In today’s episode, I step back from stories about my past and speak to a little about my current stories. I talk about goals and how we must feel uncomfortable to reach them. But our brain doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable. There is a part of our brain that is solely focused on keeping us alive (comfortable). I give a few thought exercises to get you actually reaching your goal.
I have not eaten chocolate of any kind since December 31st, 2018.
That’s 95 days including today.
For a 2019 stretch-goal, I decided to go chocolate-free for the entire year.
This is kinda a big deal.
Americans are addicted to sugar. I am addicted to sugar, and especially chocolate.
I’ve gone without chocolate once in the past for up to 4 months to cure some newborn baby tummy issues when I was nursing, but it has been infinitely easier this time. Other than that one time, I rarely have gone without chocolate for more than a day or two.
So what is different this time?
This time I used the power of identity.
I just told myself “I am not a chocolate eater in 2019.”
And voila! Very few cravings, and it has been- dare I say it– EASY.
James Clear talks about this in his new book Atomic Habits:
“Behavior that is incongruent with the self will not last. You may want more money, but if your identity is someone who consumes rather than creates, then you’ll continue to be pulled toward spending rather than earning. You may want better health, but if you continue to prioritize comfort over accomplishment, you’ll be drawn to relaxing rather than training. It’s hard to change your habits if you never change the underlying beliefs that led to your past behavior. You have a new goal and a new plan, but you haven’t changed who you are.” (pg 32)
At the time I made the goal, I had an inkling about the power of identity shifts, but I had never put it into action in my own life.
And I have been thoroughly surprised by how quick and deep this shift has been.
I don’t think it is quick and easy every time for every person, but it is worth a try if you have been struggling with a habit for a while.
Laura Tremaine’s most recent 10 Things to Tell You podcast episode talks about connecting with your body. She discussed “the miracle of our bodies and what makes us come truly alive” with her pilates instructor. This podcast episode spurred in me some reflection about WHY we should connect with our bodies.
I identified three “problems” that keep us from connecting with our bodies. I am sure there are many more, but this is a bird’s-eye view:
We are taught that our bodies are magnificent creations and we should be grateful for them, receiving a body is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan, yet when we are talking about our bodies, we often focus on what is wrong.We do not truly embrace our bodies as a gift from God.
We are numbing ourselves– disconnecting ourselves– from our bodies, because we think it will make us feel better. But it generally has the opposite effect.
Many adult women do not have any activity in which they feel true joy in their bodies. This is a problem because emotion is a vibration in our bodies. If we are to feel true joy in this life, it is going to happen in our bodies, not in our heads.
We don’t recognize that our emotions come from our thoughts. In our culture we are taught that our feelings come from outside of us, specifically other people.
Feeling the emotions and sensations in our bodies is THE way to getting the results we want in our lives. I’m not just talking about fitness goals, but EVERY goal. Our emotions drive our actions which bring results. So often we think we are feeling the emotions but really we are just thinking thoughts that feel awful.
So how do we overcome these problems? Here are some ideas:
Participate in an activity that brings you genuine joy. Like a butterfly sensation in the pit of your stomach. Children are great at this: swings, trampolines, bike riding, finger painting, rollercoasters, etc. It doesn’t have to be complicated. (One suggestion is sex, if it is fun for you.)
When you have an emotion– good or bad– let yourself feel it. Where is it in your body? What does it feel like? Use as many adjectives as possible. Don’t resist or run away from it. Just sit in the emotion.
Be grateful for your body and what it can do. Write a list of every little way your body has been a blessing to you. Dig deep here if you feel embarrassment or shame around your body.
Pay attention to when you engage in any activity to distract yourself or numb yourself from feeling something. This could be snacking or overeating, scrolling social media, sleeping, TV watching. Can you just feel the feeling instead? Remember it is just a vibration in your body.
We need to get into our bodies and feel our feelings if we want to obtain a fulness of joy in this life. AND a fulness of joy requires a fulness of sorrow. This is how our capacity is expanded.
I hope you found this thought provoking or helpful in some way. If you would like help getting into your body and feeling your emotions, I would be honored to partner with you. Click this link for a free 45 minute consultation: calendly.com/denitabremercoaching