The biggest mistake I ever made was thinking someone else could tell me exactly what action steps to take to lose weight, eat right, or be successful. I had a library of self-help and diet books that I would study and try to mimic the “action plans” they contained in every way possible. The final straw was the recipe for dessert in The South Beach Diet that was plain ricotta cheese mixed with vanilla extract. Gag me.
Every magazine, every diet book, every business book I read emphasized action. If I just followed the “blueprints” that the brilliant authors outlined I would lose weight, make more money, and have a perfect life. If I could just make myself become a carbon copy of the authors then all would be well and I would have what I wanted.
Your action steps and success are unique to you
The trouble was, I couldn’t get through three days of someone else’s action plan without failing and then giving up completely because I didn’t do it perfectly. When I gave up, I just turned to the next book as if it would be different than the last. As if I would be able to follow the next action plan. Not realizing that it is impossible to mimic someone else completely, and I was missing out on the best thing I had going – my own way of problem solving. The answers were inside of me already. Yes, I learned a lot from other people’s actions and how to adapt them for my own life and eating habits, but I was missing the actual key to change.
The key to change
Before I could act in the way I wanted to act, my thoughts and beliefs had to change. My mindset was where I was blocked, not my knowledge of “what to do.” Because my beliefs about my body and my life didn’t support my action steps, I kept bumping up against resistance that made healthier action steps impossible to take.
Changing your mindsets and beliefs is hard work, but it’s much different than trying to follow the Cabbage Soup Diet for a week (which is truly impossible). It’s about looking at the places in your life that cause you pain, where you feel out of control (usually in your job or your relationships) and dealing with your thoughts about the areas that feel out of control. When you start taking a look at your painful thoughts and the emotions that they cause and deliberately changing them, you free up the energy to take better action steps for your health and life and you wonder how you ever struggled with it.
Action is important. Focusing on it as the agent of change is not. To change our actions permanently we have to change our thoughts first. It’s a simple concept that I teach all of my clients, and they find it challenging, complex, freeing and infinitely more effective than picking up someone else’s perfect action plan for their life and trying to follow it.
What’s really behind our actions
Behind every action is an emotion or feeling that you’ve felt many many times and usually act on in the same way. Think about the last time you were sad. How did you act? What did you do or not do with that feeling? What caused you to be sad in the first place was a thought or belief that you had, so to shift your actions you have to shift your thoughts first. Read that again.
In order to change anything in your life you have to change your thoughts about that part of your life first.
To get you started shifting your thoughts and changing your action steps, I’m offering you a free coaching worksheet I developed on setting an intention. Remember, intention is about mentally determining your action steps. It’s the first place to start when you want to change. And if you’re ready for change, then it’s time to get going. Just click here to download your worksheet.
Janelle Holden is a gluten-free adventuress, body tamer, and mindset maven who helps people grab control of their diets and fully embrace their lives. To get free recipes, coaching, news, and more from Janelle delivered to your in-box click here to sign up for her e-zine: Gluten-Free Notes.