Andy Change is a marvelous thing most of us yearn for but secretly hate and resist. We’ve come to rely on our familiar systems of bad habits because they’ve worked to keep us where we are for so long. Change can mean discomfort, even when the move is away from bad habits into good ones. We are quirky that way.
The best way to make change is through total immersion. Learning a new language is a good example. Overwhelm, anxiety, and confusion are important markers along the path of change. Be gentle with yourself and recognize that these are a normal response to total-immersion change.
Consider yourself in kindergarten at first, and get all the help you can. Hook up with old-timers and bask in their experience and wisdom. Let them inspire and guide you as you navigate through the rough initial times.
Break down whatever needs to get done on the path of implementing a new lifestyle into small manageable tasks. When your universe is in chaos, I say straighten your sock drawer. Deal with the stuff you can in fact control; you’ll grow in competence and expand your sphere of influence. Cultivate a change-friendly attitude, which includes raising your tolerance for chaos and making mistakes, and accept a temporarily steady, higher-than-normal level of frustration. The most successful guests at Hippocrates are those who are steadfast in their approach and refuse “no” for an answer and get a raw buddy.
Antony Changes often involve challenges. We leave behind comfort zones, venture into new lifestyles, and integrate new insights and decisions based on higher priorities. If our social circles prevent us from totally following our decisions, we may have to leave them behind. If our family circles prevent us from totally practicing what we believe, we may have to quit associating our healthcare practices with theirs. But that may need to happen only in rare cases. In most situations we can be inspiring examples to our social or family circles if we can share our knowledge with others without a fanatic tone.
People get overwhelmed when they face challenges all at once. In our mind, we initiate changes one by one. We look at the various areas needing change: food, drink, exercise, environment, stress response, spiritual practices, emotional support, one at a time. We could take an inventory of what we have achieved so far and then add one more change at a time.
It is a healthy practice to visualize the positive outcomes of our lifestyle choices; it will assure us that our efforts and challenges are worthwhile. Once we are fully aware of the value of these changes, our challenges will become more manageable.
I want to eat better and take care of myself better, but I feel deprived when I do things that are good for me. What can I do about that?
Andy People hardly ever stick with anything framed in terms of deprivation. As you continue making healthful lifestyle choices, you release things that in the past helped you feel comforted. That’s not easy. Getting through this period calls for lots of encouragement, inspiration and reminders of why you are making the new choices.
Letting go of those things may require deeper work at an emotional level. Deprivation at any level often triggers a sense of loss and the grief attached to it. A guest recently refered to letting go of comfort food as losing a good source of mothering. Without doing the emotional work, the sense of deprivation will stick and the new choices and habits won’t.
Antony Feeling deprived is a perception and an interpretation that needs to be examined. Of course we do not want to feel deprived. But, is it a deprivation if we choose to have only one hundred choices of foods rather than one thousand choices which include many health challenging foods? Is it a deprivation if we choose to go to a medium sized ozonated pool rather than an Olympic sized chlorinated pool? Do we feel bad being among a handful of people spearheading a change in lifestyle? We may feel good if we shift out interpretation as one of privilege, being among a handful of conscious people.
What is the role of will power in sticking to the program?
Andy Will power only goes so far, but it’s a good starting point: the power of desire to change and make better choices is an act of will. But as with New Year resolutions, will power isn’t enough. It takes desire, perspective, education, support and rewards to achieve successful change.
Desire fuels manifestation and makes things happen, especially when coupled with passion. Get in touch with your real desire. What outcome do you really want?
Perspective means a sense of long-term vs short-term, greater good vs immediate gain. Talk to people whose points of view you respect about your situation. Get counsel you resonate with and let it be your compass. Then make your own map.
Education means learning all you can about the pros and cons of your situation and available options. Study the consequences of positive and negative actions. It’s better to walk around with light than proceed in the dark, especially if you want to avoid obstacles along the way.
Support means opening up to people and letting them be there for you, being vulnerable and not just sharing your strengths, connecting with others in a way that lightens your burden and busts the isolation coming from taking things on alone, and maybe admitting you need help in achieving your goal, which is no crime or sin. That’s why groups like Weight Watchers, AA and Alanon are so popular.
Rewards can facilitate change. Set them up wisely and remember that cheating is misusing rewards. Do the right thing and then add a treat, just like with your children or pets. Rewards offer incentives in the moment so the big picture can and does take hold. A reward system should have a beginning and an end, and the end point is when the big picture perspective takes over, where doing the right thing becomes its own reward.
Antony Motivation is what counts. Will power will increase with motivation. However, the motivation will be stronger once you can visualize the outcome in a positive way. Visualization of the outcomes of the lifestyle will help our other-than-conscious mind be motivated.
Andy Bernay-Roman is a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor providing emotional and psychological support services for Hippocrates guests since 1990. To find out more about his body-centered, deep feeling style of therapy, read his book, Deep Feeling, Deep Healing: The Heart, Mind, and Soul of Getting Well, available from the Hippocrates store, or visit his web-site www.deepfeeling.com and blog at Antony”>www.blog.deepfeeling.com.
has worked with Hippocrates guests since 1996. He draws his inspiration from Eastern and Western traditions of holistic healing and integrating knowledge and experience from psychology, philosophy and theology, in which he holds Masters degrees and doctoral course work. His work is focused on cutting-edge stress management using Hypnotherapy, Progressive Relaxation, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), Guided Imagery, Regression and the like.
Vol 29 Issue 4 Page 44