Ever started building healthy habits...and then stopped?
Either it gets 'too hard', or you go 'okay I've done that now, I don't need to do it anymore'.
Soon enough your brain and body 'reset' to the old familiar routines. You go back to 'normal'. And, if you're like most people, you create (or reinforce) a story about yourself that you can't do it. It wasn't meant to be. You just weren't in the right head space. It just wasn't the right time.
In this video I'm sharing some ideas to help you change that start/stop habit loop and build trust with yourself. To transform into a person who follows through and does what you say you'll do (in a way that feels good to you).
Grab the Building Self-trust Worksheet here: https://livemorelife.kartra.com/page/72ws
How many times have you started a project – like a weight loss program, or an exercise routine or learning any new skill- and then you’ve gone okay for a little bit, made some progress and then you’ve stopped? You give up or you quit.
Either it gets 'too hard', or you get complacent. You go… ‘oh ok I've done that now, I know how it’s done, I don't need to do it anymore'. Your brain and your body will soon enough 'reset' to the old familiar routines. You go back to 'normal'. By the way those normal routines were the ones that created the original situation that you wanted to change in the first place.
And, of course, if you're like most people, you then create or reinforce a story about yourself that you can't do it. It wasn't meant to be. It’s not the right time. You weren't in the right headspace.
I want to change that.
It's my mission to help people achieve their goals in a way they can sustain. You know, if you're losing weight, then I want to help you not only reach your goal, but to actually live at your ideal weight. I want you to keep it, for the rest of your life.
In this video I'm sharing some ideas to help you build that trust with yourself. To transform yourself into a person who follows through. Who does what they say you're going to do. What you say you’re going to do, in a way that feels good to you. I want to help you change the stop/start/stop/start habit loop.
A quick introduction. Hi, for those of you who don't know me my name is Brian Grainger, and I’m a Life Coach and a Weight Loss Coach, and I transformed my relationship with myself back in 2006. And when I sorted that out I lost 50 kgs and have maintained that 50 kilo loss ever since. Now it's my mission to help people transform their thinking and change the habits that created weight gain in the first place. Turning them into healthy new ones, so that you can not only reach your goal, but also keep it. You can live more of your life at goal. If you’re interests in that you can check out more of my work at LiveMoreLife.com.au While you're there you might also want to check out my other videos and grab my 10 secrets to Long term weight loss. There’s also a worksheet for today's video called Building Self-Trust - you can find that link in the description.
So, if you’re still watching, I’m guessing you want to create some change in your life. You have a desire for things to be different, than they are. Perhaps, you've got a compelling reason to get started.
If so, I love to adopt a quote here, a belief from Marie Forleo. She says "you wouldn't have the dream, if you didn't already have what it takes within you to make it happen". Just know that about yourself. I think it’s really nice to know that you already have the capacity. If you have the desire for change, you already have the capacity to fulfill it.
Change can be a simple as the decision to do something differently. I’ll say that again change can be a simple as the decision to do something differently.
Now, of course, the mistake that I see most people make, when they want to make change is then that they underestimate the number of repetitions of that decision, that they're going to have to make. Or they don't consider the types of situations and circumstances they'll be in when they need to make that decision again. Chances are, it's probably not in the same state as when you made the initial decision to change.
For example, I know that one of the things I changed in my weight loss journey was to give up the wine every afternoon. It used to be a habit that I had - finish work, knock off for the afternoon and then we’d have happy hour. Have some wine, some nuts, some cheese and crackers, something like that, and it became a habit. Just something we did every day. Of course, I was also overdoing it at parties and gatherings (you know, all those things we used to be able to do before the restrictions of COVID-19). Having said that, it’s important to remember to go…’if I want to change, reduce my wine intake, have it less often’, and I’m making that decision at another time, then I have to remember what it is the situation going to be like when I’m there? In the afternoon, am I going to be tired or exhausted mentally drained, is my willpower going to eb low because of all my decision making throughout the day? How will I make that choice, that decision, in that state?
Or, if it was at a party or a celebration of some description, when there was social pressure, when there was social mirroring (other people were doing it), things like that. It’s really important to actually consider, what is the circumstance that I’m going to be in when I need to make that decision?
