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.

When I Fall Wedinar on 3rd October

The most important thing about falling is how quickly you get back. To live our best life we have to accept that there will be times when we fall, if want to continue living life to it’s full we have to keep picking ourselves up dusting ourselves down, learning from our mistakes and trying again.

When I Fall will explore how we can learn to dig deep and carry on when all we want to do is give up.

New Beginnings

Yesterday we took Jack to Manchester, he has gone a month early to settle in an look for a job before he starts his studies in September. He will be sharing a house with his big brother who goes into his 2nd year. Surprisingly it was a lovely day. We spent the afternoon with both our boys around the centre of Manchester, before taking them shopping and then heading home, so they could watch the Charity Shield. It was lovely to spend some quality time as a family all 4 of us, something we have not done since lockdown.

On the journey back myself and Lisa were reflecting on parenthood, and Lisa pointed out parenthood is so full on and how we spend so much energy preparing for the next stage, when they are babies you look forward to weaning, then walking and talking and then pottie training. The next is nursery then school, then riding a bike, then high school, then GCSEs then A levels, then work or university. Then that is it, they have gone.

The house seems so big this morning. I remember my mum telling me how she felt when I left home, as a if her right arm had been cut off. I feel a bit numb, I am not quite sure how to explain how I feel. I am so immensely proud of both my boys. I know Jack is more than capable and him and Ben are going to get the most out of living in Manchester and I am excited for them, at the same time I miss having them around the house. Ben has been gone a while, but I am really going to miss the chats me and Jack have about music ( Jack has expanded my knowledge and taste in music immensely), and football.

I have not been as emotional as I thought I would, apart from yesterday morning, I stood in our dining room looking at all the pictures of us as a family over the years that are on display in there, and a wave of sadness came over me, and had a little cry to mark the day passing of an era and the beginning of a new one. That is I suppose the reason why I don’t feel as emotional today. The sadness would just be for me wanting my boys to stay young. This is really at odds with the purpose of parenthood, which is to create adults that contribute to society. We have achieved that, so rather than sadness I feel pride and excitement when I think of their achievements and what they will achieve in the future.

A little story about how I shifted my view of the world.

As I keep talking about making changes in your lifestyle, and the importance of a plan and then having a clear reason why to get through the difficult days, I thought I might share my personal challenge. On Monday 10th of August I vowed that I would embark on losing weight down to a healthy weight. I am really aiming to do this over a year as I have a lot to lose. I have a clear image of what I want to be and feel like rather than focusing on the loss of weight. I have a compelling vision that I have drawn on already. As some days I feel pretty miserable. So far I have lost nearly a stone. But there is a long way to go and there will be days when it does not work out but I have a clear vision of being healthy and being well and happy is age more appealing than a cream cake. Change is hard, the first thing to do is to be very clear what you want achieve and why you want to achieve it.

If I am honest I feel quite vulnerable sharing this story but, I am convinced I will succeed and wanted to share that you can make changes to your lifestyle and mindset.

To get started is never easy and that is where coaching can really help. A coach will help you decide on whether the change in lifestyle is right for you, then help you shift your mindset from one that is entrenched in your status quo to a mindset that is prepared to view your world with a transformational eye. Once you have shifted you mindset it is far easier to see your goal in front of you.

If you keep trying and failing to change your lifestyle, send me a message and we can start shifting how you see your world.

Episode 2: Paying Attention to Your Well-being

Episode 2 of my Connected Living podcast is now available via Spotify.

In this episode we explore the how I use Martin Seligman’s PERMA to manage my well-being and how I use the stress bucket to keep a check on my stress levels. You can stream it now via Spotify by following the link below.

Introducing the Connected Living Podcast

I have decided to jump into the podcast world and publish regular podcasts based on connected living. Each episode will concentrate on an element of connected living. I will along the way be collecting stories from people that may relate to each episode from those around me. So if you have a story you want to share please let me know. So here is the first introductory episode, which just lays out what the idea of the podcast is. Please share with your friends.

https://anchor.fm/matthew-smith656/episodes/Introductions-eignmv

It is also available via Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Taking Control

On Monday morning I felt ashamed, to be honest I have held this shame for quite some time, this has been the motivator and blocker for my sporadic running and attempts at healthy eating. I weighed myself on Monday morning and felt an enormous sense of shame.

The thing is with shame that it dis-empowers us, shame makes the assumption that you are somehow flawed and are unable to change. Last Monday as I stood in the bathroom I felt weak, useless, and so, so sad. You may remember my Doctor last year told me I was pre-diabetic, and I needed to take action. Well I had failed. I could feel the shame taking hold. I had a choice whilst stood in the bathroom, I could bury the shame and carry on, or I could face it. I chose to face it, face the discomfort. I decided to sit with the uncomfortable embarrassment, and focus on what I was going to do about it.

A few people I know around my age had taken action and lost weight. This gave me the spur to do something. If they have done it, then so can I. This gave me a mental picture of what I want to see myself. This gave me my starting point. I am now in the process of shifting that shame to being accountable. Now I know that I am accountable for the choices I make, when I thinking rationally, however I do not always think rationally. That is why I am in the process of shifting shame, I have to consciously check myself when my reptilian and mammalian minds kick in that they are not always working in my best interest. I have downloaded an app to track what I am eating and how much I weigh, that along with my qualitative goal. I have given myself six months to look and feel the way I want to feel.

Shame is a powerful emotion and at the moment it is a constant struggle to resist the urge to suppress these feelings and tell myself that I will always be fat and unhealthy so just accept it. My rational mind knows this is not the case, I am accountable for the choices I make, and I can choose to have a different lifestyle if that is what I want.

I have blogged about my health and weight before, this has been my blind-spot. I suppose I have never really, truly wanted to face it. I have built a habit of retreating back to the comfort zone of eating rubbish. I have a goal for me that is more attractive and compelling than crisps and biscuits. It is however going to be difficult, and I am certain I will have failures on the way. This time I am prepared for them and will no longer fall into the shame trap of believing that those failures are proof that I am not strong enough to achieve my goal.

If this has inspired you and you want to talk about how you can set your goals that will be meaningful for you, get in touch to arrange a remote coaching session.

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