Ep #53: Why You Don’t Want to Change

Strong as a Working Mom with Carrie Holland | Why You Don’t Want to Change
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I received some amazing advice recently from a peer coach. In fact, it blew me away, so I knew I needed to share it with all of you. It helped me see my own fear of change in an entirely new light, and my hope is that it will do the same for you. The best news is, it’s super simple.

If you’re waiting for the right time to change, let me help you stop waiting and actually get started. Instead of just freaking ourselves out and creating reasons to stay still and avoid change, we can take action and get things done. When you hear what I’m sharing today, you won’t need to wait for change to seem less scary, uncomfortable, or impossible before you get started.

Tune in this week to discover how to create change in your life right now, instead of waiting until you feel ready. I’m sharing some of the most common thoughts that come up for people about why they can’t make a change in their eating or movement plan right now, why not making a change today doesn’t mean changing tomorrow will be easier, and I’m showing you what you can do to start creating change in your life, even when it feels uncomfortable.

Are you ready to eat, move, and think in a way that gets you strong both physically and mentally? You deserve to have both no matter how busy you are, and I can help. I’m opening up my one-on-one coaching program for new clients, and I would love to work with you. Click here to learn more about working with me.

Be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can follow along and engage with you!

What You Will Discover:

  • How you’re probably waiting for change to feel less uncomfortable before you go after something new.
  • Why change will never feel more comfortable than it does right now.
  • Some examples of why you might feel like it’s worth waiting before you make a change in your eating or exercise.
  • How you might be staying comfortably miserable in your status quo, instead of pushing yourself to change.
  • Why your desire to change has to be stronger than your desire to avoid discomfort.
  • How to start taking new and different actions instead of waiting to feel less uncomfortable about changing things up.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #53. If you’re waiting for the right time to change, let me help you stop waiting and get started.

Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high-achieving, busy, working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer, and Certified Life Coach, Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.

Hey, how are you? What’s new, what’s good? So, what’s good here, is today, I’m going to share with you some really, really great advice that I got recently from a peer coach. It blew me away enough that I decided to make an entire podcast out of it. It helped me see my own fear of change in an entirely new light, and I hope it will do the same for you.

What she said was not rocket science. This was not earth shattering. It wasn’t fancy. And it has probably been said to me in some way through the hundreds of self-help books I’ve read over the last few years. But when she said it, it stopped me in my tracks.

I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes when you hear something at the right day, at the right time, under the right circumstances, those words impact you in a way that they haven’t before. That was what happened during this coaching session. On this particular day, her words hit me in just the right way, and they’ve been sitting in my brain ever since.

This was in relation to some work I needed to do in my business to move things forward. Instead of taking action and getting things done, I was freaking myself out and creating all kinds of reasons to not do anything. I was wasting time hemming and hawing and dragging my feet, and basically not getting the things done that he needed to do.

When I explained all of my reasons or justifications for not taking action, my coach simply said, “Stop waiting for it to be less icky. You’re waiting for change to be less icky.” Those are her exact words. So, if you’ve hung around with me at all, by now you know there are words I say frequently.

Okay, is one of them. Right, is another. And apparently, icky is another. When I went to verify this with my husband, it took him all of five seconds to confirm that, yes, icky is one of my most frequently used words. My boys also seconded this. So, my coach was simply just speaking my language. But the point here is this, and this is what I want to pick apart today.

When it comes to change, when it comes to taking the first step, stop waiting for it to be less icky. Or to be more eloquent for those of you who don’t like icky, stop waiting for change to feel less uncomfortable in order to get started. That time is not coming.

So, let’s talk about this. This is what I want to get into today. I’m taking the advice that my coach gave me, and I’m diving in and picking it apart to make it useful for you too. Let’s take this idea, and I’m going to put it in a context of weight loss.

Let’s say you’ve decided you want to lose weight. Say you’re tired of living in a body that does not feel good to you, and you want to change it, and you want to lose weight. And you realize that in order to do this, you need to change the way you eat. But then you start thinking about it more, and then you start to play all kinds of games with yourself.

