I’m sure all of you are being inundated with wrap-up-your-year, set-new-goals, review-and-assess info from your favorite resources. While this can be an incredibly exciting time to look back on and celebrate our wins, one thing I’ve noticed in my clients is a continual tendency to see how they’re struggling or failing.
If you can relate, you’re not alone. I was right there with you in 2020, not wanting to look back on a rough year, but also not knowing what to look forward to in the new year. So, I’ve decided to do something different this year because choosing not to acknowledge and honor our progress is such a disservice to us.
Listen in this week as I share an exercise I’ve created for myself as 2021 comes to an end. I’m showing you why our brains are always prepared to present us with a giant folder of evidence of all the ways we suck, and how to instead build up a portfolio of success evidence that you can draw on as a reminder of how amazing you are.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 96.
Welcome to Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you’re a successful woman who is ready to stop struggling with your weight, you’re in the right place. You’ll learn everything you need to know to lose weight for the last time in bitesize pieces. Here’s your host, certified life and weight coach Natalie Brown.
Hello, everyone, how are you feeling? Check in with yourself right now. What’s happening in your mind? What’s happening in your body? What emotion would you say that is? Why is it there? What do you think about it? Do you wish it would go away? Do you wish it would stay? Why? Pause the podcast and take 30 seconds to close your eyes and breathe some space around that feeling.
Whether you like it or you don’t like it, just breathe and be present with it. Imagine your breath coming into your body and surrounding the feeling. Imagine that with each breath, your body is expanding to create space for whatever big or small feeling is trying to be heard. I’ll wait while you connect.
And we’re back. To me, checking in with how I’m feeling periodically throughout the day like this and breathing some space into it and around it has become a habit that has allowed me to really reconnect with my body. And start to show myself that not only do I have permission to feel, but I am safe to do so and that it’s a normal, acceptable part of my every day.
I just read a quote from Glennon Doyle today that I love. My aim is not to feel happy. It’s to feel everything. I love her brilliance and her vulnerability. That’s my aim, too. To embrace feeling everything. Today, I want to share with you an exercise that I made up for myself this year, as 2021 comes to an end and we move into a new one.
I really struggled last year to even want to look back. I was having a really rough time with how 2020 went. I didn’t want to look back. I also kind of didn’t want to look forward, or maybe I didn’t know what I wanted to look forward to. I wanted to just pretend everything wasn’t happening. I was feeling pretty lost, based on what was happening in the world. I was feeling a bit lost in myself, too, feeling a little out of touch with me, unsure of what I wanted from me. A lot of uncertainty, some dread, quite a bit of darkness, and a huge craving for what I now recognize was love, connection, authenticity, honesty with myself on a new level.
So, I have been on a journey to that this year, and what was born of it was among many great things, my new program, my new focus on connection and love in the process of weight loss. I am super excited to see my new 2022 clients and my past clients who get access to all of the new goodness as well. Experience the growth that I know comes from being willing to see and care for ourselves with love.
I’m sure you’re being inundated with wrap up your year, set new goals, review and assess, look back, look forward, right? Like, all of that good info from all of your favorite resources. I know; my feed and my inbox are both full of them right now.
One thing I noticed happening with my clients is a seemingly continual tendency to see only how they are failing and struggling; what’s not going right, what needs fixing? And I think this whole end-of-year assessment can feel like an invitation to bring the whole year of not getting to where you wanted to go to the forefront and look at it really closely.
Which is an invitation that is pretty easy to decline. This is true for me as well. I assure you. I usually just avoid the look back, and I focus on setting goals and objectives, and intentions for the next year. It just feels way more fun to look forward. But that also then skips the part where I acknowledge my success and I honor my progress. And I celebrate how far I have come.
So, at the end of this year, I decided to approach this differently. Like I said, I have been on a journey throughout this year to more connection to me and my own inside answers. Instead of following someone else’s suggestions, I decided to think about what was important and useful to me and do that. So, listen to this episode and use your you filter to take what I offer and build on it, or come up with your own thing, or ignore it altogether, if you so desire. As always, you are the designer of your path, and you get to choose what it looks like and where you go.
My intention for myself and for you, if you choose, is to encourage the recognition of what has gone well. What has worked? Where have you succeeded and shine a light on it? There’s a time, of course, to notice what we want to change or do differently and, of course correct, in all of that. But, first, let’s build up a portfolio of success evidence. That we can draw on as a reminder of what we are, so we don’t just focus on what we aren’t.