And, don’t underestimate the number of times you’re going to have top make that decision again, and again, ana again. You might be going to have to make that decision more than you think. Maybe you’re going to have to make that decision again for the rest of your life. It’s not a ‘one and done’.
You know, sometimes I see people make the other main mistake. And that is you think that you've made this decision enough times now. It no longer feels like an effort, or something you have to think about on purpose. It’s gotten easier. And I see so many people get caught in this trap. They mistake competency for mastery. You know, just because you notice that you can do something - doesn't mean you do do it automatically yet.
You know, it’s a bit like learning to do squats or play an instrument or to do algebra. You know? At first it's hard and confusing and perhaps painful. Then, with some practice it starts to get easier. You start to figure it out. You gain fitness or competency or understanding. And then after more practice you realise that you can do it. You’re ready for more challenges; maybe more reps, or a harder piece or a harder problem. But of course, if you think 'oh well’ I know how to do that now, I don't need to do it anymore, and you stop practising, then you lose the understanding, you lose the muscle memory. Yes you might know how to do it - but you can't actually do it at will.
I want you to hear this, noticing that you can do it – the new behaviour that you want - and that it's working, is the sign to do it MORE not do it less. Noticing that you can do it is the sign that you need to do it more, not less.
I’ll give you an example from my life. For instance, I've been working on my core strength over the last few weeks of staying safe at home, and I've noticed that I can hold my plank longer, that the bicycle kicks are getting... easier, let’s say. But I know that if I stop now I'll revert, and then they'll eventually they’ll get hard again. You know? Then, chances are, I'll resist going through the difficult learning phase once more. My brain will remember that it's uncomfortable, or that they’re hard, or painful. So that's why I continue to practice. Because they’ve gotten easier, because I’ve gotten better at it, I need to keep practising.
It's also why I continue to practice all of the skills that helped me lose weight in a healthy way. The fact that I've practised them enough to make them easy, or to make so many of them second nature and my default choice. is the reason to continue. It’s not the reason to stop.
Mastery is a constant practice. It’s a discipline, not a destination.
Now, I do think I'm a master of making healthy food choices for my body. I'm a master of looking after myself, mentally, physically and emotionally. I've become a master of saying ‘No’ to self-sabotage. Because I have practised these things continuously, for 13 odd years now, they have become part of my identity. Part of my default thinking. But I still choose to practise them, on purpose.
So how does that help you? Well, firstly, I want you to know that all of the skills for success here can be learned. You can build them, one small change at a time - and accumulate.
You know I love making small, consistent changes. You know so often I see people wanting to make a change. And we’re wanting to change everything at once, or we want to make big sweeping changes. When we do, we forget that we have to go into the learning phase for each of those changes – and that can be overwhelming. It can be too much, too hard. So, sticking to one small change at a time makes it easier. It makes it so that it doesn't require so much willpower - you're not adding too much extra work for your brain. Brains don’t like extra work.
The good news here is that often how you do one thing is how you do many things in your life. So learning to change in one area, to develop one new skill, can then go and apply to many areas. It really is just a matter of doing that one small change enough for that change to become easy, and then continuing to do it, and moving onto the next one.
I really want you to consider this, if you can just have a small amount of change, a small thing in the learning phase at any one time, then you can keep a constant, manageable amount of growth in your life at all times. I’m 13 years in and I’m still working on improving myself. Becoming the best person I can be, living the best life I can live. Developing my skills one small piece at a time.
When you’ve practised the decision making enough to make it easy, we get to keep doing it without so much effort. That’s when it’s time to introduce the next thing and continue. Not introduce the next thing and stop. So that’s the first thing I want you to know, that small changes are the way to go. It’s important, it’s easier, it’s totally the way that it really works for success. Small change.
Secondly, that your current situation (you know, the one that you want to change) is simply the consequence of the skills and the thought routines that you have been practising. So, you’re already capable of doing the work – which is kind of fun right?
