What don’t you want in your life anymore?
Maybe you don’t want to…
Spend your weekends hungover.
Over indulge with food.
Spend precious energy resenting your ex-husband.
Date people who aren’t right for you.
Order take out 3 nights a week.
Spend your whole paycheck.
Drown in perfectionism or shame.
Watch 2 hours of TV everyday.
Drink too much.
Hit snooze every morning for an hour.
Gossip and judge others.
Be around people who aren’t positive.
Whatever it is, at certain points in our lives we all have things we want to abstain from, things we want to remove from our life. So why do we have such a hard time following through with our desire to eliminate? A significant part of why we have such a tough time following through with desired change is because of how we manage the change in our minds.
We have a natural cognitive bias to focus on the negative, on what we are “giving up” or “can no longer do.” To combat that negative thinking you first have to accept and be aware of the friction you are going to encounter. Then you need to reframe your “giving up” mentality to a completion and/or gaining mentality.
Accept and Be Aware of the Friction You Will Encounter With Eliminating
1. There are parts of those things you don’t really want to give up.
There are aspects that are in fact enjoyable, that scratch certain itches. Part of changing is accepting the truth of this, accepting that there may be times you wish you hadn’t given it up. It’s being able to say yeah it can feel great when I do x,y,z in the moment BUT the feeling I get if I don’t do x,y,z in the long-run is far better than that. It’s learning to place the importance on the deeper long-term gain you desire vs. the short-term surface level temporary gain.
Online shopping for clothes makes you feel momentarily happy.
Drinking bottles of wine with your friends can be enjoyable.
Dating that sexy guy who isn’t a long-term fit is fun.
Complaining about your terrible ex-husband to your friends who give you sympathy makes you feel validated.
2. Your mind views these things as “normal.” What you have always done, or what other people do.
But who really decides what is normal?! YOU do. You have to open up your mind to the fact that just because you always used to do something doesn’t mean it’s normal, just because others do something doesn’t mean it should be your normal. YOU decide what your normal this. YOU have the power to redefine “normal” in your life.
It’s getting caught up in thoughts like…
It’s normal to be busy and order food in all the time.
I have always naturally procrastinated and waited until the last minute that’s just who I am.
I’m always the one to get the party started.
Everyone else indulges in food at parties and family gatherings.
I’ve always worked incredibly hard, staying late and working on weekends to be the best.
3. When you try and change and NOT do the things you no longer want to do it’s easy to slip into a deprivation mindset and focus on what you can’t do.
We naturally don’t like the feeling that we aren’t allowed to do something, that we are being deprived of this or that. This victim deprivation way of thinking is going to lead to undesired feelings. If your mind is mostly focused on the negatives of what you are giving up it often leads to short-term negative feelings associated with what you are trying to change instead of positive ones which makes giving that thing up harder. When you reframe how you think about eliminating in your mind this will help you overcome some of the unpleasant emotions. Naturally you may experience some of these unwanted emotions, so anticipate this. Be aware this will happen, accept it and remind yourself you are capable of feeling any emotion without it overtaking you.
You may feel some unpleasant emotions…
- FOMO because all of your friends are out til 2 a.m. on the weekends together.
- Discontent going on vacation but not being able to eat whatever you want.
- Lonely because you are focusing on finding the right one instead of going out on dates with just anyone.
- Annoyed trying to plan ahead and stick to a schedule.
REFRAMING IN YOUR MIND
You can anticipate that some of that friction is going to happen as you try and remove something from your life. When you can accept it, plan for it and then reshape how you manage it you set yourself up for success. Given your emotions are the primary driver of your choices you need to create more desirable feelings surrounding your new actions which makes it easier to follow-through.
The Completion Mentality
It feels better to think about leaving things behind that are complete, that have come full circle with a beginning, middle and end in your life, rather than something you are losing or sacrificing. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.
I learned about this concept from Brooke Castillo, founder of the Life Coach School. One of the examples she gave that brings this to life is marriage. If you are married you used to date and go out with different guys but now you are married so that part of your life is complete and you are happy with what you gained by being married, not focused on losing the ability to go out with others. You enjoyed dating, it was good to experience but now that part of your life has concluded.
