If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself reflecting about how you want to better yourself and what change you’d like to see in your life.
There’s always a next level we envision our future selves getting to, but in order to truly start down this path of becoming that future person, there’s some unlearning and unbelieving we need to do first.
I’ve done a lot of work to this end. In fact, what ultimately led me here to you today is a decision I made 11 years ago to figure out how to accept myself at any size.
I stopped “dieting,” I stopped trying to run myself into thinness, and I began trying to understand how I could accept where I was. I’ve come a long way since then, but I know there’s even more I can “unlearn.”
Thoughts aren’t facts
The tricky thing about beliefs is that they pretend to be facts. There are so many things that are just embedded into the fabric of our brains that we don’t even recognize them as optional.
For example, as we start this new year, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to grow my business and serve my clients this year.
Part of that is thinking about future me at the end of this year – who she is, what has changed, and how she has grown compared to current me, in order to accomplish what I want to accomplish.
But part of that is also thinking about what is standing in the way of me doing it and becoming that future me.
There are so many sneaky thoughts in there posing as facts. Things I am believing, that I need to stop believing in order to move forward.
How to find the beliefs holding you back
To do this, I like to look at someone else who has accomplished that same thing and ask myself:
- What’s different about them compared to me?
- Why were they able to do this?
- What characteristics do they have?
- What qualities do they possess?
When I look at this person who has done or is doing what I want to do, I notice that I tend to believe a certain thought over and over.
My brain says things like: She is super disciplined and I’m not. She’s a marketing expert and I’m not. She’s more extroverted and I’m not. It goes on and on with so many sentences that my brain just states as facts.
As a result, I just gloss over them. I just accept these truths and move on.
But they’re not facts!
There may be skills I don’t have that they do, or things I don’t know yet that I will need to learn, but those are all within my control.
When my brain offers this, it’s a dead-end thought. It’s like my brain unquestioningly accepts it as truth and says, “Okay, that’s that, moving on.”
How to unlearn or “unbelieve” a thought
It’s actually a simple process to unlearn things you have been taught or “unbelieve” things you have chosen to believe.
But it takes some effort, a willingness to question everything, and being ready to let go of some of it.
Look at what is challenging you right now on your weight loss journey. Why does it feel hard? What belief is there posing as a fact that you might want to unbelieve?
Look at future you and ask yourself:
- What is different about her versus me at this moment?
- What is she believing about food, planning, her body, weight loss?
- What is standing in the way of me believing it too? What do I need to unbelieve?
- What rules do I have about food and eating that are holding me prisoner and making this miserable?
- What do I need to unlearn to move forward?
Letting go of a belief
Once you see these fake facts, you have to ask just one question: am I willing to let this go?
You may think the answer is obvious. Yes! But sometimes it feels scary to let go of these beliefs because it means going all in on trying and possibly stumbling a little bit as we do.
It means being seen and heard, even if it’s just by ourselves. It means moving forward into the unknown. Sometimes these beliefs that hold us back also keep us safe in familiar discomfort.
So, “Am I willing to let this go?” is a legitimate question. Listen carefully for the answer.
If you notice the whisper of “No,” or even “I don’t know,” have compassion as you inquire why not.
What would it take to be willing to let this go?
Even once you decide to let go of a belief that is not serving you, your brain will keep offering this practiced belief to you. All it requires is gentle reminders of what you choose to believe now.
My brain certainly has continued to offer me thoughts that I’m trying to unlearn that I’ve believed for most of my life. I often say something like, “Thanks brain, but I’m letting that go,” or “I’m choosing to think something else now.”
Be willing to question your thoughts and beliefs and see how your brain can help serve you in new ways on your weight loss journey.
And if you want to learn more from me about how to lose weight for the last time, watch my free video about how to lose the first five pounds — and keep going.