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Taking Control of My Thoughts

Today, I’m going to be real with you, dear readers! I’m currently frustrated with my weight loss journey. I’m halfway to goal, and I’m sitting here in my frustration rather than working the plan. This is what happens to us in life so often. We have a goal that we’re working toward, but somewhere along the way, we get distracted, take our eyes off the ultimate goal, and we lose track of what we want so badly. For me, and probably many of you, I rationalize by saying something like, “Well, smart people just get bored easily and get stale in a routine …” It’s a great all-purpose excuse because it somehow seems reasonable to me, but when I’m forced to confront it, I realize the ridiculousness of the statement. In reality, smart people focus and get to work when the job gets tough; we don’t backtrack simply because we’ve lost motivation.

Somewhere along the way, our culture has decided that we need to find our motivation, also widely known as our passion and/or our Muse, in order to be inspired enough to achieve the difficult things in life. This is an unfortunate lie. It’s so easy to believe because we know how good that motivation feels and how productive we can be when we have it, but motivation doesn’t come first. Motivation is merely a feeling. Passion is a feeling. They come not from some divine inspiration but from a thought that we generate in our minds. When we lose our motivation, it’s because we have replaced that original thought with a new one that doesn’t create motivation. For me, I think it’s something like, “I’m bored with only eating when I’m hungry. I deserve to eat when I want to eat.” That is definitely not a thought that inspires feelings of motivation around weight loss!

The thought, “I’m bored with eating only when I’m hungry” is an easy one for my brain to conjure up because that thought has been the pattern for many years. It was fun to replace it with, “I’m excited about losing weight!” at first, but after a while, the reality of how boring it is to lose weight settles in (we just stop putting food in our mouths; am I right?!?) and my brain doesn’t get as excited as it did at first. The novelty wears off as my brain falls back into its old patterns instead of doing the work to think the new thought, and my feelings quickly follow suit. Unfortunately, my actions are right behind those feelings! It’s a quick trip from saying I’m bored to stuffing something in my mouth, and BOOM, my motivation is in the crapper.

The key to creating feelings of motivation goes back to our thoughts. Research has shown that we can quickly change our feelings by simply reframing our thoughts. In one study, people who were feeling anxious were taught to repeat the phrase, “I’m feeling excited” each time they felt the anxiety creeping in. Most of the participants reported feeling better after only a few times of reframing their feelings of anxiety and speaking the new thought aloud. So today, I’m reframing my thoughts of boredom. Instead, I’m choosing to think that I am in control of my feelings, and I choose to feel in control of my weight loss. What thoughts do you need to reframe today? Much love!

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