You may tell yourself something like, “This is not a good time to change up my diet. I don’t know how my kids will react if I stopped bringing home frozen french fries for dinner. Maybe I need to figure something else out so they won’t pitch a fit if we don’t have fries anymore.”

Or, “I’m so busy with my schedule, there’s absolutely no way I can make time to plan out my food in advance. There is no way I can carve out 10 minutes to write out my food the night before and plan out my next day’s worth of eating. I will wait until work settles down, and then I will start planning my food.”

Or if you want to start exercising, but then you think through the options and tell yourself there is no way you can get up early, because that would cause a huge disruption to your family schedule. There’s no way you could do that to your family. And maybe you need to wait until your morning schedule is just a little better in order to change things up.

These are all things I’ve heard during coaching sessions. Do you notice anything about these? They are all essentially the same. And while they are all reasons, they’re justifications I’ve heard from you about why you’re not changing your life.

The underlying theme is, that right now is too uncomfortable to change things up, so it’s better to wait until your kids get older or when work settles down or when your schedule improves. And then, it will be less uncomfortable to change up your life.

Like my coach did for me, I’m going to help you and call b.s. on all of that right here and now. Because here’s what happens. The longer you bring home frozen french fries for dinner, the more your kids and you get used to it and the harder it becomes to change it. It will not get easier as they get older.

Or once you put out that fire at work, another one emerges and your schedule remains crazy. So, please tell me when you have a nicely boxed lengthy period of time when you are not busy at work. Please tell me when that happens for any of you because I’ve yet to see it.

Or when you wait for your morning schedule to get better, something else comes up that takes time, and causes you to have to be out the door even earlier than you were before and your morning schedule just got a little more hectic. Do you see that?

So often you put off making a change, because you’re waiting for a time that it won’t be uncomfortable. That it won’t be icky. But that time doesn’t come. And then, you repeat the process. You find another reason that now is just not the right time to get started. It’s a game we play with ourselves. So, we entertain the idea of change because on a surface level, it sounds nice.

It would be awesome to lose 10 pounds. It would be awesome to get active again and start a regular exercise routine. It would be awesome to improve your relationship with your partner, and feel more connected and fulfilled in that relationship. It would be amazing to start the business or the graduate program or the passion project or learn the instrument or take the class.

The idea of all of these things sounds pretty sweet, right? It would be mind blowing to do and be something different. And while all of those things sound great, and doing any one of them would completely change your life, you don’t do them. Why?

Why don’t you take the first step and just get started already? Why don’t you buy vegetables instead of frozen pizza rolls at the grocery store this week? Why don’t you go for a walk instead of sitting in front of the TV? Why don’t you ask your partner, “Hey, can we talk?” Because you’re waiting for it to feel less uncomfortable. You’re waiting for it to be easier to do those things.

But deep down, you know that time is not coming. That magic time when it feels good to skip frozen pizza or fries in exchange for a salad and no one in your family puts up a stink, that time is not coming. That amazing moment when you feel totally confident walking into your first workout after a five-year hiatus, not coming.

That feeling of ease when you walk up to your partner and ask to talk about a problem, just not happening. So, you know this already. There is no time that you’re going to feel comfortable making a big change. If it’s important to you, if it means something to you, there is no time coming in the future when it’s going to feel comfortable or where it’s going to feel easy.

And that’s the game. We play this never-ending game with ourselves. If we hold out a little longer, or wait just a little longer, that big change we’re looking to make won’t be so uncomfortable. We convince ourselves that there will be a time when change will feel better. It really is a game.

And it’s a losing game because that magical time is not coming. And meanwhile, you’ve made zero progress and you stay miserably comfortable in your status quo. You eat the same foods and your weight stays the same. You stay stuck at the same dead-end job. You stay stuck in a funk in your relationship. No good.

So, what I want you to understand is this. If you are actually, really and truly, going to change your life, your desire to change has to be stronger than your desire to avoid discomfort. Your desire to shake up the default has to be stronger than your desire to avoid the ick. That is the only way you’re going to find yourself taking new and different actions.