To help you today, I want you to examine some of those thought routines. And, if you haven’t already, grab the worksheet. I’ve got some pages there for you to do this exercise, with the questions there, and we’ve got some prompts for the second half, for building the self trust. So do grab the worksheet. And then ask yourself (or grab pen and paper, it works fine)….
What are you currently believing about yourself? I really encourage you to give yourself 10-15 minutes for this (set a timer), sit down with piece of paper and just write down all of the thoughts that you are believing are true about you, at the moment. It’s probably a lot of them there. Right? Don’t edit them while you’re doing this. We call this a thought download. Don’t edit them don’t judge them, or think that they should be different. It’s not wrong or right that you have these beliefs. It’s just what you have been thinking. You want to get them out.
You want to pay attention – just notice – if there’s a little voice in the back of your brain answering back. You know, sometimes you’ll think ‘yeah I can do this, I am capable’ and that little voice at the back of your mind goes ‘No you’re not - look at all the ways you’ve failed before’. Look for that self-critical voice, look for the judgemental voice or look for the one that answers back with ‘no you can’t.
Now, that’s just your primitive brain doing what it’s supposed to do. But you also want to be aware of it because partially it’s going to reveal that you are believing a different thought here. So, write those ones down too. Keep writing. Keep writing. What else Do I believe. What else is true about me? When you think you're done, stop, and then 'What else?' What else do I believe? What else is true? What am I believing about me?
When you're done - take a moment, take a breath. Set aside the judgement. Remember, we’re just going for awareness at the moment. That they’re there. Cause once you have awareness of these thoughts – and you may discover that you uncover new ones, ones that you didn’t realise were there during this process – then you get to decide… are they helping? Do I want to keep them? Is it useful to me to keep believing this, or not?
So once you have your list, and you’ve taken a moment, taken a breath, gotten into that non-judgemental space then go back and ask yourself (this is the next page of questions) ...
What belief out of this list is creating my current results? My current situation? If your answer is ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I can’t find any’ then go back to ‘what am I believing about myself that’s creating this?’ Fish around for it. What belief is creating the situation that I have right now?
I’ve shared in one of my other videos that I was making self-sabotaging choices with my behaviour because I was believing that I didn’t like myself very much, and I didn’t think anyone else would like me either. So I didn’t deserve looking after. I wasn’t worth the effort. Those were beliefs that were creating self-sabotage for me.
So, what belief is creating your current situation or result? Then what are you also believing that's stopping you or holding you back from being the way you want to be? I can’t do it. I’m no good at those things, I’m too stupid, I don’t know how. Right? I don’t know – it’s an insidious thought. Write down the things you are believing that are stopping you from being where, or how, you want to be? It might be one, or many.
The next step is to ask...
What would I need to believe, what do you need to believe, to improve? To move you forward? What do you need to believe to move you forward? And, if you’re not sure, do some brainstorming here. Have a think about what it might be like to be a person who already does the habit, the skill, the behaviour that you want to do. What would they be thinking about it? If you already had this figured out, what would you think then?
Okay, so spend some time answering these questions. And the benefit of doing that, is just to bring to the surface all of your awareness so you can understand. Okay, I’ve created the place that I’m at now, simply because of these thoughts. These sentences that I have in my brain. You don’t have to keep them. There’s other ones here I could choose, and try on, like an experiment to see how they work. To see if they work better.
So, then we actually want to practise. We want to build our self trust, so that you can actually follow through. You can rely on yourself for doing what you say you’re going to do. And the good news it, that there’s some evidence here from Positive Psychology, of skills, of techniques you can use to actually build trust with yourself. It’s a learned skill. Once again, I’m going to encourage you to practise them every day this week. And, if you grab the worksheet, I have seven days worth of this building self trust exercise, so that you can repeat it. Need more weeks? Print it out again.
So here are six things that can actually help you build Self-trust:
#1 (It’s kind of the end goal, but it’s also the place you have to start). Keep promises and honour commitments to yourself. This is where my secret of small, consistent change can allow you that practice. Can give you that sense of momentum, right? Look for all of the little ways, each and every day, that you did keep your commitments and your promises. Don't try and take on too much. Don’t try and be perfect here. Be aware that your brain may be tempted to look at it in black or white, or all or nothing. It’ll probably give you things like 'I didn't' or all of the ways you didn't. You didn’t do that. Okay, if that happens, that’s okay. Your brain’s just doing it’s thing. Allow yourself to put that aside, and go back to the question… How did I honour my commitments today? How did I keep my promises?
