I'm curious...If you have spent the last few years taking care of other people and other responsibilities besides yourself, and you have now reached your forties or fifties or even sixties and beyond, and realized your health and wellbeing needs some attention...do you believe you can make the changes necessary?
If you haven't exercised in a very long time, do you believe you can exercise now?
If you have have gained weight over the past few years, do you believe you can make the dietary and activity level changes now to reach a healthy weight?
If you haven't walked, do you believe you can walk now? If you haven't run, do you believe you can run now? If you haven't prepared healthy meals before, do you believe you can learn to eat healthier foods now?
I'm asking because this is a really important question to ask yourself. What do you believe you can (or can't) do? Before you do anything else, you have to answer that one basic question, because how you answer is going to affect everything you do from now on.
If you think you can't do something, guess what? You're right! But the opposite is also true. If you think you can do something, then...you can!
That's the power our mind has over our actions. It all comes down to mindset.
A few months ago, I believed I couldn't run. I did believe I could walk. So I walked. Then I read about the run-walk-run method. And I told myself, "I think I can run for 15 seconds." Because 15 seconds is not so much, right? So the next time I went for a walk, I tried it. Was I scared? Yes, because I hadn't run in years - not since I was a teenager in physical education classes! But I believed I could do it. And guess what? I was right. I amazed myself when my feet broke into a run for 15 seconds. I did it! I felt like a million bucks! Just because I ran for 15 seconds.
So am I running marathons now? Nope. I can run for about 2 minutes total now, at a slow jog, without being totally winded. But I am improving. And, I signed up for and successfully completed my first run/walk 5K. All because I decided to believe that I could run.
When you tell yourself that you can't do something, whatever that something happens to be, your mind is setting up a "limiting belief." In other words, your mind is creating a limitation for you based upon what it believes. You can remove the limits by changing what your mind believes it can do.
How can you change your limiting beliefs?
I'm glad you asked!
1. Start by asking a good question. We are always asking ourselves questions and then answering ourselves. If you ask yourself the question, "Why can't I lose weight?" your mind will try to give you an answer, and most of the time, it's not a very empowering answer, either. But if you ask yourself a better question like, "What is something I could do everyday to help me lose weight?" your mind will start thinking of better answers. In fact, you would probably come up with a lot of possible answers, and they would all be empowering. Then all you would have to do is pick one of those answers and try it out.
2. Get accurate information. Maybe you have a limiting belief that is based on inaccurate information or lack of information. There are so many information resources available to all of us now, that we can all benefit from researching until we get the information we need.
3. Monitor your thoughts. Negative self-talk has derailed so many people! If you catch your brain engaging in negative or disempowering thoughts, stop that thought in its tracks and switch it around to something empowering. Start training your brain to be disciplined. Become aware of when your brain is most likely to feed negative thoughts to you (when you are anxious? when you are trying something new? when someone else has said something negative to you?) and create a plan for those situations so that you won't be triggered.
4. Be careful who you listen to. It's been said that we become who we associate with. Sometimes friends and family members are just trying to be helpful (and sometimes, they're not!) If someone you hang with is giving you advice or feedback that is supporting your limiting belief or is discouraging you from accomplishing your goals or engaging in healthy behaviors, maybe you need to re-assess that relationship and how much you want to be around that person. And if it's a relationship you can't limit, then you will need to be firm in standing by your goals and limiting discussion that disempowers you. And look for people or groups who will support you in reaching your goals.
5. Learn about other people who have faced and overcome similar challenges. Often something seems to be impossible, until you find out it's been done. Once we know something has been done, then we start to believe that we can do it, too.