MIND

It takes longer than you think

MEL NOAKES

The Self Care Coach

Quick fixes have blighted our society.  Lose 10 pounds in 10 days.  Get a 6 figure business in less than a year.  Take my 6-week course and change your life.

When did we stop valuing the journey?

In our busy world, we’ve become accustomed to “fast”.  Fast food, fast results, instant messaging, Amazon 1 hour deliveries, shopping home delivery on demand. Instant gratification is often no more than a press of a button away.

I know that when you see the promises the idea of being able to hop-skip and jump over some hurdles seems appealing.  I mean why deal with your “stuff” if you can just juice and starve and lose that last stone in 5 days like the ad says?

Because it’s not sustainable (and often not true!)

 

Why is it when it comes to our dreams and our bodies that we demand instant success?

Photograph by Omar Yassen via Unsplash

As a traveller, I know that the destination is merely a point of reference, but the beauty is in the journey.  I relish the bus journeys, the people I meet, the near misses, the actual misses and all the opportunities to learn and appreciate that life never runs smoothly.

And yet, when it comes to “real life” it’s somehow not as easy to accept and find the patience to enjoy the journey.  We live in a world of immediacy, stories of “overnight success”.  We are bombarded with tales of success and failure and search for relevance and meaning for our own efforts in the context of David and Goliath style stories.

And when we don’t have immediate success, we feel like we’ve failed.

When we watch athletes perform at the Olympics, it seems so easy. What we don’t see are the 4 years of dedicated training for their hours, minutes, sometimes even seconds, of glory.  We see music artists and film artists at award ceremonies or on tour, and we don’t see the hours spent learning lines and lyrics, the late nights and early mornings on a cold set.  We see Dr’s and don’t realise that they study for a lifetime to be able to sit there and work with us.

And there is SO much value in the journey.

“Remember how far you’ve come not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be but neither are you where you were”

My client Claire* had been on crash diets for years.  She would be on whatever the latest and greatest diet craze was and then when the restriction, deprivation and frustration got too much, she’d snap and go back the other way.  She was always lured in by the fact she felt she’d be happier and find life easier when she weighed less.  She was also then really susceptible to “lose weight fast” claims as it seemed it was a short cut to getting thin and therefore being happier and more successful.

And she did it time and time again.

Until she met me.  We looked at her motivation for eating, what it was that food represented to her, what she needed to feel truly happy and successful and started to understand why food had been a battle ground for years.  She slowly, carefully, unpacked the stories, beliefs and fears she had literally pushed down and away with food for years.

She started to see herself and her life differently.  She started to feel her emotions.  She gave herself permission to explore things.  And yes the weight came off, but slowly and sustainably.

If only everything was solved with coffee and tea

Photograph by Drew Coffman via Unsplash

When I was recovering from Anorexia I believed (naively) that when I made the decision to “get well” it would be as simple as clicking my fingers and “woopla I would be healed”.  Not so.

I had to learn so many new habits to replace the terrible ones I had. I had to teach myself to cook, to eat, I had to establish self-care practices – and that didn’t happen over night.

What I found was that each new “thing” I learned came quicker than the one before.  The mountain I thought would be sooooo hard to climb at the start, got easier with every step I made.  It wasn’t overnight success (it took me 15 years to even start the climb!) but once I embarked on the journey, once I committed, I found that I (mostly) enjoyed learning.  I grew a huge amount and discovered things about myself.

Losing 10 pounds, being a different dress size, eating “clean” for short periods is not health.  It’s not wellness. It’s not happiness.

I’m not saying that things have to be hard or take a long time to be worthy.  Not the case.  But if you’re looking for quick fixes all you’re actually doing is sticking a plaster over the problem and hoping it will go away.  It won’t.

Look back with pride at how far you’ve come and how much stronger you are as a result.

Photographs by Kelley Bozarth via Unsplash and Lucy Williams My Heart Skipped 

On my own journey, but also the journey I now take clients through, I’ve found the following 4 practices to be incredibly powerful and valuable.  It’s so easy to beat yourself up about not being where you want to be right now – but remember – you’re on a journey!

Keep a success diary
 

As the days, weeks and months roll by it’s hard to remember just how many small successes there have been. The first time you spoke in public, the first pound you lost on your weight loss journey, when your social media followers increased by just 1 person and how you felt when that happened.  By keeping a dedicated journal you can track the improvements over time and record all the wins, no matter how big or small.

Celebrate when you achieve a milestone
 

It’s so easy to take things for granted.  It’s also easy to say you don’t have time to mark a success.  But you have to.  Have a glass of wine with a friend, get the facial, buy the bag you’ve been eyeing up, take the holiday – whatever it is.  It tells the world you’re grateful and willing to accept success.  It reminds you how hard you’ve worked to achieve it and allows you to reward yourself for the work you’ve put in.

Find a buddy

Having someone in your corner when you’re working towards a goal has multiple benefits.  You have someone to champion you, bounce ideas off, share fears and dreams with and of course celebrate things with.  it can also be useful when friends or family don’t understand the journey you’re on to have someone who understands, who shares your passions and perspective and can fill you with confidence.

Be realistic

We often overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year.  Go easy on yourself but be realistic. It takes longer than we think to do things, but with the right practices in place, we can often learn to do things quicker.  Don’t beat yourself up if some things take longer, it’s the journey!

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