Letting go of the perfect circle
Self-acceptance is key
The Institute of Integrative Nutrition teaches that our diet is influenced by factors such as the quality and more importantly, our perception of our finances, career, relationships, and overall joy. These create a circle in life and imbalances in one or more of these areas may lead to unhealthy cravings.
When asked to visualise their current level of satisfaction in life, clients usually draw an imperfect circle. However, when asked to visualise their future life, clients often envision a perfectly round circle.
Current Life; Future Life
Part of my role as a health coach is to help clients let go of the perfect circle and discover the power of self-acceptance instead. Avoiding our insecurities, making excuses for our bad habits, and not being truthful to ourselves are common hurdles towards self-awareness. Here are some insights my clients have learnt on the path to self-acceptance:
KEEP A LASSO OF TRUTH HANDY
Superheroine Wonder Woman uses a Lasso of Truth as a weapon compelling anyone to tell the truth. Truth is hard to come by, especially when it comes to ourselves. So why do we lie to ourselves? A common reason is fear stemming from our insecurities. Another reason is we may be hardwired subconsciously to ignore our biases and live under the pretence of happiness. A common example for clients is climbing the corporate ladder because of social and family pressures. They quickly forget the genesis for their goals and they end up pursuing someone else’s dreams instead of their own. The further away we are from honesty, the further we are from accepting ourselves and finding true and long-lasting happiness.
Exercise: When confronted with important decisions or when considering sensitive issues, visualise yourself under a lasso of truth. Be brutally honest with yourself. It might be painful at first but the long term results will be worth it.
BE BRAVE AND TAKE (SAFE) RISKS
If being authentic is new for you, it can feel scary and might require bravery for you to move forward. Turns out, needing external force for change extends to any physical object too and is called inertia (where an object will maintain velocity and direction and resist change without effort). The truth is no change comes without complications, risks, and sacrifice. Remember, you are the only person who can do this but it doesn’t mean it must be done alone.
Let down your guard to ask and accept help. This can be done progressively and with those you trust but don’t deny the opportunity to reveal your vulnerabilities. This exercise is not for external approval but to reveal your truth to yourself. If someone has judged your bravery, search until you find someone who will not judge you. Alternatively, keeping a journal may be just as effective.
BUILD HABITS, NOT EXCUSES
Research from Duke University cites up to 45 percent of our daily actions come from habits. This is an important evolutionary purpose because it frees up time and mental energy to be used towards other things.
According to habit guru Charles Duhigg, habits are made up of three components – a cue or trigger to initiate the behaviour, a routine or behaviour of the habit, and the reward. To build a good and long-lasting habit, it is essential to create effective cues and rewards.
Clients set goals to either create a new behaviour or remove a bad one. The strategy leading to success may differ but regardless it is important to develop rules to hold yourself accountable. To introduce a new behaviour, couple cues and rewards together that is easy to adopt. For example, commit to eat a salad with a best friend every Monday. To remove a bad behaviour, identify why the cue and reward exists. For example, you enjoy a bubble tea every day. Is the trigger due to the time, place, who you are with, or a type of emotion you want to feel?
There can be other components to your reward beyond it tasting good. Is it because it gives satiety or a burst of energy? Taking the time to notice and understand why your habits exist will lead to effective change.