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 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 this week, 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. So I’m inviting you to create a “What I Want” manifesto and showing you why this will be such a game-changer.
Join me on the podcast this week as I 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.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 35.
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.
I am so excited about this episode. It’s going to be a total game-changer for you. I’m sure of it. But first, a review. This one comes from Janelle. “Episode four is pure revelation,” is what she titled it. “I listened to the whole podcast, but episode four set my mind spinning. Such a powerful concept. I appreciate her honesty. Weight loss is simple but difficult.”
Yes, it is. “A thousand different deliberate decisions made over and over and over for the rest of your life. But the point that struck me was her analogy of the river. Not just about weight loss, but about every goal I have for myself. I can choose to be miserable where I am or have some forward motion discomfort, but have growth. Epiphany. Thank you.”
Thank you, Janelle. Yes, change includes discomfort, my friends. But so does our current state. So if we’re going to be uncomfortable anyway, we might as well be uncomfortable on the way to our goals, right? So good.
The whole concept for today’s podcast was sparked by two awesome resources I want to share with you. The brilliant book by James Clear, Atomic Habits. One of my very favorites. And a podcast episode I listened to that really resonated with me and got my wheels turning.
It was episode 445 of The Dr. Drew Podcast where he interviewed Dr. Deepika Chopra, who has dubbed herself the Optimism Doctor, which I love. And she had a bunch of great insight into making changes in our lives that integrate beautifully with all I teach you here on the podcast.
Change requires belief in becoming something new that you aren’t quite yet. Change takes the expectation that you can get there, even if you don’t know how. Change is then made real by authentic visualization of what it is you really want and why, and change comes to fruition as you apply these concepts and take action on your belief.
Your brain doesn’t subscribe to what it doesn’t believe. And loves to make thoughts it believes to be true even truer with evidence and examples, for better or worse. We’ve talked before about the fact that 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 there is no belief that it is true to back it up. And Dr. Chopra brought up an interesting reason why. When you actually dislike yourself or you have a low opinion of yourself, you actually believe that you are broken or you can’t do anything right, that is what your brain goes to as you start focusing on you in the mirror.
It starts offering you all the reasons why you don’t actually 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 of the evidence from the past.
The way that you know whether or not you believe a statement or an affirmation or a mantra, whatever you want to call it, is by the feeling you experience when you think it. If it feels terrible, you are likely not believing it. That’s okay.
We don’t have to 180 our beliefs about ourselves in order to make changes to how we are showing up. It doesn’t have to feel magical and amazing 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.
Your brain doesn’t create change from negative. So if I say don’t think about a yellow school bus, all you can think about is a yellow school bus, right? So we have to phrase what we want to change in terms of what we do want to do, to be, or to experience. Not what we don’t want anymore. Otherwise that’s all our brain will focus on.
What we are wanting to become needs to be realistic so that our expectation that we can do it is high. As Dr. Chopra describes, it’s not wanting something really badly that determines whether or not we will get it. It is the strength of our expectation that is the determining factor.
She gives the example of winning the lottery. Someone may really want to win the lottery, think it would be awesome, but not have any expectation that they actually will. It isn’t simply the desire. It’s your expectation that it’s possible that matters.
We want to notice what is standing in the way of us expecting it to happen and work on that. Not just focus on how bad we want it. And as we talked about in episode 31, make sure our expectations are realistic. And we want to solidify all of that with authentic visualization.
That’s where all of this comes together. You envisioning in your imagination, in your mind, realistically and specifically what you want and how you will feel when you get it. And then you’ll be able to create your own manifesto, which is a declaration of your objectives and course of action, all based on this realistic vision about the future you that you actually believe and can imagine.
That manifesto, when you create it with intention and keep it front of mind, will start changing how you show up in this moment, which is what matters most. So here’s what I want you to do. Here’s the process of getting there.
You’re going to make a list of what it is you really want with your weight loss goal. This is probably something you’ve done before. It’s something I’ve had you do several times, right? But sometimes also for some of you that may just be running through your head, even if you haven’t ever made an actual list.
But there are two things I want you to do this time a little differently than you have in the past. First, this list needs to be things you believe can happen. So start there. You may not totally 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, you can’t even picture it.
But maybe you do believe that you can lose 20. So create the vision of you at 20 pounds down for now. When you ask yourself, what do I believe I can do now? And you come up with something and you feel good when you think about it, you know you’re onto something.
So whether it’s 20 pounds down or something else, that’s kind of the signal. Come up with something you believe you can do, notice how you feel, and go from there.
Second, this list needs to be only statements about what you want. Let me clarify because here’s what I usually hear. I say, tell me what it is you really want. And my clients say I want to lose 30 pounds so that I don’t feel so out of energy at 4pm, 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 so I don’t have to 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. So if your goal is to lose 30 pounds, make a list of what you will feel when you do lose it and how life will be different or better, and be super specific. For me, it was super 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.
I want to have healthy joints so it doesn’t hurt to move around or sleep. I want my body to be able to regulate its temperature because I got really tired of sweating when I went up the stairs or even when I was just standing still getting ready in the morning. I felt like I was sweating no matter the season or temperature with all of the extra insulation I had on my body.
So a sweat-free temperature-regulated body was what I wanted. 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 you at work. What will be different there? Think about you at play. What will you do differently?
It might even be activities you do in that body that you don’t do now. Think about you at rest. You at a restaurant. Change all of your don’t wants to what you do want instead. Spend some time going there in your mind. Closing your eyes and imagining what it would be like.
Imagine you sitting comfortably in an airplane seat. Imagine you waking up refreshed. Imagine you being able to do a setup. Imagine you feeling confident as you walk in a room. Imagine you on the floor with your grandkids.
Whatever it is that you envision, get there in your mind to what it would actually be like to experience it. Now, let’s bring all of that into this moment and every moment of decision, which is where the rubber meets the road we know, with your own manifesto.
Look at your vision list, that detailed list that you just came up with of all the things that will be different, better, what it will feel like in that body, that person at that size, whatever. What themes do you notice? What is common among the things you listed? And come up with three statements that kind of encompass what you want.
And then 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.
And each of those statements, because I had super specifically defined what I wanted, I could imagine all of those specifics. When I think I want to feel comfortable in all parts of my body, no matter what I’m wearing or doing, to me, I’m thinking about not needing to unbutton my pants when I sit down, me crossing my legs, me bending over. All the things that that entails for me, but only because I have defined it previously.
So don’t try to make these statements without having done that process. And then you’re going to write down what you’re committed to doing to bring that to fruition under the heading And This is How I Get There.
For me, it was by planning ahead with my highest brain, by remaining committed to my plan, by listening to and honoring my hunger and satiety, 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 of those things.
But I know that to get what I want; this is how I get there. These are the things I do; this is how I’m going to show up as much as possible. So now you’ve created a vision of change that is clear, specific, realistic, and authentic that you believe will, can happen, and you can revisit it over and over.
You have a statement of what you want. You have some ideas of how you will get there. So now you need to make a rule for yourself 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.
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 all parts of your body. Visualize sitting comfortably cross-legged, bending over without pain. And then weigh that, that vision of what you really want and 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. Okay loves, go out, create those manifestos. Please leave a review if you love the podcast and then let me know you did at itbeginswithathought.com/review so I can send you a gift. 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.