It means you stop waiting for that perfect time when you feel less uncomfortable to start. There is no good time to stop getting takeout for lunch five days a week. There is no amount of reading or internet searching that will make you feel completely ready to start a new diet. There is no amount of thinking about it… that’s one I hear all the time… that will make you feel ready to change your life.

You give yourself all kinds of excuses as to why now is not a good time to change up your lifestyle. But what I want to offer you is this. What you’re doing is giving yourself an immediate short-term release that feels good for a few minutes.

When you decide, “Today is not the day to start food journaling because I’m going out to dinner tonight and it would be too hard to write it all down. I’m not ready to give up my Diet Coke habit because this is my busy season at work. Now’s not the time to start exercising because my kids’ sports schedule is too busy.”

What you’re doing is giving yourself an out. You’ve given yourself a justification. And when you decide you’re going to allow that justification for a minute, you feel better. There’s a short sigh of relief right there. You just took the pressure off yourself for one more day.

When you let the prospect of discomfort win out and you stick with the status quo, you feel better for a minute. That’s the short-term gratification talking. But then, when you wake up the next morning and weigh yourself or when your pants are still just a little too tight around your waist or you’re still huffing and puffing and can’t run more than five steps with your kids or you open a can of Diet Coke first thing in the morning before you’ve had any water, there it is again.

You’re back to the usual. You’re in your status quo. You’re miserably comfortable. That immediate gratification has worn off and you’re right back where you started. This cycle can go on for years. I’ve seen it. I felt it myself.

I’ve coached people through it, and it can be totally agonizing. It can be agonizing to want something so badly, like a healthier body or be able to exercise or keep up with your kids or feel like you’re not a slave to sugar or soda, you may want to change those things very badly. But do you see the one main obstacle that standing in your way? It’s you.

You are standing in your own way. Your desire to stay comfortable in what you know, even if what you know is making you miserable, is what is getting in your way. So, for me, when my coach pointed this out to me, and I got really honest with myself to see how I was doing this in my own life, in my relationships, and in my business, I woke up.

I could see how much time and mental energy I’ve been wasting; so much energy wasted. Think about it. Sometimes the amount of time and energy we spend convincing ourselves that it’s not the right time to do something could be better spent just getting started already. It’s kind of like when my kid gives me all kinds of reasons why he doesn’t want to take a shower at the end of the day.

So, in our house, showering before bedtime is a non-negotiable. And if you’ve ever seen my kid’s feet at the end of a day of playing outside, you’d understand this. But despite this, there are some lollygagging and feet dragging. And I point it out often, that in the five minutes he’s wasting creating a case as to why he shouldn’t have to shower, he could have just gone and taken the shower and gotten it over with.

It’s the same idea for you. Sometimes you waste time, energy, and brain space negotiating yourself out of a change, when you could be using that same energy to take the first step. And honestly, that’s all we’re talking about here, is about taking that first step. The first step is generally what feels the biggest and hardest.

So, ask yourself, what would happen if I decided to go for a five-minute walk today, instead of plopping down in front of the couch like I usually do? What would happen if I made a sign of broccoli instead of french fries with dinner tonight? What would happen if I said ‘no thank you’ to take out with my coworkers at lunch tomorrow?

Here’s what happens. You feel better. You feel a release. You took a step in a different direction. So, just as you feel a release when you negotiate yourself out of starting your big change, you will feel an even bigger, better and more long-lasting release when you let it be uncomfortable and take the first step anyway.

There is a huge difference in the release you feel when you intentionally avoid something, versus the release you feel when you walk straight in and do the thing you were trying to avoid. One feels like false security. The other feels like progress.

Let me take it back a step and get practical here. Because I don’t know about you, but when my own coach pointed out that you have to let it be uncomfortable and do it anyway, it sounded nice from a theoretical perspective. But it didn’t really land on me that I should just accept that it’s going to be uncomfortable and keep going.

