It's so much easier when there's no debate
January is full of opportunities; a new year and an opportunity for a new start (again!). But change can be hard can’t it! Diets perhaps don't last as long as you'd hoped, the new fitness regime or the gym membership may be soon forgotten and as for cutting down on alcohol.. And then there's perhaps a sense of guilt, frustration or even failure when you are unable to achieve what you set out to do.
As a coach I very often hear my clients ask themselves:
"Why do I always sabotage my diet?"
"Why can't I stick to things?"
“What’s wrong with me?”
"I just don't have the willpower"
So why do so many of us find achieving things which are within our physical control so difficult? In a nutshell we are all made up of parts, and these parts don’t always appear to want the same thing. We often refer to these parts in our everyday language:
“My head wants this, but my heart wants that”
“On the one hand I would like to..., but on the other hand…”
"Part of me wants to, but..."
Or maybe the devil and angel analogy will resonate with you!
Part of you may want to make healthier food choices, to start exercising, to stop smoking, to spend more time focusing on the things which matter to you the most, and yet another part seems to have very different ideas. This can be a constant battle, an endless stream of "should I, shouldn't I?", very often ending in “Oh stuff it!” (or words to that effect).
So why is there a part working against you? The answer will be different for everyone; perhaps a rebellious part that doesn’t want to conform, or a nurturing part that wants to help you relax, feel happy or comforted. For some it can be a protective part which might tie in with a lack of self-belief or self-worth. The parts themselves have a positive intent, but the way they go about achieving them might well be the problem.
Achieving your health related goals, whether they be to lose weight or find better ways of dealing with stress is not as simple a having willpower, and neither is it about changing who you are or what you want. It is about recognising the parts which are holding you back, understanding their positive intent (and however far fetched that might seem there will be one!), and putting them to better use.
When you get “everybody” on board, when all the parts are working towards the same goal, there is no internal debate, no battle of wills and achieving your goals will become a lot easier!