“It has to hurt if it’s to heal!”
(What movie is that from? If you know, read to the bottom for instructions and you might get a prize!)
Making big life changes, like changes in how you eat and nourish your body, is supposed to be uncomfortable!
This is the type of conversation that keeps coming up, even with myself, for many years now: “I need to wake up early so I can exercise, but it’s hard!” “I should be eating more vegetables, but it’s just so hard to go out of our normal routine.” “I’d like to eat better, but this is just so different than what I’m used to eating.”
Yes, it is different, and yes, it is hard! And that is GOOD. So, so very good.
We live in a world where we expect to be comfortable. Hey, right now I’m typing this up as I sit in my favorite chair, my electric blanket on my lap, my fuzzy socks on, and a warm mug of herbal tea. If that doesn’t say comfort, I don’t know what does!
But in this day when we are so spoiled by being comfortable all the time, we tend to fight discomfort and to think that it means something is wrong. Nothing is wrong! In fact, it means you’re doing it right!
For example, a while back someone told me that they had gone to the gym and lifted weights. They hadn’t exercised in a long time, so I was so proud of them for starting! And then they said that they didn’t go back the next day because they were sore. They hadn’t gone back, and therefore never built the habit of going to the gym. They assumed the sore muscles meant something was wrong, and that they would do more damage by going back for more exercise.
But here’s the secret, the majority of the time muscle soreness from exercise is best relieved by repeating the same activity again. By all means, never injure yourself, and take it easy if you are feeling sore or otherwise not at your best, but this person could have easily solved their problem by embracing the uncomfortable and repeating the same actions that caused it to begin with.
This is also true of our mental muscles. When we are trying to improve our health and something makes us uncomfortable, we should be glad for the hard because of what it’s teaching us!
- You’re just learning how to cook and you set the grill on fire (might be a true story of mine), that’s great! You have now learned how NOT to grill chicken.
- You really, really don’t want to cook, and you really miss your regular Friday night pizza delivery? It’s ok to uncomfortably walk to the kitchen and make a super simple meal of scrambled eggs for the family because you just can’t bring yourself to do anything more.
- You don’t like the idea of new foods and/or recipes, what if you don’t like them? Oh, but what if you do?
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not our fault that we resist change. It’s actually hardwired into our brains that it’s safer in the familiar, and our brains will try to keep us in the current situation, even if that situation is not a good place for us to be.
Have you ever experienced this?
Maybe you were moving into a new, nice home, but a part of you was frustrated with the moving process (so many boxes, how did we accumulate this much stuff!?) and you worried about how much you would miss your old house and neighborhood.
Changes in your health work exactly the same way. A new, better body is right there waiting for you! And yet you somehow can’t get there. Why not? Most likely because somewhere inside of you, you are resisting the change because it’s uncomfortable, which keeps you stuck in old habits and self-sabotage.
So what do you do about this? Well, I’m not going to tell you, at least not yet. In one week I’ll be back here giving you all the great info on how to get past the resistance so you can have what you actually want.
I actually just lied a little bit, because I am going to give you the first step and ask you to practice it for the next week. I want you to start making note of each time you resist change. It often looks like: “I should do this, but…” “I shouldn’t eat these cookies, but I’ve had a stressful day.” The words “should” and “but” are big clues. You get bonus points if you get a notebook and write these down, and even more bonus points if you send me examples! (Emily@healthbyemily.com)
I feel like sending out a prize! So send me some examples of when you find yourself resisting change, and/or tell me who said the quote above (without Google giving you the answer!).
Keep in mind that some of the best things in life come from uncomfortableness. Our beautiful kids, for example. I have never heard a single woman say that her pregnancy was comfortable and enjoyable. There are certainly enjoyable parts of it, of course (those sweet little kicks!), but overall it’s one long, exhausting, nauseating, heavy ordeal. And labor! Ha! Giving birth is far from a spa day, and the uncomfortableness doesn’t end even then.
So why do we do it? Because those gorgeous babies are so worth it.
Having a healthy body is so very, very worth it. We’ll chat more about it all next week!
This is part 1 of a 4 part series on how to finally reach your goals. You can find part 2 here about your secret weight-loss weapon. Read part 3 here to learn what to do once you have your Why, and watch for part 4 coming soon!
If you’d like to learn more about how our brains resist change, here are a couple of articles about why our brains resist change: