Making lifestyle and behavior changes can be difficult. There are many things you consciously and subconsciously do to sabotage your progress towards your goals. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It is possible to overcome barriers to change for your best life!
The great news is that once you identify your barriers to change, you can make progress towards your ultimate desires and live the life you truly
Have you ever hear the term Neuroplasticity? Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, or neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout your life. When you use the tools, that I’ll get into momentarily, new patterns can be created in your brain in as little as 21 days!
At some time or another, we struggle with barriers to success that take the form of negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. Have you ever said to yourself (or out loud) “No matter how hard I try I can’t lose weight,” “I hate exercising, I’m no good at it, “My parents were fat and riddled with health problems, so were my grandparents, so are my siblings, so, of course, I am too.”
In order to get passed the negative self talk its essential to identify the outside events or messages that planted the seed for your internal dialogue. Your limiting beliefs create a distance between the present and future goals.
According to basic psychology, we all come into the world as whole, complete, connected individuals. ie; no barriers! But, then life happens and limiting beliefs creep in to form healthy or unhealthy behaviors.
These limiting beliefs heavily determine your relationship with food and exercise. By understanding your internal dialogue, you can break through the barriers that are holding you back from your ultimate goal. What limiting believes do you hold?
Here are a few questions to ask to help you move past limiting beliefs:
- What thoughts do I need to let go of
- Are their other thoughts that can take its place
- If I was living my best life, what would it look like?
- The beliefs I want to ascribe to, apart from other people’s or society’s expectations are?
Embrace New Stories
In order to make changes, you must remove the limiting beliefs from your daily thoughts. Here are a few ways you can embrace new stories you’d like to believe about yourself, instead.
10 Minutes of Visualization Every Day
- Spend 10 minutes each day visualizing and/or journaling about the life and health you want for yourself.
- BE SPECIFIC! How does this vision make you feel? Living in that feeling for 10 minutes each day is a powerful motivator for change!
Make a Solid Commitment
One way to remove your barriers us to truly commit to your health vision and celebrate the small changes you have made so far and continue towards that goal. Tell yourself, “I enjoy my wellness efforts, I feel better, and my body is responding to the positive changes .”
Also, learn to detach emotionally from your limiting beliefs such as “I am not losing weight” or “I will never look the way I want to”. Be aware of these thoughts and then redirect your focus towards your goals.
Mantras may seem corny, but they really do work. It’s in part because of brain functioning. For something to get lodged in our brains, it seems it has to be the shock of major trauma (barriers) or the consistency of daily input. Here we are focused on positive daily input.
It’s worth the daily effort to rewire old neuropathways. Do you want to keep living with the same videotape running through your head, or do you need a new script to live the life you want?
Examples of Mantras
- Every day in every way I am getting healthier and stronger.
- All the cells in my body are returning to their perfect original blueprint. I am energetic, vigorous, and full of health and vitality.
- Each action I take moves me towards improved health I am a perfect example of fitness and health.
- I reward myself with improved health every day.
A key element to your internal change is belief. If you believe you can make a change, you’re much more likely to be successful at it.
As much as you want to change if you think that you won’t change because you are incapable of accepting or sticking to the necessary new behaviors to do so, you’re sabotaging yourself from the start. You’re consciously putting the barrier in the way of your goal. You can never be successful with this mindset.
However, if it’s your belief that you have what it takes to show up on a daily basis, accomplish the task you’ve set out to complete, and let that momentum take you to levels of health you desperately want. You’ve got this!
Outcome expectations: the “expectations about the outcomes that will result from one’s engaging in a behavior.”
Self-Efficacy expectations: the “expectations about one’s ability to engage in or execute the behavior.”
Outcome expectations can come into play when you get stuck in thinking, that nothing—not even the most extensive and smart lifestyle change—will help keep away disease. You fully expect to succumb to it. For example, you may think that you will inherit your parents’ diabetes or high blood pressure.
With this type of thinking you get stuck in that negative expected outcome. Culturally, we’ve come to believe that disease is normal and anticipate developing one or more significant health conditions as we get older. Too many people these days resign themselves to a life of ill health, chalking it up to “aging.” It just isn’t true!
However, it’s the self-efficacy expectations that may be undermining you most. You may not doubt the process but still, doubt YOUR ability to do what is needed for you to have what you truly desire.
When you choose to change your lifestyle you may face more external barriers than those following a more traditional, mainstream weight loss program.
With any new lifestyle change especially where diet (the foods you eat) is concerned you may feel like you don’t have access to the foods you need? It is common in the beginning to feel this way because you’ve probably never thought so much in detail about it. There are so many resources you will discover throughout your lifestyle journey.
Some great options are farmer’s markets, Food Coops, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Lazy Acres, Amazon Fresh, Thrive Market, ButcherBox, and local CSA shares. I bet you’ll find the ones that work for you!
Lack of support
Your commitment to health is personal however there’s always a social dimension to be aware of. When you start making new, healthy choices you may feel isolated from friends, family, or coworkers who are not on the same path. You don’t need to defend yourself to others or cave into social pressure that no longer fits your goals. If weight loss is your ultimate goal you may find this article helpful.
Be light-hearted in your approach to your new lifestyle to relieve pressure around others. If you don’t make a big deal out of it, over time your friends and family won’t either. They will accept and hopefully, appreciate your new lifestyle, especially if it rubs off on them!
In your conversations with others, try focusing on these two things.
- Your enthusiasm for your new lifestyle choices and the joy they bring.
- Honor your choices and refrain from telling others what to do. People really hate that.
The tools I have shared can help you identify some of the barriers that are keeping you from reaching your goals. With this new knowledge, you can actively work to remove them and focus on optimal health and wellbeing.
You are not alone in making these changes. I am here guiding and help you build a network to support you along your journey.
It’s ok to feel a little overwhelmed but remember, with time, consistency, and perseverance old patterns and behaviors are changeable. It’s all about progress, not perfection.
I love the saying “base hits win the game”.