as our old ones did, but this time, to a better end, an end we chose consciously.
Now, if all this “conscious choosing” starts to sound a little exhausting, don’t worry. Just trust that whatever awareness you have now is already doing a lot of the work for you. In fact, the more you turn your attention towards awareness itself, the more choice-points you’ll actually see, and the more prepared you’ll actually be to show up and make clear decisions.
It’s not exactly magic, but it ends up being a whole lot easier than holding out for some magical solution to solve a problem that deep down, you know you behaved yourself into. That’s the crucial first step. The next step is simply to commit to a plan of action that can really take you there.