My bookshelf is filled with books offering the best, life-altering diets, the cure for overeating, and the secret to making peace with food. I bought my first Geneen Roth book in college, and from there, I was insatiable. I couldn’t get enough information.
I wanted to know. How could lose weight? Why was I overeating and how could I stop?
One would think that because I knew so much and I was so well read, that I must have been able to solve all of my eating problems.
Far from it. I was really good at collecting information, but I had a very hard time making a permanent change and following what the books told me to do.
If we KNOW how to make the change we need to make, why don’t we do it?
What I have come to find out for myself is that knowing just doesn’t matter. Having the information is only one small ingredient in the recipe of everlasting change. But many of us stop there and think reading that “miracle, end all be all” book will be our quick fix. You know that you feel better when you work out at least five days a week. But unless you get off your duff and get to the gym or lace up your running shoes, knowing that doesn't make any difference.
“We first make our habits and then our habits make us.” John Dryden, 1631-1700
This is the key. We must repeatedly take action until that change is who we are.
> Stop seeking and start doing. Spending time reading and following the latest fad and what others are doing can be a distraction. If you already know what to do, take one step in the direction you want to go in right now.
> Keep the change you want to make top of mind. A daily reminder and a plan in your weekly schedule will certainly help. Keep a sticky on your laptop or bathroom mirror or a reminder on your calendar.
> Drop the idea that it’s hard, painful or it’s going to take a lot of work. I’m in the process of kicking my caffeine habit. Initially, I assumed that when I’m no longer drinking my caffeinated tea or coffee that I will have a big brain fog, get a caffeine withdrawal headache, and simply feel miserable. My idea of what would happen when I kicked the caffeine habit was initially keeping me from making any change at all. Letting go of that idea made it much easier for me to begin making the switch to decaf.
> Connect the dots between the change you want to make and how it impacts your life. When I drink more water, I just feel better. I have more energy. When I sleep more, I have so much more patience with my family, and it feels so great to have more energy to do the things I love. Take a careful look at why this change you want to make matters so much to you.
> Replace perfect with your best. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Many of us want to do things perfectly or exactly as planned, but that may keep us from doing anything. Your ideal workout may be 45 or 60 minutes, but if you only have 15 minutes, that is better than nothing at all.
There will come a point when the change you want to make is no longer a change you want to make, it will be the fabric of your being. If you are not doing what you know to do, you just won’t feel like yourself. You have changed yourself forever. And you will know that for sure.