Many teachers, from business to spirituality, advocate for seeing from the end:
“Always begin with the end in mind.” – Stephen Covey
“Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled and continue feeling that it is fulfilled until that which you feel objectifies itself.” – Neville Goddard
“Fake it ’till you make it.” – Unknown
What does that mean and how do you apply it in the realm of health improvement? Let’s break it down into its component parts:
- Having a goal
- Using your imagination
- Taking inspired action
Having a goal
Goals are immensely useful for setting a course or direction, and they can speed up the change process by creating a measurable outcome. Without a goal, we might “start running to get in shape,” which is great. But when you add a goal such as “run a 5k in 3 months,” you can more easily reverse engineer and create benchmarks for arriving at the goal. In fact, the path of action lays itself out for you, enabling you to plan for increasing distance, speed or duration of your training. The goal of running a 5k in 3 months implies the means of attainment.
In the realm of health improvement, very often weight loss, or a specific number of pounds shed, is used as the goal. While this can in some ways be a useful measure of progress, it is also problematic. “Losing weight” does not contain any information about the means of attainment, and in fact, there are many unhealthy ways to go about it.
A better goal for health improvement might be, “eating a whole foods diet,” or “avoiding sugar and flour.” With these goals, you can reverse engineer a path and make benchmarks along the way.
Using your imagination
This is the fun, creative part. What will it feel like when the wish is fulfilled?
Imagine what it will look and feel like to be free from cravings, have more energy, less bloating, less inflammation, better sleep, less joint pain…and free of the mental and emotional weight that comes with not being in control.
Can you imagine being free right now? Free of the identity of the person who is not in control, who can look at a cookie and can be detached or indifferent? The person who is good at making the best food choices, time and time again? By embodying this version of yourself in the present, you can create the actions of the person you want to become.
Taking inspired action
Everything you have ever done and thought is what has led you to this moment. If you want to be someone different in the future, it will be created by having different thoughts and actions than you previously had. You must think and act differently.
This is where the identity conflict comes in: We want a goal, but we don’t want to change our behavior. That’s not going to work. This is part of the resistance that comes up when people want to have different health outcomes, but they don’t really want to give up their favorite foods. No doubt, giving up your favorite foods is giving up part of your identity, your likes and dislikes. And this can create a sense of loss, or anchorlessness. Who am I if I don’t love pumpkin scones? In the Sweet Freedom Society community, we often talk about the feelings of loss. That comes from cutting off the primary sources of dopamine (namely sugar and flour) that you have come to rely on to feel good.
What does it look and feel like to be free of sugar and flour? I can tell you what it’s like for me.
- heightened sensitivity to the inherent sweetness of vegetables (which creates constant delight)
- total freedom around conventional baked goods: the chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins are no longer calling my name! I can look at them and be totally disinterested.
- free to think about other things besides what treat I’m going to have (you’d be surprised at how much time this takes up)
- free of the guilt and shame of not being able to do what I said I was going to do (i.e. not have bread or chocolate)
- free of the worry of what will fit or feel comfortable
- mental clarity, free of brain fog and random forgetfulness
- better skin (haven’t had a pimple in years, not since the last time I had tortilla chips)
I could go on, but those are some ideas of things you can imagine for the “wish fulfilled.”
And of course, you can apply these principles to any goal or behavior change that you may want to attain. And you have to want it more than the fear of letting go. Be brave! Just go!