The basic premise of my work is simple.
The premise is...
..If you find your source of inner inspiration, you'll be able to make improvements to to your diet and lifestyle...
- without suffering,
- without feeling deprived, and
- while using only the smallest amount of willpower.
Changing your diet and lifestyle does not have to be a struggle. The inspiration for becoming healthy can flow from you, consistently, and you can enjoy living a healthier life.
But sometimes a person will become inspired and make a change to their health—to stop eating sugar, or to start walking every day, or whatever...
...only to have that new behavior soon slide back to the way it was before.
And when that happens to you, you are likely to lose your inspiration.
Today I'd like to explain to you why you sometimes find your behavior slipping back to the way it was before...
...And I'll show you how you can avoid that "backsliding," and stay inspired in the future.
Health is a Multi-Rivet Issue
The big thing you need to understand is this:
Health is a multi-rivet issue.
Let me explain...
Imagine two sheets of metal, held together with a single rivet. One sheet of metal is a problem behavior you are dealing with, and the other sheet of metal is you.
For example, the problem behavior might be that you feel compelled to eat a lot of ice cream...and you need to stop eating ice cream, so you can lose weight.
Compulsively eating ice cream is the "problem behavior" sheet of metal, held by one rivet to the sheet of metal representing "you." You have that problem behavior because it's attached to you by that one rivet.
Now imagine that the rivet represents an unresolved emotional issue—some pain point, some risk, some limiting belief or counterintention, that needs to be healed before that problem behavior can be released.
For instance, the "rivet" holding that problem behavior to you might be the fact that eating ice cream is your way of getting through the stresses of your day. Until you "pop that rivet"—that is, until you resolve that belief that you must eat ice cream if you are going to "get through your day"—you won't be able to change your ice-cream-eating behavior.
When you heal that belief and "pop that rivet," however, you'll be free, and you'll naturally stop reaching for the ice cream. You won't need it to "get through the day." The problem behavior won't be attached to you anymore.
Many behavioral compulsions are "one rivet issues." Handle one issue—pop off that one rivet—and the problem behavior is easy to release.
...there are other problem behaviors (most notably problems related to taking action to improve your health) that are multi-rivet.
Think of that this way:
Imagine those two sheets of metal again...but this time imagine that the "problem behavior" sheet of metal is held to the "you" sheet of metal not by one rivet, but by six, seven, or eight rivets.
And again, imagine that each rivet represents a different, separate unresolved emotional issue that holds that problem in place.
To return to our example: you might need to stop eating ice cream so you can lose weight. But what if there are six or seven distinct "rivets" (emotional issues) that drive you to eat that ice cream?
The emotional rivets might be:
- The belief that you need ice cream to make it through the stresses of your day,
- The feeling that you can't have fun with your family or friends without eating ice cream with them,
- Your experience that eating ice cream late at night makes you feel special and cared for in a way nothing else does,
- The fact that eating ice cream makes you feel "in control" of your life,
- Your memory about how, when you were a kid, your favorite grandfather always bought you ice cream, and so eating it reminds you of being with him,
- Your feeling that you spend so much time doing things for other people, you really have to eat ice cream so you can have something "just for you,"
- Part of you feels ashamed, and eating ice cream both punishes you and helps you not feel that shame,
- And so on.
You can see how resolving just one of those issues won't permanently change your compulsion to eat ice cream...because that one rivet is only one of the ways that the behavior is being held in place in your life.
You can do a piece of emotional work—a coaching session, a session in your support group, whatever—and your behavior might improve. But if there are other rivets that need to be handled, your behavior will likely slip back to the way it was before.
And that's one of the main reasons you might lose inspiration about improving your health. You "do your work," you get inspired, you make a change...but things slip back to the way they were, because you only popped one of the rivets that was holding the behavior in place.
There's good news and bad news:
I'm going to give you the bad news first:
The bad news: There are often a number of emotional rivets that have to be removed before you'll have the lasting inspiration that will allow you to easily take action to improve your health, consistently, without struggle.
The good news: the number of rivets is finite. There aren't thousands of them...but there may be a handful of rivets that you have to get through. Fortunately, you can get through them so that your new behavior comes effortlessly, and so that the old behavior is a "thing of the past."
We "backslide" to old behaviors because we lose our inspiration about creating the bodies that we long for. And we often lose that inspiration because we don't realize that there's more than one emotional "rivet" to be popped...or we lose our inspiration because we start to think the number of emotional rivets holding the problem behavior to us is infinite.
But the truth is, if you keep working your emotional issues around food and lifestyle, those problem behaviors can become a thing of the past, and you can wholeheartedly take new, healthy action.