Was there a learning curve in the beginning? Did you have to do this for a while to get to the level of skill that makes you confident in your ability? Or maybe it came naturally to you and you have always been good at it. Maybe you took lessons at some point to expand your natural ability.
If you stopped doing this thing for a period of 5 years, are you confident you could pick it back up and do well at it again? Rate your level of confidence on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being absolutely sure you could always do this thing well.
Since we started with something you do well, I’m going to assume you gave yourself a confidence level of 8 or higher. If not, go back and think of something that you are more confident about. Now, just resonate with that feeling of confidence. Notice everything about yourself as you think about your ability. Is your body relaxed? Are you breathing easier? Did a smile pop onto your face? Or maybe you got excited thinking about this skill or activity! Maybe you have an adrenaline rush and a desire to go out and do whatever this is again, right now!
Did your day just get a little better? Is your outlook suddenly more optimistic? Notice absolutely everything about what this feeling of confidence brings to you. Write it all down. Capture it for yourself so you have a reminder of what this experience of confidence is for you. Because keeping this feeling alive is your number one daily goal and I want it to feel so good, and be so memorable, that you’ll do anything in the world to have this feeling where managing your weight is concerned!
Right now, I’m hearing a chorus of objections! But that was easy! Weight is hard! I loved doing that and learning that! I don’t love losing/gaining weight! You don’t understand how hard it is for me to reach a weight goal! I’ve never been successful at maintaining my weight! With my health/mobility issues, it’s harder for me! Did I miss any? I know most of them because I’ve thought, said, and believed all of these things at some point in my life. Please, feel free to add yours to the mix because right here is where the learning curve starts!
In my opinion, the number one block to reaching and/or maintaining a weight goal is our lack of confidence that we can do it. We have a belief that it’s different for us, it’s harder for us, or we have this physical condition that gets in the way. We use these beliefs to keep justifying our failures. We argue for our limitations using the fact that we’ve tried and failed before as all the evidence we need that we can’t do it.
Here’s a wake-up call. Let’s say you are an accomplished musician. Everything you’ve just said is the same for a person who has no problem with their weight, but who can’t play an instrument. They’ve tried and failed. It’s harder for them because they have no natural ability. They don’t have time. The truth is they lack the confidence that, with enough practice, they could learn to play.
As to anything being a labor of love, when we’re talking about ourselves, don’t we want that to be a labor of love? Don’t we want to treat ourselves and our bodies to the absolute best life has to offer? Don’t we want the most joy, the tastiest food, the best clothes, the happiest times with the people we love? This is a labor of love! It’s self-love. So, how do we make the process feel better? How do we find the confidence to say, ‘Yes, I can do this!”
Well, it starts with self-talk. Every time we tell ourselves this is too difficult or my health issues are too much to overcome, we undermine our own confidence. And yes, I’m very deliberately repeating myself. It’s not by chance that I’m circling back to self-talk. My book starts with self-talk, these blogs start with self-talk, my class starts with self-talk and that’s because everything starts with what we tell ourselves.
Negative reinforcement brings about negative results. Positive reinforcement encourages and motivates and inspires a desire in us to keep reaching for our goals. So, we have to give ourselves the gift of being our own best cheerleader! We can learn by our own example of the confidence we have in the things we do well. Let’s use those things we’re good at as an example for encouraging ourselves to keep going. If we give ourselves some positive reinforcement, we can’t help but gain confidence in reaching our weight and life goals.
Another way to build confidence is to get help. We don’t have to do it all alone. Maybe we take a class or we read a book. We get a teacher, we watch a demonstration, we get an accountability partner, or we join a support group.
We’ve been told so often that “all it takes is will power,” or “it’s simple, just expend more calories than you take in.” These platitudes make it seem like maintaining our weight should be some skill we are born with and we shouldn’t need help. But it’s more complex than that because it involves our self-esteem, our life experiences, and our feelings. Math is just addition and subtraction and we all have fingers and toes, so we should be able to do simple math. But math is more complex than that and it’s no shame to use a calculator or computer or a spreadsheet. We think it’s normal to take a class to learn algebra, geometry or calculus. Why not find it normal to take lessons in how to stay positive, how to turn our negative self-talk around, and how to build the confidence necessary to reach our weight goals?
So, tune into that confident feeling. Practice feeling it as often as possible. Bring it back up and resonate in that feeling, just like you did when you read the first part of this blog. The more often you experience that feeling of accomplishment and skill, the more that feeling will become a regular part of your life. You’ll do whatever it takes to feel it!
So, go right now and put a note on your mirror, or on your desktop to remind yourself that you are able to do anything you set your mind to. The next time you have a choice to make where your body is concerned, step into that confidence and make a choice that makes you smile and brightens up your day!