Developing Your Emotional Fuel
Welcome to the second step to Resolving Your Guilt over Your Weight Loss Journey. In my first blog of this series, I describe what some people may be going through as they embark on a weight loss journey when it comes to feeling guilt.
I walked you through the preliminary steps to become aware of where you are currently in your thoughts & feelings and developing your goal and compelling reason for moving forward. Be sure to read Part 1 before starting Part 2.
Having a goal and a compelling reason and knowing where you are is like this: You have a map in front of you, you have the “You Are Here” button flagged, and you have your reasons to want to take this journey, and you know where you are headed and when you want to get there.
As with any journey, you must look at and anticipate the obstacles in between where you are currently and where you want to finish. You must decide on the route or path. You must prepare yourself for any hiccups, roadblocks, and possible detours. You must pack with you all the things you will need along the way. You must do your research. The planning, research, and contemplation are all passive actions. They are necessary to prepare yourself, but you haven’t stepped off the starting block yet.
During the journey, you are actually taking massive action. These actions are moving you forward. You are following the plans, overcoming the obstacles, taking the steps. You are in it! These actions are riskier than passive actions. You may face failure, challenges, and make tough decisions and have to get back up again. This is the part of the journey that builds your character, creates the stories of your life, enhances your human experience. The journey is the most important part!
But your approach and attitude through the journey are going to flavor the entire experience and will impact whether or not you accomplish the goal AND whether or not you arrive at the goal either drained and miserable or super energized, proud, and excited about your next challenge. Because, you see, both Passive & Massive Actions require emotional fuel.
It is here that I like to think about the vehicle that propels you forward- that’s YOU. You are the vehicle in this journey. And the fuel you put into yourself is the fuel that keeps you going through all the necessary actions and steps, figuring out the road blocks, climbing the mountains, etc.
What kind of Fuel are you using??
Recall in the first blog that Thoughts create Feelings. Feelings drive Actions. And actions drive results.
Therefore, in order to take the actions you want to take, you have to create the FEELINGS that will drive those actions. And where do feelings come from? Your thoughts.
I like to decide on the Feelings I want to put into my tank first, then find the thoughts that create the feeling.
Exercise 1: Explore the possible emotional fuels you might need
Think about which emotions create the energy and strength you need to take the necessary actions. Write them down!
Having your actions planned out may be helpful if you are struggling with this concept. If you write out your food protocol, your movement protocol (workout plan), and your plan on how often you want to have a joy eat, then ask yourself- what do I need to be feeling to commit and stick with this plan?
Having your compelling reason & goal is also helpful. What emotions does it conjure up when you read it?
Another GREAT question is: How do you think you will feel when you get to your goal? Often, that is the same feeling that you can feel now that will actually drive you forward.
Here is a list of a few examples:
Determined, Committed, Dedicated, Motivated, Driven, Compelled, Excited, Ready
Exercise 2: Decide which emotion you want to create and find the thought that creates it
From your list, choose which emotions you will need to fuel your journey. Then for each feeling, figure out a thought (a sentence in your brain) that creates that emotion for you.
For instance, if I want to create Determined, then I might choose: I know how to lose weight, I love my reason, and I am going to do this!
If I want to create Motivated, then I might choose: I am going to rock this journey!
If I want to create Excited, then I might choose: I am going to learn more about authentic self during this challenge
You want to choose thoughts that truly resonate with you, not forced thoughts. They must be believable. Sometimes you may have to get a more neutral thought before moving to a positive thought. As an example, you can add a qualifier such as “I am learning to…”
Exercise 3: Practice these new thoughts OFTEN.
The way our brains are designed, repetition is the key to learning new ways of thinking and then making them more habitual over time. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Practice, practice, practice.
Write out all the thoughts and feelings you want to practice and read them daily, multiple times a day, or during your usual moments of decision (right before meals, right before a workout, etc.).
Many adults want to skip this part. They’ve been practicing their current thoughts for so long that it is SO MUCH EASIER to just keep thinking the same way. But then you don’t change.
You need to decide- Do I live with my current thoughts, current feelings, current actions, and current results or do I really want to change them?
It’s not a matter of making “right” or “wrong” decisions, it’s about taking full responsibility for making that choice.
If you don’t change, that is a choice. Own it.
If you want to change, that is a choice. Own it.
Let’s get back to the Guilt for a minute…
This series is specifically written for people who feel guilt on a regular basis, especially when it comes to working on themselves and their weight loss or health goals. But the following message is the same for ANY negative emotion that is holding you back!
In part 1 we start breaking down the guilt over our weight loss goal by learning how feelings are created (by our thoughts), taking responsibility for those thoughts/feelings and knowing they are optional. We then worked on creating a goal and reason that we love.
In part 2, we discuss cultivating the emotional fuel that propels us forward. As you may be aware at this point, GUILT is probably not the best fuel. You will begin working on your new emotions, as described above, but what if the negative one keeps coming up?
With any emotion that may not be serving you, it is important to process the emotion without resisting it. Resisting or fearing emotions makes them bigger. Having negative emotions is not “wrong”, you just need to be able to manage emotions in a way that serves you. Be willing to feel them all! You are human.
PROCESS A NEGATIVE EMOTION
When you have a negative emotion, you want to notice it and acknowledge it without reacting. Be open to feeling the emotion as you explore what is going on. This is called Allowing an emotion.
Get curious with yourself and find the thoughts creating the emotion. Recall that these thoughts are optional and you can choose them or let them go.
You can give yourself space & time with this process, but just be careful of indulging in an emotion or dwelling on it in a way that keeps you stuck.
As you process a negative emotion with openness, you will begin to feel it dissipate or work its way through- notice if you feel like you are moving forward. This may happen over a short period or over a few days. Deeply engrained emotions with a lot of trauma may take longer. It is a process.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…
I am so glad you are on this journey! Next week I will be back for Part 3: Deciding what to think about other people’s opinions and your own.
Hopefully you will have your goal, compelling reason, emotional fuel thoughts, and your action plans! Make it a goal this week to do all the steps. Maybe even a few massive actions?? You will learn so much about yourself in this process.
As always, if you are interested in coaching one on one, please send me an email to get more information!