You know, sometimes we even keep promises to the commitments that we don’t want to keep. If so, write those down. It’s just evidence that you can keep promises and honour commitments to yourself, you know? Are you a person who believes in cleaning your teeth everyday? Do you think that’s a healthy habit to do? Did you brush your teeth today? Did you do it twice? If so, you honoured a commitment to yourself, okay. Go looking for all the ways (and write them down). Actually acknowledge them. This is what’s really important - that we often undermine, or we ignore the good things we are doing, the way we are showing up fulfilling our promises and our commitments – so instead teach you brain to pay attention to them. Write them down.
#2 Set and maintain your personal boundaries. Now this is a challenge for many people I work with. So this means saying 'Yes' to things you truly want or are truly willing to do, and 'No' to some things - like requests or expectations from others that you actually don't really want to do. [By the way, if you are a people pleaser and always doing everything for everyone else, and never for yourself, I encourage you to go and check out video #22 from June 2019 called Rethink People Pleasing. It might give you some extra help with that].
This idea of setting boundaries and maintaining them can also mean things like avoiding people who are ‘energy sinks’ or who are undermining your self-esteem and self-worth. Or, if you can't avoid them – you know they live in the same house with you or something like that – then limiting the impact that their actions have on you. The way you do that is by being proactive with your self-care. I sometimes imagine a glass wall (like a cylinder) between me and people who are negative energy sinks. They can say things, I can hear them, they can do things, but nothing they can do can touch me. The old ‘water off a duck’s back’ if you like.
This idea of setting boundaries can mean monitoring your input. Paying attention to what you’re feeding into your brain. Often we’ll take on things and it will shift our perception, it will shift our attitude or it will shift our mood, without us necessarily noticing. Like I’ve noticed this a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic with people scrolling Facebook or checking the news again and again, multiple times a day (or all day) and then wondering why they’re anxious. Wondering why they’re nervous, or feeling like it’s all chaotic, it’s all chaos, it’s all detrimental. Wondering why they’re feeling depressed or anxious.
Interestingly, I spoke with one of my clients today and they said they’d been watching things like horror movies and thrillers and then dramas with gore and violence, and then finding themselves becoming more anxious. That’s not a coincidence. What you take in starts to sink into your brain. It actually happens the other way as well. Interestingly over the last couple of weeks during the self-care, self isolation at home, that without the travel that I would normally be doing, I haven’t been listening to as many of the inspiring podcasts that I would normally be listening to. And then I noticed myself, the other day, feeling a little flat, feeling less inspired than is my normal state. I’m like ‘oh, I realise that I’ve cut off one of the positive inputs into my brain’.
So again, this is setting and maintaining personal boundaries. Right? It’s important to me, to have this, so I’m going to do what’s right for me. You know, look, this can be as simple as going to bed on time. Set yourself a boundary – I need good sleep, I’m actually going to go to bed, instead of staying up late binge watching the latest series, or scrolling Facebook, playing a game.
#3 To build self-trust live according to your own standards and ethics. Actually notice the expectations you have created for yourself and for others, and ask yourself… Are they realistic? Can you actually live up to them? Are they fair?
I spoke to another client this week, who was telling me she was thinking it was terribly unfair that her husband had to be home so many days over the past several weeks to look after the kids and things because she had meetings and things on. Or because he couldn’t do things because he had to stay at home (and things like that) and how unfair that was. And then I asked her how many days and nights, she’s at home? Even though she also works and has meetings and things – and that was all of the time. She didn’t realise until that moment that she had a standard that was one thing for her, that was fair – I should eb here all the time – yet that was unfair for her husband.
So watch out for your standards here, are they fair? Are the kind? Are they realistic? Can you actually live up to them? Do you have a different set of standards for everyone else and for yourself? If so, how’s that working out for you? Is it helping? Set standards that you can, and actually want, to live up to and then just pay attention. Are you living up to them, yes or no? It can be helpful, by the way, to write those down.