If it were that easy, I would have already written the book, or hosted the webinar, or started a group coaching program and loads and loads of other things that I would love to do in my business and in my life. If it were just as easy as starting, I would have already started.

But now, what I realize is that I have to get my thoughts and feelings in check. And you knew I was going there. It always comes back to your thoughts and feelings, right? Always. So, remember the order of operations here: Your thoughts create your feelings. Your feelings drive your actions. And your actions produce your results; in that order.

Thoughts create feelings. Feelings drive actions. Actions create results. Okay? So, let’s talk through this as it applies to getting started with changing the way you eat. As an example, when I’m working with a client who wants to lose weight, we’ll create a plan for her together.

We will go over all of the details of the what, the when, the how often, and how she’s going to eat and get all of the specifics nailed down. And then during our sessions, we’ll come back and troubleshoot what’s working and what’s not working. Often at the outset, I find that you have a hard time taking that big first step and just following the plan just for one day.

And when we debrief about it and look at what’s going on, often what comes up for clients is resistance. When you’re facing the discomfort of doing something new and different, even if that new and different change may be what you want in the long run, you’re going to encounter resistance.

So, go with me on this for just a minute and think about something you want to do, that right now you’re not doing because it’s too uncomfortable. Whether that’s saying ‘no’ to a glass of wine at dinner, eating the lunch you packed for yourself instead of getting fast food with your coworkers, or changing up your entire household and family routine to get out of bed before work to exercise. Whatever it is, think about what it feels like to consider those changes.

And then, if you haven’t taken action, think about what is causing you to feel resistance. What is it? Where is that resistance coming from? It’s coming from your thoughts. It’s coming from your brain. Your brain is giving you all kinds of sentences that are creating resistance to change.

Things like, “This is too hard. I cannot eat a salad while my coworkers eat Chick-fil-A. There is no way I can say ‘no’ to wine at dinner with my friends.” All of those thoughts will, in one way or another, lead to resistance. And when you let that resistance take over, you just talked yourself out of your decision.

You negotiate and decide that change is just not going to happen today. Maybe you’ll start your salad habit on a day when your coworkers aren’t getting takeout. Or you bargain for that one glass of wine at dinner and tell yourself you just won’t have any over the weekend instead. And these are all small things, right? That’s exactly it.

In the moment, one box of chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A for lunch instead of your packed salad, no big deal. One glass of wine at dinner, no big deal. When you feel resistance, and then talk yourself out of change, you can also rationalize that it’s no big deal. But the problem is, you can rationalize your way out of discomfort day after day.

It feels like no big deal. And in the blink of an eye, you’ve rationalized yourself into 10 years of being overweight. You can bargain your way out of the discomfort of change day in and day out until years have gone by. And you’re still living with the same habits and the same body that keep you from feeling good.

Because that one day, that one glass of wine, it doesn’t really matter, right? Or does it? So, at what point does it matter? Here’s what I’ve decided, when you allow your brain to work against you, it matters. It matters a lot. Do you see this? Let me help you make this connection.

When you think to yourself, “This is too hard. I can’t not have Chick-fil-A today. I can’t say ‘no’ to wine at dinner,” it only makes sense that you will feel resistance to change. Do you see that? It is your own brain feeding you thoughts that are resulting in resistance. It would make sense that you respond to that resistance by totally bailing on the plan and trying again tomorrow.

So now, let’s talk about what you would need to feel in order to actually do the thing. This is really important, so if you’re trailing, come on back to me for a second, because this is what really hit it home for me. What would it take for you to feel the ick or feel the discomfort of saying no to takeout? Or no to a glass of wine? Or finally tell your partner, “I need to talk to you about something?”

What is it that you need to feel? Willing. What would happen if you felt willing? That’s it right there. In order for you to face the discomfort of change and do the work anyway, you have to be willing. That’s it. So, contrast that to what we just talked about, which is resistance.

So, I think of resistance as seeing discomfort standing in front of you, and then you just straight up turn away from it. Versus feeling willing, this is where you see the discomfort and you walk right into it. You allow it to feel icky, and you do the thing. You do it anyway.

