Start with a lie: My new success strategy

success strategies

Those 20 pounds had to go.

Eighteen months earlier, I’d been down 40 pounds, but since then, my weight had crept back up. Getting rid of the 20 I’d put back on was part of my grand plan as I retooled motherbility this winter.

Instead, I gained another 10. Argh.

My friends, if mental flogging was an aerobic exercise, I’d be a size 4.

“Ugh, I hate this! I always do this! I gain, I lose, I ‘celebrate’ by eating junk food, feel guilty about the binge and then punish myself by eating more food until I’ve gained all the weight back! WHY DO I ALWAYS DO THIS?”

That’s pretty much been my mental state for months.

The other day, though, I had a light bulb moment.

Imagination or reality?

Did you know that our brains are flat-out awful at telling the difference between reality and imagination? That’s the science behind athletes visualizing themselves making the shot, catching the pass, winning the race. If we imagine ourselves doing something, our brain doesn’t distinguish between our imagination and reality. Our brain thinks we’ve actually done it.

So what if, I’ve been thinking to myself, I can change what I do by imagining that I already do it? A new success strategy!

Let’s look back at what I was telling myself about weight gain: This, I’ve said, is my pattern — Weight loss, feeling good, celebrate with eating, feel guilty about eating, weight gain, “WHY DO I ALWAYS DO THIS?”

That, in reality, has been my pattern.

But starting this week, I’ve decided to tell myself this instead, every day: “When I am upset, stressed, overwhelmed, or when I’ve overindulged — man, I treat myself so well! I go for walks. Spend more time with my family. Load up the plate with yummy vegetables and fruit. I treat myself to good health!”

success strategy
Two years and 30 pounds ago
success strategy
Unfortunately accurate selfie of how I feel about my body right now, 50 pounds overweight.

The theory is to trick my brain into a new, healthier stress response.

For example, on the occasion when I eat an extra piece of cake or go for a week without exercising, I don’t want to think, as I have before, “Must. Have. Cookies.” I want to automatically think, “I should grab an apple and go for a walk.”

It’s early days yet. I’ll update you on the results.

But, scientifically, this plan makes sense — and it’s applicable in so many areas.

Adapt this success strategy for you!

When your kids don’t listen, do you resort to yelling? Tell yourself, every day, “When my kids don’t listen, I get super calm. I lower my voice. I am SO patient and understanding!”

Is your business not succeeding the way you want, and you’re tempted to quit? Try, “I love that I’m so committed! When the world tries to make me fail, I just plow ahead! I persevere!”

Maybe it sounds silly. Or implausible that, in essence, lying to yourself could be a strategy for success.

Science, though, says it works. I’ll let you know how I progress.

In the meantime, consider your own thoughts: What are you telling yourself, and what “lie” should you tell yourself instead? Share in the comment below.

How do you want to succeed? Start by imagining that you already have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *