Focus on What You Do Right to Change Your Life
Change is hard and we usually make ourselves miserable. I have a secret to make change happen and make it feel good. Focus on what you do right to change your life
Every single client that I have ever worked with is an expert at knowing what they are doing wrong. But here’s a secret to getting the results you want in life: You have to notice and give yourself lots of praise and credit for what you are doing right!
August 2023 Update: This post is maybe one of the most important posts you can read. In it lies the secret to creating positive changes in your life.
You won’t just change–you’ll enjoy the process.
I hear it all the time, how someone has messed up. But it’s rare to hear a woman talk about how she nailed it, how well she did, how proud she is of herself.
Yet, learning to focus on the progress you’ve made, where you’ve been successful, and what you’ve done right, not only feels better—it’s going to get you to your goals faster!
How We Focus on What We are Doing Wrong
Do any of these phrases sound familiar?
I messed up.
I can’t get anything right.
This is never going to work.
I can’t do this.
I need to get my act together.
I screwed it up.
This is too hard.
These are some really common thoughts that we all think, way too much of the time!
We focus on what we are doing wrong. We focus on the areas we want to improve but we do it in a way that guarantees that we’ll keep messing up!
This is so counter-intuitive. We try to mean-talk ourselves into doing better and it never works for the long-term.
Here’s the thing. The more we repeat this process, the more it becomes ingrained in our minds. Instead of appreciating what we have done, we focus on where we have fallen short. And we beat ourselves up about it.
This keeps us always feeling like we are failing instead of progressing.
We want to do something. Let’s say, we want to eat our healthy lunch every day. So, on Monday, we have our lunch planned and ready…and then we don’t feel like eating that.
We eat something else. Maybe we decide we’re just going to have pizza or something else. We’ll do our healthy lunch tomorrow.
We eat the pizza. Feel kind of yucky. And then tell ourselves we messed up.
No matter what else we do that day, we’ll focus on that one thing.
But maybe on Wednesday, we actually stick to our plan! Yay!
However, instead of stopping and celebrating, we’ll tell ourselves things along the lines of, well, it’s only one lunch. What does that even matter?
It matters. It matters because something different took place in your brain that day.
And if you can stop and take a look at what happened, you can make it happen again.
The power is in looking at what you did right, that thing that you wanted to happen, and you made it happen.
As I said, everyone is an expert at what they do wrong. But very few people have the skill of examining and understanding what they do right.
And by right, I mean, that thing you want to do or planned to do.
Focus on What You Do Right to Change Your Life
The MENTAL process that creates doing the thing you want is totally different than the process that creates doing what you don’t want to do.
Have you ever stopped to think about, why on one day you can do the thing you planned to and on another day, totally not do it and then beat yourself up about it?
Well, we’re going to get into it today because this is so helpful with everything!
Focusing on What You Do Right Creates Balance
One of the reasons that I’ve written so much about losing weight, is because the way I did it and the way I recommend is by making real food the bulk of what you eat.
This was such a huge deal for me, eating right and creating a body that I was proud to walk around in. I focused on what I did right and I wrote a lot about it!
I still write about how to lose weight because it’s something that can teach you to become self-confident and improves your life from the inside out.
Not just because you lose weight but because you become a person that believes in her ability reach her goals.
A lot of women, no matter how successful they are in their life, do not feel like they are doing enough. This can show up in how they care for themselves. For many women, it is when they have gained more weight than they are comfortable with, that the finally realize they need to make a change.
What usually surprises people that work with me is that my focus is always more on what is going well and how to build on that.
One of the problems with most of us is that there is never a finish line or a place where we can finally tell ourselves that we have done enough.
I don’t know about you. But I spent most of my life, going to bed, disappointed in myself. It seemed like the feeling of having done enough or been enough was always out of reach.
Do You Ever Feel Like You’ve Done Enough?
The problem with how we feel has never been about not doing enough or doing it right. What seems to happen is that women do more and more.
Eventually in the desire to finally get enough done, women sacrifice their health, physical, mental, and emotional for a race that can never be won!
After decades of not disappointing other people, we are left with the results of continually disappointing ourselves.
If you are looking in the mirror and despite your best efforts you see a tired, disappointed, tight face, you probably know what I’m talking about.
This constant measuring ourselves against what we haven’t done is literally running us ragged.
Okay, so we know how bad we all feel—but what can you do about it?
How To Focus on What You Do Right
This way of thinking is so counter-intuitive for most women at first. We really believe that we have to be firm with ourselves. Be strict. Not give ourselves any credit until we are perfect.
My friends, that day NEVER comes.
I know, at first it’s going to feel silly to congratulate yourself on not eating at night one time this week, when you did eat at night on the other six nights.
Roll your eyes all you want. Give yourself a mental high five and write that win down.
First acknowledge all the ways you are doing things right
I suggest you write them out every day.
A typical way we dismiss our efforts is to use the word “JUST” or “ONLY.” For example, if you exercised 15 minutes yesterday, you might say, “I only exercised 15 minutes yesterday.” The “only” is a way to tell yourself you just didn’t measure up.
Instead, recognize that you exercised 15 minutes yesterday. Give yourself credit for the effort.
No this will not encourage you to be lazy. Quite the opposite. We all do better when our efforts are noticed. This is especially important when we recognize our own efforts.
Another way we dismiss our efforts is around food. I usually divide eating into 21 meals per week. More times than I can count a client will tell me that they really messed up during the week.
When I investigate more, I find out that they had a couple of cookies at a work meeting or something but in general they ate 21 good meals.
That’s not a mess up. That’s a win for the week.
If you are trying to drink less, 5 drinks a week is progress if the week before you had anything more than 5.
It’s important to notice and recognize even the smallest wins.
I want to point out that in none of these examples do I need to try and get women to work harder. You have that covered my friends.
But maybe I’m trying to help you get some breathing room at work. Fewer meetings. Quitting at a reasonable time. Not working in the evenings. Time to eat lunch at work. Not doing other people’s jobs.
In these cases, your wins would be working less and measuring that. Sorry, sometimes to reach your health goals, you have to take a serious and intentional look at how you spend your work life.
Don’t compare your efforts to your ideal
It can be discouraging and demoralizing to compare what you have done so far to where you are trying to get.
With weight loss, you can be losing weight and instead of celebrating this, you might keep telling yourself how far you still have to go.
Think of this like how you would talk to someone you love or a child. If your kid or your best friend had achieved progress on something important to them, would you tell them how poorly they were doing? Would you point out how far they had to go and that maybe they should just give up?
No, you wouldn’t. You encourage other people. You tell them how well they are doing and to keep going. Do that to yourself.
Don’t impose artificial time standards on your progress
By this I mean, we often discourage ourselves by telling ourselves that we are too slow, that we aren’t progressing fast enough.
A good rule of thumb is however long you think something is going to take, double that estimate or even triple it. Many people underestimate how long or how hard something will be to do.
Then we beat ourselves up because we aren’t doing it fast enough.
What to do instead…
Start with your baseline, where you are starting. Sure, have some kind of goal, but that isn’t what you will be measuring yourself against.
Track progress from where you started. Write down what is going right. Any move in the right direction is worth celebrating.
Change is really hard, even for people who want to and are motivated to change. By noting our progress and celebrating it, we create some positive motivation, and it feels good. We all want more of what feels good, right?
In the beginning, it might feel like you are being delusional trying to give yourself credit for incremental change. Do it anyway.
In time it will get easier, and you’ll be more enthusiastic about your wins. Doing this will really change how you approach how you do things. If you are consistent with doing this, you will amaze yourself with how you can change your life.
Keep showing up my friends,
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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.