So instead of saying to yourself, “This diet is too hard,” which will likely create a feeling of resistance, how about, “Changing my diet is hard but that’s okay.” Or instead of, “There’s no way I can skip chicken nuggets with my coworkers,” how about, “It’s hard to skip chicken nuggets, but I can do hard things.”

Or instead of, “I can’t say no to wine at dinner.” What about, “Saying no to wine is a challenge. But it’s worth it because I will feel better at the end of the day.” Do you see that? There is a big takeaway here. You are not trying to b.s. yourself and convince yourself that it’s easy to change your diet or skip the fast food or say no to wine.

No, you’re acknowledging that what you’re doing is work. That what you’re doing is in fact hard. At the same time, while you recognize the challenge you’re taking on, you’re allowing it to be hard. You’re not trying to change it. You’re not walking away from it. You’re not trying to negotiate it down or bargain your way out of it.

You’re allowing your change to be hard and you accept it. And this is subtle, but it’s so important. The way you talk to yourself through change, it matters. When you’re faced with decisions that run directly counter to the goals you set for yourself, how you talk to yourself matters a lot.

The sentence is you say to yourself when your friends open that bottle of wine will either create resistance for you, and you’ll find yourself drinking a glass. Or your sentences will create willingness, and you’ll stare that discomfort in the eye, allow it to sit there with you, and be uncomfortable. And you will say no to the wine like you planned. This is huge.

You’re carrying those feelings with you. You allow the negative feelings to be there because they’re going to anyway. And you counter that with a willingness to accept it. You allow both, willingness and discomfort. You allow it to feel uncomfortable. But you don’t let that stop you from doing what you set out to do.

Because even though you feel discomfort, if you have a willingness to accept that discomfort, and still do the hard thing anyway, that’s when change happens. That’s when you’re on to something. So, stop waiting for that magic time when saying no to wine will feel easier. The more you put it off, the longer it will take.

Allow change to be uncomfortable. Be willing to feel the discomfort instead of resisting it. I cannot stress this enough. When you distract yourself by looking for ways to avoid the ick, you’re not changing. You’re just procrastinating and you’re not getting anywhere. Walk through it. That’s my term for what we do with the hard stuff. You walk right through it.

You create the feeling of willingness, you allow the discomfort, you walk through it, and you do what you set out to do. I hope this idea resonates with you the same way that it did with me. When I got really honest with myself, after hearing those words from my coach, I could see all the ways I was doing this in my life.

I could see the ways I was waiting for things to be less uncomfortable. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m human and I do not like feeling uncomfortable. But I also recognize that my fear of discomfort is keeping me from showing up in so many ways in my life; in my marriage, my business, and my family; I could go on.

What I realize now, and what I want to offer you is this, you always have a choice. When you choose to wait until change feels less uncomfortable, you’re playing the game. If it’s big and it matters to you, that’s going to feel icky. Let it feel icky, and do it anyway. Because do you know what will make change less uncomfortable? Taking the first step. All right? There it is.

And if you need help with this, let’s go. When you coach with me, I will help you take a deep breath and do the work. Changing your lifestyle does not get any easier the longer you wait to start. There is no perfect time. There’s only a good enough time, and that time now. If you’ve got goals, stop putting them off. I will help you get through the discomfort of changing your lifestyle so you keep going.

Check out my website, go to www.CarrieHollandMD.com/contact, send me a message, and let’s get started. So, thank you again for hanging out with me, and I will catch you again next week.

If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. I would love to get your feedback and ideas. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make the show better for you. And share this podcast with a friend, text a show link, share a screenshot, or post a link to the show on your social media. Be sure to tag me @CarrieHollandMD on either Instagram or Facebook, so I can follow along and engage with you.

This is how we get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong, inside and out. If you know someone who wants to feel better or eat and move differently but she is too tired or too busy, it is time to change things up. And you know, making that change starts with how you think. That is what we do here on the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think, so you can live in the body you want, with the mind to match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.

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