This Mental Shift Helps You Stay Consistent With Your Plans

You’re ready for the change; you just haven’t told your brain yet

Adelina Vasile

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Photo by Zheka Boychenko on Unsplash

I have a friend, Chris, who is seriously overweight. He’s been claiming he needs to lose weight for a few years now. And it turns out he knows what to do to get there.

Each week, he struggles to get out of the house and walks 7000 steps in the morning. He eats moderately throughout the day, mostly plain steaks and salads. No alcohol.

The problem is, however, that every other weekend, he’s visiting his in-laws. And there, he indulges himself into eating what is probably the equivalent of half a pig, along with rivers of wine. Because swine rhymes with wine, he says.

By Monday, the scale would close its eyes as he steps on it. He would curse and get back to his healthy weekly routine, only to make the same mistakes the next time he’ll get the chance.

What Is Wrong With Chris?

I’m sure he really, really wants to lose weight and stay healthy. He clearly knows what he needs to do. But there he is, failing at it with flying colors.

If you’d ask James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, of this bizarre behavior, he’d tell you — it’s not him, it’s his brain putting him through all these hurdles.

Turns out my friend Chris hasn’t convinced his brain yet that he’s a person with healthy eating habits. He wants to become such a person but hasn’t informed his brain on it yet.

James Clear shows us what it means to let your brain know about your plans. He uses a simple example of someone trying to quit smoking.

Imagine you haven’t smoked in a few days. Someone offers you a cigarette. What words will come out of your mouth?

Would you say — No, thank you, I’m trying to quit. I haven’t smoked in 5 days, 3 hours, and 25 minutes!

Or would you say — No, thank you, I don’t smoke!

Those who never smoked in their life will use the second answer without even blinking. It’s their identity, after all. And they will use it to justify their behavior. Not only that, but their words align with their actions and with the said…

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Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself.