There's this human condition to stay in situations and lifestyle pattens that are causing misery and tons of pain…
Or are mediocre but not fulfilling…
Or are satisfying but it clearly could be BETTER.
I’m sure you can relate in one way or another.
There’s an unsatisfying or dysfunctional relationship you stay in, a job that sucks your soul, or you have daily routines that are self-destructive and you can't seem to figure out how to switch to behaviors that you know will help you feel how you WANT to feel:
What keeps coming up for me in seeing these different situations is:
The Pain of Changing (Fear of the Unknown) is Greater Than the Pain of Staying Put
Otherwise you’d do it.
You’d get out of the relationship.
Quit the job.
Hire the coach.
Take the risk of investing time and money in your health and happiness.
You’d do what it takes to create a life that you are madly in love with.
Madly in love with your body.
Madly in love with your career/mission.
Madly in love with your finances.
Madly in love with your relationships.
Yet somehow, most people have to hit rock bottom.
Or have some kind of wake-up call that makes them realize that changing WILL actually bring them LESS pain and MORE pleasure.
The thing is, gorgeous?
You can escalate, elevate, and experience the life you were BORN to live.
Without needing to hit rock bottom.
I was flipping through Awaken The Giant by Anthony Robbins recently. My brother (with whom I am hand-in-hand on this personal growth journey) gave me this book many years ago. It’s a GIANT book that I’ve read and re-read, and done the exercises and has profoundly impacted me and propelled me to grow.
Tony's message is: everything we do, we do to either as a need to avoid pain, or a desire to gain pleasure.
And here’s a quote that jumped out at me while flipping through it:
So what do we do?
We RECONDITION ourselves—
Our minds and emotional patterns-
To what we link pain and pleasure to.
By doing so, we change our behaviors.
How do we do this?
We move ourselves away from we believe will lead to pain.
So let’s do some changing together.
Start Here. Get out a piece of paper or a journal.
Write down the following:
1.) What have you been resisting doing or changing?
2.) What kind of pain do you associate with doing this?
3.) What pleasure do you get by NOT doing it?
4.) What will it cost you if you DON’T change now?
5.) Write down in juicy emotional detail all the pleasure you will receive by taking the action.
It Might Look Like This:
1.) Things I’ve been resisting taking action on:
- Exercise/Physical Activity
- Up-leveling my diet
- Figuring out what’s going on with my gut/hormones/weight
2.) Why Haven’t I Done This? What Pain Have I linked to Taking this Action?
- I’m afraid of deprivation
- The “pain” of making time
- The physical discomfort that comes with exercise
- The “pain” of figuring out how
3.) Pleasure I’ve gotten from indulging this negative pattern:
- Eating sugar and other inflammatory foods gives me instant pleasure
- Surfing Facebook or watching TV feels more pleasurable than exercise
- I’m staying in my familiar comfort zone
4.) What it will cost if I DON’T Change Now? (Over the next 2, 3, 5 years?) What will it cost in terms of physical energy level? Cost you emotionally? Cost you financially or cost you in terms of your self-esteem?
- I will continue to have low energy, brain fog, anxiety
- Doing things I love will continue to become more difficult
- My relationships and work will suffer
- It will cost me my ability to parent and be a role model for my child
- It could lead to disease and increased health care costs down the road
- I will feel as though I’m missing out on living to my fullest potential
5.) Write Down all the Pleasure You’ll Receive Making These Actions Right NOW.
- I’ll gain a new level of self-confidence
- I’ll feel incredible in a fit and healthy body
- I’ll feel in control
- I’ll increase skills that I can use in other areas of my life
- My relationships will be strengthened
- I will have a newfound love of life
- I will be an inspiration to others
- I’ll have energy and focus to perform well at work and be able to do things I love
Now that you’ve written out your list, RECONDITION yourself to link the behaviors you’ve been resisting by focusing on the PLEASURE you’ve listed in question 5.
What You Focus On, EXPANDS.
One of many reasons I love mindfulness is the part of self-inquiry that comes with it.
The more self-aware I become, the better able I am at identifying when there’s resistance and why.
I can feel where it lives in my body, and how it produces itself in the forms of thoughts and long-held beliefs.
I then get to CHOOSE.
An example: there was a time when I believed that exercise was painful…. but like any discipline, it started as something I dreaded but knew that afterwards I’d be glad I did it, so I learned how to link it to pleasure.
It eventually became a routine, and I have found forms of movement I LOVE.
Now when I’m on a run, or dancing or doing yoga or a tabata workout….I do it not only for the way I feel at the end with the endorphin release, increase in energy and mental clarity….but I also actually enjoy the feeling of moving my body.
I have reconditioned my nervous system and now link exercise to feelings of vitality.
So I crave it.
This exercise was also powerful when I was struggling with compulsive eating behaviors that felt larger than me and were causing loads of pain (a story that deserves its own post 😉
Over to YOU:
What are you resisting?
How are you linking pain to it?
How can you recondition yourself to link pleasure to it?
p.s. I work with a limited number of driven women & men who are ready to create a thriving & intuitive relationship with food and their bodies so they can feel healthy, energized and confident to play full out in their lives.