I have a friend who has been incredibly successful with her weight loss and part of that success is attributed to her mindset shift through the “completion lens.” She was just simply done eating whatever she wanted. It was nice never giving thought to what she was putting in her body, always grabbing what was easy, convenient and delicious. That was always her “normal” behavior and difficult to change given that’s how she grew up and her close family and friends eat whatever they want. But she had done enough of that for a lifetime. She didn’t want to go on a strict diet, but she wanted to put in effort, pay attention, and make conscious choices about what she was eating. She wanted to give a shit about herself and her health and this was a part of that. The mindless never caring about what she was consuming part of her life had concluded.
It’s not a loss if you can see the freedom in it, that it’s not something you are missing out on, it’s something you fully experienced and now it is finished and you are ready to experience something else. It helps you make peace with what you want to leave behind and look forward to experiencing something new.
Ask yourself what have you had enough of in this lifetime? What is finished for you? What things make you feel good short-term but not long-term? What new experiences do you want to have by leaving the old experiences behind?
I’m done spending the majority of my money and time on travel, I’m much more interested now in putting down some roots and creating a community and home.
I’m done going out with guys who are emotionally unavailable, don’t treat me how I deserve and aren’t ready to commit. I’ve experienced the fun side of dating men like that and the shitty side of dating men like that and I’m ready to experience what a real healthy relationship is like.
I’m done living paycheck to paycheck and overspending, I’m ready to be smart with money and feel secure with my finances here on out.
I’m done trying to be perfect. I’m finished with the burnout, the stress, the self-loathing. I’m ready to accept myself for all my flaws, live authentically and experience the freedom I’ll enjoy in that.
I’m done working to death in a job I hate. I’ve had some wonderful experiences the money that comes with that provides and the materialistic things I have but I am no longer interested in sacrificing my true happiness for a dollar amount and am going to pursue a career I love.
I’m done resenting my ex-husband and spending my energy on him. I have done enough venting and bitching and hating and now I want to be free from all that negativity that weighs me down so I can make room to find someone else.
Whether you are fully complete with something in your life or want to remove something in the short-term, when you redirect your thoughts to what you gain rather than what you lose by no doing something it creates more desirable feelings that incentivize the behavior you want.
I can’t come home and veg out on the couch, I have to clean the kitchen and organize my office.
While sitting on the couch would feel great right now if I clean and organize a bit it will feel so damn good walking into the clean kitchen in the morning to have my coffee and sit down at my clean desk when I start working.
I can’t drink as much as I want at the party, I have to limit myself to two glasses of wine so I’m not going to have as much fun as I usually would.
I’m going to feel so good waking up tomorrow refreshed and ready to crush my meeting. When did I decide alcohol is the only way to have fun? I’ll actually have more fun knowing I’m doing the best thing for me. I can enjoy myself just as much without overdrinking.
I can’t lay in bed and get some more sleep, I have to get up since my alarm went off but now I’ll be tired all day.
I’m going to regret starting my day late and running around like a chicken with my head cut-off. If I get up now I know I can conquer my day with a relaxed hustle that makes it enjoyable and actually more energized.
I can’t touch the bread basket at dinner and order what I really want, I have to stick to my eating plan so I won’t really enjoy dinner tonight the way I usually do.
It’s going to be hard as hell to not order my favorite dish but I’ll feel so proud of myself and in control leaving the restaurant not lethargic, having chosen the better option. I’ll actually enjoy it more because I won’t have the guilt. When I wake up in the morning I won’t feel crappy from having over indulged.
This reframing can compliment the completion mindset. You can focus on what you gain by deciding it’s time to complete something in your life.
WHAT ARE YOU READY TO ELIMINATE FROM YOUR LIFE?
Think about what you are ready to say goodbye to. What has come full circle for you and is ready for an ending? What new experiences will you gain as result of completing this in your life?
Think about something you might want to remove from you life for a period of time, what gains can you focus on that will be stronger than your “giving up” thoughts?
When you embrace the completion and gaining mentality you can see how it feels different, lighter and sets you on a positive path in your pursuit to eliminate what is not serving you.