I was quite impressed by a keynote speaker a few years ago, Dr. Rosalie de Rossett. And get this. Her entire presentation, all four sessions, was scripted out. Now, her eyes weren’t glued to the pages in front of her. She easily engaged with the audience while following her script. She was a pro.
During one of her sessions, she brought it up that people often ask why she does this. I LOVED her response.
“Because words matter.”
Do they ever. And while the context, of Dr. de Rossett’s comments, was words meant for an external audience, I see them just as relevant to an internal audience of one.
I observe women thoughtlessly throwing words around that are hurtful and unhelpful. They belittle their bodies. They doubt their abilities. They think so little of their own needs.
We could all spend months or years digging into why we do this. But is it necessary? For some, yes. Having a trained therapist walk with you to heal from past trauma is a beautiful thing.
Sometimes though, the why is simply this: You have a human brain that resists change. That is trained to look for what could go wrong. That wants you to do what’s easy, avoid pain and seek pleasure. When you recognize this is what you’re up against, you can start watching your thoughts and deliberately choose to retrain your brain.
This is easier said than done, which is why coaching is so helpful. Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot said, “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities.” I have experienced this in my own life and seen it happen in the lives of my clients.
I observe most people keep trying the same thing. They think this time will be different because they’ll use more willpower. Or because circumstances have changed. But it isn’t different because it’s their brain that must change.
Let’s say you want to lose weight. Start with a simple shift to elevate your self-talk:
- Notice the unhelpful thing you say to yourself most often. Like, “I can never stick with it.”
- Shift the thought ever so slightly to “maybe I can stick with it.”
- Every time the first thought pops up, purposely replace it with your new one. Repeat the new one over and over. And over.
This is a small first step in shifting your behavior – because your behavior will always flow from your thoughts. Always.
We know for certain that we can change our brains. No doubt about it. But it’s not easy. It’s not overnight. It looks like small steps, daily, weekly, monthly, until soon you’re enjoying food, loving life and easily maintaining your ideal weight.
Yeah. That’s how it happens.
Stay tuned for a follow up post on Do Your Decisions Feel Like a Chore?