DISCLAIMER: As much as I’d like to have a visit with you if you think I might be the right coach for you, this post isn’t about coaching. Even if you work with someone, they might just focus on the program and not get into a topic like this – even though it’s critical for long term success. This post is based on my personal journey since 2010. I don’t expect it to resonate with everyone, but it might help one person.
You’ve done it before. You’ve started a program. And…then you quit.
I started and quit many times.
And then something changed.
You might know my story, but I’m digging a bit deeper in this post.
There are several things that contribute to “success”. Let’s use a working definition of success in terms of a heath transformation as…
HEALTH TRANSFORMATION SUCCESS: Sticking with a program long enough to reach a goal and then having the tools to maintain it.
I didn’t have the THE mysterious thing that I needed to make a health transformation success happen before. Was it a piece of knowledge I was missing? Was it a character flaw? Was it a weakness in my personality??
And then *POOF* it all clicked. It made sense.
It wasn’t fear of dying early was on my mind this whole time, even though the doctors were quite clear about that risk. That was the catalyst for the real work I needed to do.
It was a mindset shift! I needed to figure out WHY I was OK with quitting repeatedly. That’s actually out of character for me.
I needed to be willing to be vulnerable, get my ego out of the way, and be brutally honest with myself as I looked for answers to questions I didn’t want to ask.
I did this to myself. That’s obvious. But WHY?????
The reflective work to find the “WHY do I keep quitting” was THE thing I needed to do.
Highly successful people have demonstrated motivation and determination in other areas of their lives. But they will still sabotage their own self-care! Right? I did. And then I used “lack of motivation” as an excuse. Or blamed my screwed-up priorities. Those are easy to grab.
But they aren’t the reasons. They are the results of something else.
As a math teacher, I dealt with this daily. Apathetic teens were willing to give up the high school diploma instead of challenging their fixed mindset about how they couldn’t learn algebra and/or geometry. (And I suspect there is at least one adult reading this right now who probably had to power through that particular mindset, too!)
This health stuff and the math stuff are more closely related than most people think.
Be brave. Ask yourself the hard questions…
- WHY are you repeating this pattern?
- Why don’t you think you deserve to fix this??
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing this alone or working with a trainer or coach. If quitting feels like a better option than pushing through and figuring out WHY you want to quit, there is something underneath that is the driver for what you might think is a a lack of motivation or a weakness in your determination-muscle.
Even if you have a coach who is willing to engage in the work with you about these hard questions, if you’re not willing to dig in, the result will be the same. The pattern will repeat.
My hard truth was that I didn’t believe I deserved to treat myself better. It felt like I hadn’t earned it.
My self-worth was based on what I did for others. I was invisible unless I was reflected in another person’s opinion of me. I wasn’t actually me. I was some type of character in my own life based on my “roles” (wife, teacher, daughter, sister, etc).
I’m NOT blaming anyone other than myself for how I felt. No one expected me to become invisible – quite the contrary.
People usually want the people they love to be happy and thriving. But I wasn’t happy, wasn’t thriving, and nothing was going to change until I figured out why I didn’t care enough to change.
I’m not a psychologist, so I’m sure there is more under there to explore, but I needed to have the epiphany that I wasn’t properly caring for one of God’s kids…me. I needed to step back and look at what was really going on.
And I needed to accept that my self-neglect, which I thought was honorable because I was putting others first, would actually harm them over time as I developed more serious health issues.
Sick, unhappy Tammy would not be a good partner for my husband and would not be a good teacher for my students.
After that, I approached everything like it was a problem at work. What’s not working? What will fix it? Work. The. Problem.
The answer for me was to give up pretending I knew what I was doing, give up control, get help, and do what I was told. Period.
I resigned to trust that process and be patient.
There have been a few changes on “Team Tammy” as people either needed to leave or I needed something different. That’s OK and expected. It’s part of the growth process. If you take this route of working with a trainer or coach, your job is to find the right one to be on your team.
Refer to DISCLAIMER above! I am NOT the right coach for everybody. Not even going to pretend that’s the case. There are plenty of coaches and trainers out here doing this work online and in person. Do your research. Trust your gut!
My underlying resolve to keep all of this going for myself remains in tact because I was able to adopt a mindset that values self-care without making it seem like selfishness.