A topic we discuss quite often in my coaching group is gratitude.
Which is funny because years ago gratitude, affirmations, mantras, and goal setting are things that I used to look at as a complete waste of time. All I was interested in was following a meal plan and working out hours on end to get smaller – because back then, I equated being leaner, smaller, a certain weight and a certain size with being a “better person”. I thought that losing those last 5-10 pounds would make me happier and more confident. I thought I would get more clients and feel better about myself.
But what I haden’t figured it out yet, was that eating and exercise were just 2 very small pieces of a much bigger puzzle.
In my experience, both personally, as well as with working with hundreds of women, creating a physical change has so much to do with our thoughts and our mindset. How we talk to (and about) ourselves (and others) and how we view our circumstances.
We will all face those times when we feel like things aren’t fair or we’re not getting where we want to be fast enough. I’m sure that you’ve found yourself comparing yourself to other women at one point or another. Whether it be comparing looks, career, finances, or relationships. It’s so common and I know when I was stuck in that comparison trap, it always made me feel worse about myself. I’ve shared before that this was highest when I was competing in bikini competitions. Like I said, I thought that getting leaner and losing those last few pounds would make me feel so confident and in control. However, the complete opposite was true. The smaller I got, the bigger my perceived imperfections seemed. I started comparing and judging myself to everyone. And I would always, ALWAYS find someone who had something that I didn’t – because that was what I was focusing on, all I *thought* that I needed and didn’t have. All the ways that I wasn’t “perfect”. I literally remember being at a show and comparing my NAIL BEDS to one of the other women there. MY. NAIL. BEDS. Like, WTF?
Someone will always be leaner, stronger, prettier, have more money, a bigger ring, less wrinkles, or in a better relationship. But if we place all of our self worth on those superficial things, chances are pretty good that we’ll always be disappointed because we will always perceive someone is “better” than us. What’s even worse is that we may start to determine our own worth based on those false judgements when we are so much more than any of those things.
I attended a conference a couple months ago and we were asked to describe the TYPE of person we wanted to be.
Not the size we wanted to be. Not the weight we wanted to be. Not how many chin-ups we wanted to do – the type of PERSON we wanted to be.
My answers were:
Someone who follows through
If you would’ve have asked me 7 or 8 years ago the type of person I wanted to be, my number one answer would’ve been “A leaner person” lol and I was so stuck in searching for more information on how I could become that person. I read all the diet books…hell, I went to school for both undergrad and graduate school for Applied Exercise Science. I thought that if I just learned more, I could apply it. I kept looking for the answers. Maybe it was in this diet book, or that trainer, or the latest supplements. When I couldn’t find the answers there, I started thinking that maybe it was in competing, or training for half marathons, or running.
I was so focused on what “she” was doing. And if I could only do what she did, I would look like her…..
And when I couldn’t follow the meal plans and workouts perfectly, I beat myself up. BIG TIME. I thought that by completely disrespecting myself it would somehow motivate me to change…
Calling myself weak, not disciplined enough, fat, gross, a mess – etc…was NOT a very good motivator for change. In fact, it made me feel like garbage.
And I operated like this for a long time. Too long.
Once I started “staying in my own lane” as my client Maureen puts it (she’s a swimmer and I just love that analogy) did I start to see things differently. I started to ask myself questions like, “What do I have to be grateful for” as a way to turn my attention back where it should be – on myself. And I’m telling you, it has made a WORLD of difference.
Nothing else was different by the way. I didn’t lose weight and instantly become at peace with my body. I didn’t reach a certain goal and think, “this is it, now I’m happy”.
I simply chose to change the way I thought about things. It took practice and time, but the time and practice I put into MYSELF has been so much more valuable to me than the years I spent searching “out there” for something to fix me.
There was never a missing link, I just realized that comparing myself to others wasn’t making me feel good about myself. I chose to start paying more attention to what I had, what I was grateful for and the type of person I wanted to be.
And the kicker was that all of the things I was caught up comparing myself to other women about – didn’t matter at all. They actually had NOTHING to do with the type of person I wanted to be, and they never will.
Being a person who is patient (SUCH a work in progress), confident, hard working, kind and someone who does what she says she is going to do has absolutely nothing to do with how much I weigh, what size my jeans are, how fast I can run, if I have any wrinkles or if I make “x” amount of money.
My kids will not love me any less if I gain or lose 5 pounds.
My colleagues won’t respect me any less if I can’t do 10 chin-ups.
My friends shouldn’t care if I have wrinkles, have a big ring or drive a nice car.
And if they DO – that is their own insecurities talking and I don’t have space for that superficial crap in my life.
I can be the type of person I strive to be no matter WHAT my weight is or how much money I make. I can choose to be kind and patient and hardworking and confident by focusing my thoughts and how I act and what I bring to my relationships.
Think about the type of PERSON you want to be. Not the person you want to look like, or the weight you want to weigh on the scale. What type of PERSON do you want to be?