Sunday, September 13, 2009

The I-Don't-Want-to-Change Tool

It Doesn't Change!
Do you ever say things like, "Whoa, I really want this, but somehow I always end up with that", or, "It's not that I want to do this, I just can't seem to stop it!"

If so, this article is written for you.

Most of us have areas in our lives where we feel out of control. Even my friends who have been using the philosophy of happiness for years have areas in which they seem incapable of making changes. I use the word seem because they indeed do not change even though they say they want to. In my opinion, it's not that they can't change; they don't change because they don't want to!

To be clear, saying "they don't want to" is not meant as a judgment. Recognizing that we don't change because we don't want to change is a tool that can help us to explore the beliefs that keep us from changing.

I Am Blessed!
I believe that I am lucky with the shape of my body. I'm 5' 4" tall. I am well proportioned and I have an extra amazing gift: my fat distributes itself evenly from head to toe. This means that, if my weight swings up or down, you don't really notice because it is distributed from cheek to ankle! My body weight has a natural swing of about 8 pounds. In my "thin"periods, my weight is around 125 pounds; in my "thick" periods I go up to 133 pounds.

Being Overweight
For the last six months I have been in my "thick" period. Not having exercised regularly for quite some time, I started to feel tired and overweight. During the summer, I decided that I should lose some pounds to be healthier and more energetic. But I took no action towards working out, changing my diet etc.

Breathing and living the philosophy of happiness for so long, I was intrigued to observe my "not taking action" mode for months. I said that I wanted to lose some weight, but clearly I was not taking any action towards it. Recognizing that many of us experience the same kinds of patterns, I decided to really pay attention this time and learn something that would not only help me, but also others.

Observe and Analyze
I started to observe my thought processes. During the summer when I felt hot, tired and out of shape, I decided that I didn't want this anymore. It was time to do something about it; time to lose my extra weight. I observed my thoughts and also observed that I didn't take any action to make changes. Months went by...

I started to picture myself eight pounds lighter, everything a little thinner and tighter. Nice! I still didn't take any action. More weeks went by...

Then I decided that I would attach my want to lose weight to other meaningful wants in my life.

For example, I wanted to be in better shape because it would improve my singing (more air for better tone quality, better phrasing, more consistent sound etc.) I wanted to be in better shape so I could approach my days with greater ease and energy. Still, I didn't take action to change! Hmmm...

Next, I decided to bring greater specificity to my thoughts. I didn't want to be overweight anymore. It was time to do something about it. It was time to lose my extra 8 pounds. I looked at all the unhappiness around my weight and explore it deeply and specifically. I created evidence supporting the idea that being thinner would bring me happiness.

Believe it or not, I still didn't change a thing!

The I-Don't-Want-to-Change Tool
After months of not changing, I really got intrigued! I normally take immediate action when I get clear about what I want. So, what was happening this time?

I decided to figure it out with the use of the I-don't-want-to-change tool, and told myself:

I am not losing weight. Therefore, I don't want to lose weight! How come?
This tool is so helpful. It helped me to look at why I was in my current situation, rather than looking at what I wanted to change.

First, I realized that I actually like the roundness of my breasts at this weight, and how soft and smooth my skin feels. Second, I realized that a workout normally tightens up my muscles making them hurt. (This has something to do with how my body stores calcium.) Third, my untreated allergies and related asthma can make working out so exhausting that I feel bad for a whole day after exercising.

For months I had been telling myself that I was overweight and that I wanted to change it. In the end, I had good reasons not to make changes. Ahhh, we are taking care of ourselves ALL the time!

Then It Got Easy!
So, I got my allergies and my related asthma treated. I have been taking supplements that help bring calcium to the proper storage places in my body. I started scheduling my workouts in my daily calendar.

Guess what! I am finally taking action on my weight and I am really enjoying the exercise.

Embracing and not judging the fact that we don't change because we don't want to change can be so empowering!

3 comments:

  1. It is awesome you embarked on learning about how vital calcium and magnesium are........Indeed it is all there......for the learning, improving, how we ultimately take care of ourselves.

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  2. Iris, I loved reading this blog.

    When someone says, "I'm doing such and such even though I really don't want to", I often hear, "If you're doing it, then you must 'want' to be doing it!"

    It comes across as an accusation, not an enabler of self-discovery. Embracing the concept that we only do what we want to do can lead us to such great insights.

    Thanks for this great blog!

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  3. Yesterday, after posting this article, I received numerous compliments about my looks and weight!

    Because of these compliments I have been contemplating if I should change my writing style! This article was meant to show you a real life example about how we judge daily things we say we want to change. And how we seem not to be able to change those things, because these judgments cloud our real motivations!

    My hope is that you will use my insight to look around in your daily life and help you to accept and love some of your quirks, because they are there with a good reason!

    With love and excitement about your explorations XXX

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