As a Behavior Change Coach who focuses on health and fitness, I’m trained to help my clients work through their resistance to change, but it’s not easy. Like pulling weeds, unearthing all the debris in a person’s mind–clutter getting in the way of realizing one’s deepest desires.–takes time, effort and a lot of grace.
I remember working with one client who came across as uninterested in working with me despite initiating the relationship. Her goal in working with me was to lose weight without sabotaging her results, which was her pattern. But during our meetings, she’d answer questions with one-word responses while checking her phone. It was hard not to personalize her seeming disinterest. At times, I was so discouraged I wanted to give her a refund and end the relationship, but I endured.
One day while sitting with this client, a “knowingness” washed over me and I was suddenly filled with the understanding that she was abused as a child (Intuitives and Empaths know exactly what I’m referring to).
With hesitation, I asked if she was ever abused. I worried that my question was inappropriate and irrelevant, but she said, “Yes.” Her childhood was laden with traumatic experiences which caused her to feel vulnerable and fearful. We explored how those experiences were influencing her attitude towards her body. Eventually she admitted she was afraid to “let the weight go” because in her mind it was protection.
When it comes to obesity, there’s a tendency to focus on one’s habits rather than on the beliefs, attitudes, fears, and familial/cultural pressures at the root of it. We prune the leaves without uprooting the weeds. Like weeds, irrational beliefs suffocate our desires, keeping us locked in cycles of self-sabotage. As was the case with my client, the idea that the excess fat on her body could protect her was irrational; but it was true for her—so true that it controlled her decisions without her awareness.
Forcing ourselves to make a change despite feeling unmotivated is necessary at times; however, “force of will” alone is not a long-term solution for people struggling to make any change. Our subconscious works like an ocean’s undercurrent, undulating uncontrollably, hurling us in different directions. Confronting those overpowering psychological forces requires looking beyond the surface of consciousness, diving within to explore our internal programming. This is a more valuable approach than imposing changes on ourselves that we aren’t emotionally/mentally prepared to make or sustain. Enforcing a lifestyle we’re not ready for is like running with extra weight strapped to our back: how far will we get? Wouldn’t we run farther, faster, if we released that burden altogether?
Tony Robbins said, “People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals.” Nothing deflates our goals like limiting beliefs. The solution to feeling unmotivated isn’t imposing seemingly worthy goals on ourselves, but challenging our outdated beliefs. They linger like monsters under the bed, only for us to turn on the light and find nothing there except old pairs of shoes and broken toys. What old and broken things are you holding onto? Let the first few pounds of weight you release be the heaviness of beliefs which are no longer useful.