We’re typically always prepared with a giant binder of evidence of how we suck. In any given area, right? Our brains keep super close track of that, and they can usually recall every misstep or fault, or flaw. Like that, I feel like I have. You get cataloged all the way back to when I was five. I mean, it’s just a whole bunch of stuff.
This is a protection function, I believe. I think it’s our brains wanting us to be careful and be prepared and be aware of what has happened and therefore could happen again. It’s well-intentioned if you look at it that way though not always super helpful. There’s plenty of research to suggest, however, that it is possible to do the same thing with positive evidence.
That is what we look for we will find more of. If we think the world is a miraculous place full of goodness, we will be much more likely to notice the small bits of magic that happened around us and latch on to the stories of the humans at their best. If we make note of what we are grateful for every day, we will start seeing more and more to be grateful for. If you’re used to being critical and seeing what’s wrong instead of what’s right, like me, a lot of the time, you may notice some resistance to this exercise I am sharing. That’s okay.
It will just take some intention to shift your focus. The first thing I did when I sat down to compile my success evidence was to clarify how I was defined success. When I asked myself what success meant or how to measure it, the first things my mind went to were money, accomplishments, and notoriety. This is what we are conditioned to think of as success, right? The externally observable metrics. I’m obviously thinking about more general life success for myself at this point rather than weight loss success on your weight or health journey. It’s likely going to center around the scale or your clothes/fit and/or perfection.
If you’re planning every day, if you’re eating only what’s on the plan and avoiding every pitfall and urge you encounter or whatever your version of perfect is. For so many of my client’s success equals perfection; however they define it. This makes sense. It’s what we’ve been told success means or looks like. If you like that definition and it’s useful, keep it.
I don’t have a problem per se in using money or accomplishments as markers of success, but I don’t like those things being the only markers of success. Success is so much more multifaceted than that; more layered, more expansive. Success to me looks like learning, shifting, doing, growing, progressing as a human. Not just in terms of my bank account or the degrees or certifications I have.
Metrics like money are easy. Metrics like learning are much more nuanced. But I think in some ways more satisfying. So, you bet that is what I started with. Under the heading in 2021, I made a list with two subheadings, one titled I learned, and the other I did. Notice I didn’t say I accomplished. I wanted it to be more nuanced and broader.
So, I could just go crazy listing all the things I just did. Not just the things I “accomplished.” It was so interesting what came up. I thought about all areas of my life, my important relationships, my relationship with myself, my business, my spirituality, my body, my kids, my health, and I thought about who I was—where I was a year ago, and where I am now. What has shifted? What is better understood? The growth I have experienced.
I filled the whole page of what I learned. And I left space to add on as I ponder and remember over the next few weeks. I’ve learned so much; it’s amazing. In terms of what I did, obviously, I didn’t list every single thing I did the whole year, but I did list some small things and some big things. I brushed my teeth two times a day and took my vitamins and supplements every single day of last year. I did not miss one day, 365 days in a row.
Now, both of these things are small acts, but big things when you consider them is a whole pile of evidence that I can be committed and consistent no matter what with some things, right? I listed the places I traveled last year, I listed fun personal things like I got acrylic nails, and I went back to my roots. Like, my hair’s natural root color. So, no more bleaching my hair every six weeks.
Now, it’s about covering greys. Things like creating 52 podcast episodes that didn’t exist before and a new program. Once again, I left space for more things to be added as I’m reflecting over the next few weeks. It was so fun I kept going. I started another list, what I am looking forward to in 2022. I already have some things on the calendar, I have some plans, I have some goals, so I made that list, too.
One of the things on that list was keeping a running list of 2022 of what I learn and what I do. So, that it’s even easier next year to look back and see how far I have come and be super proud of me. I realize my memory is not like it used to be. There’s a lot of things that aren’t coming to mind that happened that I did, that I learned this past year. So, I want to keep a little close track next year. Just because I think it will be really fun to review and add on at the end of the year.
If you want to wrap this year in a bright shiny bow, make your own portfolio of success evidence. Give yourself some credit where credit is due. You made it through another year. Celebrate it, celebrate you, it can’t hurt, but it might help you see what you are capable of. Okay, lovelies, only a couple more weeks to take advantage of getting on my waiting list. Applications for my new program open on January 1st, exclusively to my waiting list, and to everyone else a few days later. So, if you want first access, that’s where you want to be. Plus, I am gifting my waitlist a couple of bonuses; my navigating the holiday’s toolkit and the podcast quick start study guide, which will both help you start making some changes right now. If you’re interested, head to itbeginswithathought.com/waitlist and hop on. I’ll see you soon.
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight for the last time, come on over to itbeginswithathought.com. We’ll see you here next week.