One my Mammaw’s classic lines was: “Well, the thing about is, is that…”
Oh how I miss that sassy gal! She’d begin with this statement when defending an argument, pondering a question, or just plain ol’ wanting to have the last word.
I recently changed up my diet in hopes of relieving some ongoing health issues. As I sit here pondering how to encourage you if you have a mountain like that to climb, I hear my Mammaw’s words: “Well, the thing about it is, is…”
The thing about making lifestyle changes is that: IT’S HARD!
We get on Facebook (affectionately referred to by some as “Compare and Despair”) and we see our friends posting about how their life was radically changed by a diet, an exercise regimen, starting their own business… and on and on it goes.
And we say things like, “Oh, that’s great for you, but I could NEVER…”
Right?! Anyone? Bueller?
Ok, so let me share a few of my “I could nevers”…
- I could NEVER… get up early to exercise. I’M TOO TIRED! I’m not getting enough sleep as it is! I’d have to wake up at like 5am before my kids! Yeah, that’s NEVER gonna happen.
- I could NEVER… change my eating habits. WHY WOULD GOD HAVE GIVEN ME TASTE BUDS IF HE DIDN’T INTEND FOR ME TO ENJOY FOOD? It’s just too hard. It’s not sustainable. I just enjoy eating so much, I’d be miserable if there were things I had to eliminate from my diet. Food is my go-to when I’m happy, stressed, sad or overwhelmed. Jesus might as well come take me now if I have to give up carbs and sugar!
- I could NEVER… change my behaviors or way of thinking about myself. THIS IS JUST MY REALITY. I’m hopelessly flawed. I’m stuck here. I’ve always been this way. It’s not that I’m unaware changes need to happen, I just don’t know how! It feels impossible. I’m doing my best, give me a break.
How about you, friend? What’s your I COULD NEVER…?
Let’s imagine we’re sitting down with a dear friend over coffee and we’ve just shared our “I could never…” scenario. What do you imagine that friend would say to you after hearing the thing you think you could NEVER do? What would you WANT her to say? What would you say to her if the tables were turned?
I wonder what it would feel like for that friend to gently and loving ask us…
Is that true? COULD you really NEVER do these things? Is it really and truly impossible?
If you’re anything like me, I was just plain ol’ intimidated by the EFFORT required, and I had a million excuses why I wasn’t capable of making big changes. I wanted things to be quick, convenient and immediately satisfying. I thrived on the instant gratification of a sugar rush when I was sad or overwhelmed. I found comfort in the ease of warming something up in the microwave rather than the chore of cooking for myself or my family. After all, I was warming up “the healthiest options I could find at Costco” 😉
The thing about it is… these things are NOT impossible. They are actually within our reach. But they can be intimidating, scary, unfamiliar and uncomfortable. They take effort, planning and persistence. Making changes, whether physical or mental, is not a sprint but a marathon.
Here’s the truth, friend: You and I are CAPABLE OF AMAZING THINGS!
Things that can deeply impact our lives FOR THE BETTER and improve how we think, feel and love. Things that seem impossible because they require effort but things that ARE POSSIBLE because we CAN put in the hard work and accomplish more than we ever imagined!
Let’s look back at my list of “I could nevers”and put them in the light of LIES vs TRUTH.
LIE: I could NEVER… get up early to exercise. I’M TOO TIRED! I’m not getting enough sleep as it is! I’d have to wake up at like 5am before my kids! Yeah, that’s NEVER gonna happen.
TRUTH: I CAN get up early to exercise.
- I can make up my mind and do it. It’s a choice.
- I can be intentional with my evening routine by planning ahead the night before.
- I can lay out my walking clothes, get my phone and earphones ready, and get to bed earlier.
- I CAN TAKE CARE OF MYSELF BY GETTING UP EARLY TO GO FOR A WALK AROUND MY NEIGHBORHOOD. I CAN.
- (helpful hint: If you invite a neighbor to walk with you, you’re more likely to commit.)
LIE: I could NEVER… change my eating habits. WHY WOULD GOD HAVE GIVEN ME TASTE BUDS IF HE DIDN’T INTEND FOR ME TO ENJOY FOOD? It’s just too hard. It’s not sustainable. I just enjoy eating so much, I’d be miserable if there were things I had to eliminate from my diet. Food is my go-to when I’m happy, stressed, sad or overwhelmed. Jesus might as well come take me now if I have to give up carbs and sugar!
TRUTH: I CAN change my eating habits.
- I can make up my mind and do it. It’s a choice. Sometimes it will be a minute by minute choice, but a choice nonetheless.
- I DO NOT HAVE TO REMAIN IN BONDAGE TO MY UNHEALTHY CRAVINGS. I DO NOT HAVE TO CONTINUE BINGE EATING MY FEELINGS.
- I can use resources already put together from cookbooks and online blogs to help me prepare for my week.
- I can focus on all I CAN have rather than what I’m taking out. I might actually be surprised at how good all the food on my YES list is!
- I might actually begin to notice a difference in how I feel which motivates me to keep going.
- I know I’ll face moments of temptation, but I can CHOOSE in that moment to keep moving toward my overall goal: HEALTH.
- I CAN DO THIS!
- And I will not die from removing carbs and sugar… I will live. And perhaps feel better for having removed them!
(please note: I began the Autoimmune Protocol Elimination Diet in hopes of reducing severe inflammation and pain in my body due to several autoimmune disorders and migraines. This is the plan that I chose after battling with my body all of my adult life. Do some research to find what healthy eating plan works for you! No comparison here, only encouragement that you are capable of making choices!)
LIE: I could NEVER… change my way of thinking about myself. THIS IS JUST MY REALITY. I’m hopelessly flawed. I’m stuck here. I’ve always been this way. It’s not that I’m unaware changes need to happen, I just don’t know how! It feels impossible. I’m doing my best, give me a break.
TRUTH: I CAN combat ANY lie about myself with TRUTH.
- I am capable of learning new ways of thinking and processing information that will lead to improved self image and healthier behaviors.
- I can learn to love myself, just where I am, by understanding a greater love founded in the truth that I am valuable.
- When God made me, He did NOT make any mistakes.
- I can work through unfortunate things that have happened to me and things I have done through resources like therapy and classes like Life Skills.
- I can give myself permission to go on an antidepressant – under the care of my physician – in order to clear the fog of dark thoughts caused by the lack of serotonin in my brain.
- I do not have to feel guilty or under a stigma for facing mental disorders like anxiety and depression. I did not choose these, they are the result of things outside of my control. But I can control what I do now that I know what I’m dealing with.
The thing about is, is that it always seems impossible… until we do it!
Until we make the choice and do it! Whatever your “IT” is, friend, know that you are capable and you are not on the journey of change alone! There are so many amazing resources available! Do some research, ask friends and family members what’s helped them on their journey then make a choice and do it!
The thing about it is, friend, is that we’ll never know what we’re capable of until we try!
Or as the great Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
So will you join me?
Will you commit to one action step this week towards turning your “I could never…” into an “OH YES I CAN”?!