If you want to create a habit change in your life that sticks, one crucial element is the belief that you can do it. But what is “believing in yourself”? You can’t measure it. You can’t see it. There aren’t foods or supplements that give you more of it. Evolving your Self, or ‘personal growth’ as it’s called as one of the 9 factors here at Whole9, is virtually impossible to measure tangibly, but you know it when it’s happening
When you’re getting better in your heart and head space, you notice yourself enjoying and handling and life better. The stresses, challenges, and nuances of life all become easier to when you’re handling yourself better.
Do you believe that a better version of you awaits you on the other side of the habit you’d like to change?
[Resistance is] a repelling force, it’s negative, it distracts us and prevents us from doing our work…it’s what keeps the entrepreneur from making cold calls he needs to make to get his business going, it keeps the writer away from the blank page, it keeps us from going to the gym…it comes as a voice in your head telling us not to work today and gives us a reason…this is not self-talk, it’s self-sabotage.
Sound familiar? It does for me.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I realized I had a longstanding belief about myself that I would end up overweight and sick. It “ran in my family” to have health challenges – so why wouldn’t I end up that way too? I’d been an athlete all my life, loved fitness & movement (so much so I got my degree in Exercise Science), and got a job in the field. As that belief came to the surface, I realized I had been white-knuckling my own fitness and nutrition choices, gripping tightly to workouts and a nutrition plan as a way to man-handle what I was certain my genetics had in store for me in the future.
I got up at 5am to workout before a no-less-than 11 hour workday. And I definitely wasn’t in bed at 9pm to make that 5am wake-up more reasonable. I doubled up on workouts on the weekend because if I was going to be a runner and lift weights, how else was I going to fit it in? Before I found out I had non-celiac gluten sensitivity, I’d plan to eat my own dinner before going to a social function and then just have a drink or an appetizer out because then I knew I was on track with getting all the right nutrients in.
I wasn’t meeting Resistance and overcoming it. I was running scared from Resistance and I was chucking into my path behind me all of my healthy habits in the hopes it would slow down the inevitable “I got ya!” moment when my genes and beliefs caught me and I was turned into the sick, unhealthy weight person I feared becoming.
Take an Inventory of Your Beliefs
Beliefs. Those things that you think are true about yourself and the world. Beliefs created in your mind might be: ‘the world is getting worse’, or ‘the world is getting better’, ‘I deserve (X)’, or ‘I am not deserving of (X).’
You could be sitting next to someone right now who holds the exact opposite belief in their head – and has “proof” to back up their belief, which is directly contrarian to proof you have that backs up your belief. Beliefs The things we believe about ourselves become so ingrained that you rarely think about them, but they affect the way you think and interact with the world every moment of every day.
When was the last time you took stock of your beliefs, and compared them to what you actually know to be true? Not just a passing glance either, but a full-frontal look at exactly what you believe to be true, and comparing it to what you’re actually experiencing. If the two don’t match up, you’ve got work to do. This is where personal growth work comes in.
However you choose to tackle personal growth work (religious teachings, philosophers writings, new age, Tony Robbins, or otherwise) is of course up to you. What matters is that you make progress along your journey.
It was with my own personal growth work that I realized this: I do not have to hold on to beliefs that I’ve proven to be false.
Without personal growth work, it can be difficult to get to a place where you’re ready to notice that reality isn’t matching up with your old beliefs. It can be difficult to see that you’re carrying around your old beliefs like a security blanket. Personal growth work helps this process because you’re able to to untangle emotions from beliefs and see what’s actually there. It can be tricky and requires a mental headspace that is ready to take on that task. Make a more eyes-wide-open appraisal of things, and start realigning from there. It isn’t easy, but …so worth it.
Old Belief vs. New Belief
In my story, I realized that my belief that “no matter what I did I was going to end up sick and broken,” was also making it hard for me to fully adopt the ‘eat well, move your body’ habit. I was getting exercise in and eating nutritious food, but I was treating as something outside of myself that I was doing to achieve an end-goal, instead of adopting it into myself as just a part of who I am.
Old belief: “I must workout and eat well because I need to keep my future disease at bay for as long as possible before it overtakes me.”
New belief: “I am someone who moves my body and eats well and I don’t have to force myself to do any of it because there’s nothing I’m working toward, this is just what I do, and my body will respond accordingly.”
The in-between space of getting from my old belief to my new one was made easier by remembering that I don’t hold on to beliefs I’ve proven to be false. Whenever my mind would wander back to “but you gotta get your workout in today or else (insert all the scary things here)”, I’d take a quick inventory of reality and inevitably I’d find that I was still strong, still fit, still capable of keeping a consistent routine and still able to miss a workout and not get thrown into a tailspin.
The white-knuckle control I was trying to use in the past was a crude tool compared to the sharp ax of deep self-trust I now possessed. Knowing, at the deepest of levels, that I was a person who cared for her body, who gave it the space it sometimes needed to not workout in favor of more restful, “working-in” activities, and that all of it would add up to a body that was healthy, fit, and full of vitality.
Do the work
Getting to a deep level of self-trust and self-knowledge requires work on your part. Personal growth work can start as easily as this: get a journal and a pen, and start writing down what you believe to be true about yourself. Then write down whatever realities you have that support that belief. Dig into any beliefs that seem to not have a lot of support in reality to back them up.
Personal growth work is like the food processor of meal prep. It makes it easier to get to the end result. Rarely do you have clear answers. If you did, you would already have implemented those answers into your life. As you are creating new habits, and removing old ones, dip your toes into the waters of Self Development. It can provide you with new tools, and sharpen your old tools, in order to help you continue your journey of growing into an ever-better version of yourself.
Kate Galliett is the creator of Fit for Real Life where she brings together body, mind, and movement to help people become highly-charged and fit for real life. She coaches clients in-person, online, and through her foundational strength & mobility program, The Unbreakable Body. She holds a BS in Exercise Science and has worked as a fitness professional for 12 years. Her secret ingredient is always smoked paprika.
(Photo credits from DeathtoStock)
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