What are you waiting for?
We wait. We procrastinate because we’re overwhelmed or unsure of ourselves. We bog ourselves down in perfectionism and devise plans related to “the right time to start.” And we wait for the stars to align.
We convince ourselves we aren’t ready, or we numb ourselves with busy work, online surfing, or … something to eat.
“Life is not the dress rehearsal.” – Rose Tremain
That’s one of my favorite quotes.
“What are you waiting for?”
That’s one of my favorite questions.
Here’s the thing though.
Doing is not the same as being effective.
Too often, we feel fed up with our current situation, and instead of doing what it takes to create real change, we react. We get triggered by anxiety (a frantic need to make a quick impact), and we jump back in to the same old things we’ve done in the past. The things that have created the cycle that has gotten us here in the first place.
We are hard-wired toward the familiar. When we feel urgency or anxiety, our tendency is to act as automatically as we can – and that’s by falling back into the old patterns. So, it’s extra easy to use to jump into our old, comfortable ways of attempting change (like depriving ourselves with extreme approaches or diets), or to resort to the well-worn comfort or distraction habits – like more overeating or overworking or just zoning out.
Sometimes getting started isn’t making the choice between waiting and doing what you “know” you need to do.
The truth is, if you haven’t achieved the results you want, you might be more successful if you open yourself to the possibility that you don’t yet know what you need to do.
Because the the truth is that the things you know to do haven’t worked.
Or the things you know to do haven’t happened – because these aren’t things that work for you.
The key to creating change when nothing has worked is to begin with an open mind.
Here’s what I’ve seen in my own life and in the lives of hundreds of clients.
Little things (that seem like nothing) have a surprising impact (when they are the right little things).
Sometimes the steps that we have the most disdain for (roll our eyes at) or that seem the most trivial, or that we always skip, end up being the powerful foundations for success.
If I’m stuck, it’s often because I’m stubbornly determined to move in one direction, when the answer is so close, but it isn’t waiting down the path I’m determined to take. The answer is actually a few paces to my left. I keep “starting over,” and walking right past it, because I’m looking in the wrong direction.
Taking your power back from overeating is exactly like this. I see it over and over and over again.
There are simple steps that help, and they’re probably not the ones your anxious brain is saying YOU MUST DO NOW!
There are effective strategies, but sometimes they require you to focus your mind in a direction that’s not where you might believe you need to be focused (such as focusing on things that aren’t food as the first step in making a change).
There’s a method to making peace with food and freeing yourself from overeating and emotional eating struggles – even if nothing has worked in the past. But it’s different from the familiar, reactive path your anxious brain may be telling you that “you have to take NOW!”
When you’re ready to stop waiting, struggling, or feeling like nothing has worked:
How to get started with a better path
Different and unfamiliar can be hard – even when the steps are easy. Doing things a way you aren’t used to means moving outside your comfort zone.
Begin with curiosity
Explore what you know about why you overeat.
What triggers your hunger?
What are you hungry for that isn’t food?
How might you do a better job of feeding yourself or addressing your non-food cravings?
If you want to change the way you are eating, what will you turn to in place of food? There’s a reason you eat and it’s serving you in some way.
How can you address the challenges or the barriers to success that show up in your life? What are the reasons you’ve gotten off track in the past and what do you need so it can be different this time?
These are big questions, but the answers come by taking simple steps.
Asking basic questions.
Paying attention to the answers that emerge.
Taking imperfect action and learning from what happens.
You can do this!