I want to share with you something that I have felt burdened about lately. I have felt this burden when talking to with clients who want to change their eating, handling stress, or other habits. I have heard them say, “I just need to get more motivation to withstand_______” or “I just need to decide to ________.” It’s that idea that I just need to muster enough motivation and then I will be able to eat healthier, draw solid lines with my kids, or exercise more. We think it’s a measure of strength for us to be able to sit face the face with the thing we are trying move away from and resist it.
If I am adult enough, I will be able to walk around with a chocolate cake strapped to my back and not eat the whole thing. Or if I am adult enough I can let my child scream at me for hours without giving in to their wants. Umm…NO! MAKE IT EASIER!
The truth…We do need to want the change. It has to be worth it to us to change. The lie…we should be able to just have enough motivation to sit next to the thing we are trying not to do and say “no.” Why are we putting pressure on ourselves to have enough motivation, willpower, and self-control to not eat the candy that is sitting in front of us,when we could make it easier on ourselves by putting safe guards in place. Why not move the candy so it is harder to get to? I was sitting in a meeting not long ago and one of the other coaches said that he works with his clients to help them see ways they can make the changes they want easier on themselves. Rather then being governed by shoulds or a standard to live up to. Make it Easier!
Why not recognize the obstacle and meet yourself where you are at? Why not just take another route home if you are tempted to stop off at your favorite fast food on the way home, instead of telling yourself you should be strong enough to withstand it. We wouldn’t tell an alcoholic that he should be able to sit in a bar without drinking, so why are we going out to our favorite restaurant with the expectation that we won’t order our favorite dish which we shouldn’t have today.
What can you do to make that thing you want to change easier? What can you do to give yourself an easy win? Here are some things to think about:
1)What system can I put in place so I don’t have to face my temptation head on?
2)How can I eliminate obstacles such as time to make my goal more doable?
3)How can I utilize the support of others to make this easier on myself?
4)Is there an incentive that I need to put into place to help myself achieve this goal?
Let me give you some examples of how this plays out.
1)Problem: Having difficulty staying away from all of the unhealthy snacks in the lunch room at work. Solution: Ask a coworker who does well at avoiding these or one that has the desire to avoid them to hold you accountable.
2)Problem: Getting up in the morning before the kids to exercise. Solution: Wear your workout clothes as your pajamas to bed. Decide that you and your husband will get up together in the morning to workout. Turn on the lights in the house, get the music going.
3)Problem: Telling my child or grandchild at the store that they can’t have something. Solution: Don’t take your child shopping with you or avoid the aisles where they beg.
4)Problem: Not having the time or motivation to incorporate healthy eating into each day. Solution: Plan ahead for the week. Scope out and buy healthy foods in the grocery store that are partially prepared or easy to make. Make a meal plan. Prepare some foods ahead of time so they are easy to put in your lunch. Make a list of the healthy restaurants for when you do eat out.
5)Problem: I feel like I need to have sweets in the house for the kids and I want them sometimes too. Solution: Prepackage sweets into serving size packages. Put them in a place that isn’t easy to get to. And honestly, kids don’t “need” sweets any more than you do. It’s not bad to minimize these in your house.
These are just a few examples. However, this is a really important question to ask yourself when you are finding obstacles to the lifestyle changes or goals that you really want. What can you do to make it easier on yourself? You don’t have to prove yourself worthy by facing the challenge head on and defeating it. Make It Easier!!