How often have you tried telling yourself an affirmation or mantra that just left you feeling terrible instead of inspired? While transformation doesn’t have to feel amazing all the time, sometimes the beginning of believing something new can start with just a glimmer of hope or a twinkling of excitement.
When you think about your weight loss goals, you’re most likely thinking about what you don’t want anymore. But today I’m sharing with you the power that lies in rephrasing your goals in terms of what you do want, and why this is so much more useful.
I’m inviting you to create a “What I Want” manifesto and I’ll show you why this will be such a game-changer!
Let’s dive into the reality of creating change in your life and give you a process for creating your manifesto. Envisioning your goals is the easy part, but creating this manifesto is where the rubber meets the road, and using it will help you make conscious decisions every step of the way on your weight loss journey.
Why affirmations and mantras don’t always work
Your brain doesn’t subscribe to what it doesn’t believe. It loves to make thoughts it believes even truer with evidence and examples – for better or worse.
This is why affirmations and mantras don’t work unless we believe they are true.
Telling ourselves that we love ourselves as we gaze into the mirror will not create love for ourselves if we don’t actually believe it.
When you have a low opinion of yourself, believe that you are broken, or that you can’t do anything right, your brain will focus on that as you look in the mirror. It starts offering you all the reasons why you don’t love yourself, all of the evidence you have stockpiled over your lifetime that you are not lovable.
Your brain will make a thought that it believes is true even truer by seeking out and pulling up all the evidence from the past.
How to know if you believe a thought
Here’s how you know whether you actually believe a statement, affirmation, or a mantra: by the feeling you experience when you think it.
If it feels terrible, you are likely not believing it.
We don’t have to completely change our beliefs about ourselves in order to make changes to how we are showing up. It doesn’t have to feel magical and transformative when you are believing it in order to see a shift.
Sometimes the beginning of belief may simply create a glimmer of hope or a small twinkling of excitement.
You have to keep searching until you find a thought you can begin to believe.
Believing equals achieving
What we want to become needs to be realistic so that our expectation that we can do it is high.
It’s not wanting something badly that determines whether or not we will get it, it is the strength of our expectation that is the determining factor.
We want to notice what is standing in the way of us expecting our goal to happen and work on that, rather than just focus on how bad we want it.
What is a weight loss manifesto?
Here is where it all comes together. Envision in your imagination specifically what you want and how you will feel when you get it. From this place you’ll be able to create your own manifesto.
A manifesto is a declaration of your objectives and course of action, all based on this realistic vision about the future that you actually believe and can imagine.
When you create your manifesto with intention and keep it front of mind, it will start changing how you show up in the present moment, which is what matters most.
How to create a manifesto
First, make a list of what you want from your weight loss goal. You can do this on your own or you can use the free “What I Want” Manifesto Worksheet I created.
This list needs to be things you actually believe can happen. You may not believe, right now, that you can lose 75 pounds. You’ve never done it before, you have tons of evidence to suggest that it’s not possible, and you can’t even picture it.
However, maybe you do believe that you can lose 20. Create the vision of you at 20 pounds down for now. Ask yourself, what do I believe I can do now?
Come up with something that makes you feel good when you think about it. This is how you know you’re onto something.
This list also needs to be only statements about what you WANT.
Why it’s important to use positive statements
Here is what I usually hear when I ask my clients what they want: “I want to lose 30 pounds so that I don’t feel so out of energy, or so I don’t think about food all the time, or so I don’t have to wear clothes that camouflage my stomach or shop at specialty stores, or so I don’t feel self-conscious when I go to the pool with my kids.”
The list of “don’t” statements go on for days.
Your brain doesn’t create change from the negative.
If I say don’t think about a yellow school bus, all you can think about is a yellow school bus, right? We have to phrase what we want to change in terms of what we DO want to do, to be, or to experience, instead of what we don’t want. Otherwise all our brain will focus on is the things we don’t want.
So, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds, make a list of what you DO want to feel when you lose it and how life will be different or better. Be super specific.
For me, it was specific things like: I want to cross my legs comfortably. I want to look down without a double chin appearing. I want to sit without my stomach folding over my pants. I want my body to be a strong vessel that can keep up with my grandkids someday.
Go on and on with this list of wants. Think about and describe what it will be like to be you in small details, walking around in your life in that body. Think about yourself in all different scenarios and in your different activities.
Change all the things you don’t want to what you do want instead.
Turn your vision into action
Next, look at your vision list – that detailed list that you just wrote – and come up with three statements that encompass what you want. Write them down under the heading, “What I Want.”
For me, it was:
- I want to feel comfortable in all parts of my body no matter what I am wearing or doing.
- I want to have strength and energy for 50 more years.
- I want to be present in my body so I can be present with my kids and future grandkids.
For the final step in writing your mantra, you’re going to write down what you’re committed to doing to bring that to fruition under the heading, “This is How I Get There.”
For me, it was by planning ahead with my highest brain, remaining committed to my plan, listening and honoring my body’s hunger and satiety cues, and by keeping all of my choices conscious.
Now, of course that doesn’t mean that 100% of the time I’m going to do all those things. But I know that to get what I want, this is how I get there.
Commit to change
Now you’ve created a vision of change that is clear, specific, realistic, authentic and that you believe can happen. You can revisit this vision over and over.
Decide that every time you have an urge to escape with food, every time you want to eat off your plan, or overeat in any way, that you will review your manifesto before doing so.
Take a picture of it. Put it in your phone. Make it your screensaver. Make it accessible to you so that you can revisit it as much as possible.
Go to that place of feeling comfortable in your body.
Go to that vision of what you really want and weigh what it will feel like against what your brain is offering as a good idea in the moment.
The vision wins. Overeating is not how you get there. Choosing to be conscious is.
Go out and create those manifestos.
(Ready to lose the weight for the last time? Here’s how to get started.)