#4 Be aware of, and allow yourself to experience and process, all of your feelings. All of your emotions. So often, I see people sabotaging their health by avoiding feelings by buffering against them, by thinking they’re bad or that they shouldn’t have them or that they don’t want them, or they can’t handle them.
I want you to remember all feelings are created by hormones and neurochemicals in your body. So you can handle any of them. You made them. You created them. They don't have to be 'bad'. Nothing has gone wrong. Feelings have arisen as a result of thinking that you’ve been having. That’s how our body works. Nothings going wrong, nothings to be avoided. Everything is working perfectly.
So allow yourself to experience feeling, to understand why there here, what signal they’re telling you. I think I spoke about it in a previous video that feelings are a light, an indicator light coming on in what I think of as an aircraft cockpit. The light coming on is here to tell me something. It doesn’t mean it’s an emergency, it doesn’t mean anything bad is happening, I just have to notice it and understand it. I can’t do that if I’m avoiding it by being back in the fridge or back in the pantry.
#5 Speak and Act with kindness towards yourself (and others, but with your yourself). Watch out for judgement, comparison, self-criticism. Notice the language that you use, both internally (in your mind) and that you say out loud, about yourself. Are you speaking to yourself like you would speak to a loved one? If not, can you change that? Can you direct your mind? Maybe this is one of he new skills that you want to develop.
#6 Prioritise your Self-care. Now. priority means first in order. Prioritising does not mean…’yeah I put it there and I move it down the list as everything else comes up, until I get to last, or it doesn’t get done’. Some of you will be having your brains give you all of the reasons why you can’t - I have too much on, I have to many other responsibilities, people need me etc. Okay. If you notice that, simply ask "okay with all of these reasons brain, how can I prioritise my self-care?". Now maybe you have to go back to #2 changing your personal boundaries, maybe some things have to be said ‘No’ to. Or maybe you have to go ‘it’s totally possible, how will I do that?’. So much of our self-care happens in our brain. How are you speaking to yourself? Are you being Realistic? What standards have you set? We’ve talked about these already.
Ok, so there’s six techniques that you can use to build self trust. One other thing that I want to mention is, of course, is that it’s important to go and remember to acknowledge our accomplishments. All too often we focus our attention on what isn’t working or what hasn't worked, and we brush aside things that we've done well. that's ok, that what our primitive survival brain does. It’s evolutionarily learned that it takes notice of the bad things, because the bad things might kill us. Good things kept you alive? Ok don’t worry about that, we’re good to go. No, no, no, you just have to direct your brain again to pay attention to what did work. What you want to repeat.
So each day this week, I encourage you to reflect on the steps you’ve taken to build self-trust. To start to move towards mastery, and there's prompts for that in the worksheet each and every day, as I said. So, don't forget to download it and complete it.
I want to remind you that if you do need help with any of the steps – like changing your self-talk, or prioritising your self-care, or stopping the people pleasing, or making those small consistent changes – maybe you need some help to decide where to start, which ones to do first, how to make it realistic - then let's have a conversation. Head to LiveMoreLife.com.au and request a free consultation. You can use that time to draw on my experience of helping people go about changing and adjusting these habits in a way you can sustain. You can get some help with 1 challenge or 1 belief that’s holding you back. You really can have the life and the results you want.
Well, if this has been helpful for you, give me a like, give me a heart. If you're watching on you tube or my video blog make sure you subscribe so you get notified of each new video. And if you do know someone who would be helped by hearing this message today, then please tag them in the comments below or send them the link to the video. I want to help as many people as possible build their self trust and create more of the life they want to be living.
For now, let me know in the comments, what will you commit to this week, to build your self-trust and start on the path to mastery? I’d love to know.
For now, thank you for joining me, thank you for watching. Have an Amazing day, and I’ll look forward to talking with you again soon. Bye for now.
After losing my 50 kg I've made it my mission to help others transform their minds, overcome emotional eating and create the life they want to be living.