How many frustrating moments have you had with your weight loss efforts, knowing you want something different… but not knowing what else to do? Or perhaps you know what to do… but you’re not doing it. Or maybe you’re doing it… but you keep reverting to old behaviours. All of these scenarios indicate you’re getting stuck somewhere along the change continuum. This article is the second in a series that maps out how change happens.
Self-Deception — Clarity — Intention — Action | Transcendence
This is what I call the change continuum. Imagine a slider bar moving back and forth between Self-Deception and Action in continuous — rather than discrete — steps, with Transcendence separate but not removed from this continuum. Notice there’s no maintenance or relapse mentioned (this is old paradigm language that only brings monotony or guilt with it). Notice too, I said the slider moves back and forth, meaning ALL movement along this continuum contributes to your growth. So, let’s take a closer look at what each of these steps encompasses.
We all need to carry a functional image of ourselves, regardless what our reality may be. Self-Deception is the edited version of yourself that you buy into. At the low end, you’re “in the thick of it” — fully addicted to your struggle. You don’t know what you don’t know so your primary tools are blame and rationalization. But issues amplify over time and eventually you start bumping up against the inconvenient truths of your life — the ones that were unbearable to consider before. You come to realize you need to change but you don’t yet know how to get out of this fog. You begin to seek answers.
Clarity is unambiguous awareness about what’s been, what is and what’s possible. At the low end, this awareness is still clouded by your own judgment so it can be difficult to release yourself from your past to entertain a new reality, let alone a different future for yourself. As this judgment softens though, there’s a willingness to go deeper and learn from your choices. You start connecting the dots between your choices and their impact on your quality of life. For every choice you own, you empower yourself for change.
This is a pivotal step, one that most people fail to recognize or try to skip. In broad terms, Intention is the purposeful manifestation of your vision. Your vision for change needs to be grounded in meaning. Without this connection, you will only change when motivated by pain (the low end), rather than being inspired by pleasure (the high end). This also means you will change “just enough” to escape pain temporarily but “never enough” to solidify pleasure long-term. In more specific terms, intentions are something you set and carry daily. Assigning meaning to them is central to honoring them.
Action is the honoring of your daily intentions, either in full or in part. This step is about developing your capacity to change. At the low end, an “all or nothing” mentality may have you fixated on what’s faltering instead of acknowledging what’s working. Here’s the truth of it — there are many different aspects of your life that need to change to manifest weight loss. Each of these is at a different point on the change continuum. That suggests, at any given time, some aspect of your weight loss efforts will be faltering, and that’s OK. Continue to practice what’s working and use the continuum to go back and pick up what you need on other fronts.
There comes a point, after much practice, where you’ll feel a palpable, positive shift… the fight has left your Healthy Body. This is Transcendence. It’s characterized by calm energy, relaxed effort, and predictable outcomes. It exists apart from the undercurrent of resistance you’ll experience with the rest of the change continuum and as such, is not subject to the same limitations. It’s natural, NOT perfect. It’s not that you’ll never have another setback. It just won’t feel real to you anymore and you’re not likely to wallow in it. You’ll simply step out of it and carry on.
Hint: you will think you have arrived at Transcendence far sooner than you actually do, so don’t get discouraged. Trust that every movement along the continuum matters to your growth… and enjoy the ride!