Transitions and how to cope

Change never happens immediately, there is always a difficult, confusing, and unsettling period where you are not quite at the new way, and at the old way.

This hinterland is often where changes fail. We often think that whatever we wanted to do is not working and go back to the old ways of doing things.

For instance take my weight loss plan. In reality I started trying to reduce how much I weigh over a decade ago. All I succeeded in doing during that time was get heavier.

This time I decided to apply William Bridges principles of transition, something I have talked about here before. I know it works, because I have used it before to give up smoking.

So this time I started with preparing for loss. The loss of crisps, chocolate and comfort over eating. To do this I created a compelling vision of the future I want. The reason why I want to lose weight. This reason why has to be more appealing than chocolate, crisps, biscuits, cakes….. you get the idea. Being ill during March, April, May and June, along with footage of overweight middle aged men on ventilators due to COVID-19, was and still is a very strong motivation. That alongside this desire to have a fulfilling and active retirement hopefully with Grandchildren in the years to come creates a rich compelling future that is far more compelling than fatty, sugary foodstuff. Just like smoking this was not about giving something up is was about gaining a lifestyle, a lifestyle that meets my values and answers my reason why.

Now I have this vision I still need to protect myself from the temptation of slipping back in to old habits. So I allow myself treats in moderation, something from my old life that I can take with me into my new lifestyle.

That brings me to the transition bit. Wanting to lose weight does not make you lose weight. It takes ages. Some days are easy others are really horrible. Sometimes I am not as dedicated as others. I am kind to myself when this happens. I hold myself to account, rather than being ashamed of the setback. I have started weighing myself daily. I have found it really helpful to keep myself in check without feeling terrible when my weight sometimes goes in the wrong direction. It was hard at first, but now it keeps me focused and reminds me to look at the bigger picture and the trend downwards rather than the fluctuations. I have an initial target and then an overall long term target to work towards. I am expecting ups and downs but most of all I am focused on the reason why I want to lose weight.

As I get closer to my goal I will start to develop a consistent approach to sustaining my success. So this time in transition well spent experimenting and starting to form new habits that will create the pattern and habits that will keep me at a weight that is healthy.

If you are planning on making a change in your life, it is important to look beyond the short term gain of moving away from something that is negative and concentrate on the long term benefits of your future. Move towards your goal rather than moving away from the discomfort. Don’t kid yourself it will be really hard, things will go wrong, you will feel rubbish. So prepare yourself for that by creating a goal that is more attractive than your status quo. We are all much more capable than we think.

I provide coaching via zoom to help with creating a compelling goal with regular check ins to support you through the transition and in creating a sustainable new beginning.

Message me or email me if you are interested my coaching is more affordable than you think.

Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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