“It just makes me want to tear my hair out!!!”
This is what a former client of mine said to me when we first met.
Let’s call her Clare (I’ve changed her name for this article).
Clare had been dieting for years.
Following recipe plans.
Watching TV programmes.
And she’d had, well, mixed results.
Lost a bit of weight.
Felt a bit better.
And then when things seemed to be progressing…
She’d end up unable to keep willing her way through, fall off the bandwagon, end up back at square one and feeling like a miserable failure yet again.
Transformation vs Change
You see, Clare had tried to follow plans in the past.
Plans that were pretty strict.
Plans that meant she was unable to go out and socialise.
Plans that would lead to her moving towards her goal but hating the process.
Things had changed.
But they had not truly transformed.
So, what do I mean by that?
Well, change is easy.
Change something once and you’ve changed, right?
The only problem is that change, by its very definition, is… changeable.
You can change something, hold on for 30, 60, 90 days, get a result and then either change back or into something else.
It’s like holding your breath and hoping you can just will yourself through life without needing to exhale.
Transformation, on the other hand, is permanent.
You don’t go back from transformation.
By its very definition, you have transformed, and going back would require you to transform again.
But I’m not just talking about transformation in terms of diets and weight loss.
Consider what transforming would do as an entrepreneur or business owner too.
Just as dieters seem to be never able to stick to a diet, many business owners struggle to stick to the simple plan they have to grow their business.
A dieter buys diet book. Takes action for a while. Fails. Buys another diet book.
A business owner buys business book. Takes action for a while. Fails. Buys another business book.
An ‘x’ person buys ‘x’ book. Takes action for a while. Fails. Buys another ‘x’ book.
All because change is occurring, as opposed to transformation
So How Do We Transform?
The key is very simple.
Perhaps too simple for some people.
You will never get the body or life you want by doing the things you loathe.
Think about it… if you hate doing something, it will always be an effort and a struggle to keep doing it.
Who wants to live their life in perpetual struggle?
I know I don’t.
You see, this all relates to a portion of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex (PFC).
This is responsible for what makes us human.
It’s the only part of the brain that could really be referred to as ‘the mind’, with it allowing us to visualise goals and see our dreams and then build a path towards achieving them.
Without this section of the brain we would essentially be animals walking around in human bodies.
Only problem is that, for various reasons, we are a lot of the time what could be described as ‘out of our minds’.
To ‘access’ this human PFC portion of the brain we need to first satisfy the two other main areas – the reptile (basic safety and security) and the mammal (social connection and hierarchy).
For various reasons beyond the scope of this blog post, many of us are pulled ‘out of our minds’ and back into one of the other brains. And this leaves us unable to access the PFC to visualise and achieve a goal.
So… What Does This Have to do with Transformation?
Fortunately, there’s a kind of back up system in the brain that works for transformation, even if you are ‘out of your mind’.
It’s to do with another part of the brain called the Basal Ganglia (Ganglia – I love that word J ).
This is the home of habit.
And if we can make something a habit.
A genuine habit.
Then we transform.
So until responsibility for a behaviour has been taken up by the Basal Ganglia, you have merely changed and not transformed.
“How do we do that?” I hear you ask.
Well, it’s not about taking 21 days to build a habit or 28 days or whatever any of that bollocks says.
It’s not about reading as many books, attending as many webinars or buying as many courses as possible.
Nor is it about setting rules, getting accountability or having the greatest willpower.
It’s about… freedom and enjoyment.
You see, you only transform if you repeatedly ‘do’ a behaviour.
You only repeatedly do what you enjoy.
You only enjoy what you desire.
You only desire what you choose.
Being made to do something (whether it’s by yourself or by others) kills desire.
Kill desire and you kill enjoyment.
Kill enjoyment and you kill action.
Kill action and you kill results.
Back to Clare…
I can hear what you’re saying now.
“This all sounds fancy, but what can I actually do about this?”
Well, I’ll tell you what Clare did and hopefully it can give you some insight.
We set her free.
Free from the restrictive diet plans and exercise regimes.
Turns out, she hated eating breakfast.
Yet she was told she must eat breakfast because ‘it’s the most important meal of the day’.
Maybe it’s scientifically correct, and she would have lost more weight in a shorter amount of time by eating a protein heavy breakfast.
But she hated doing it, so she wasn’t going to stick with it.
So now she skips breakfast.
Doesn’t eat until lunch.
And because she’s happier, she eats a lot healthier at that meal.
Also turns out that she hates the gym and lifting weights.
Most experts would say the best exercise for losing weight is to go lift weights to charge the body’s metabolism and burn through those calories.
Clare hated it.
Much preferred getting outside on a bike or going for a hike up a mountain.
So she stopped her gym membership.
Now it doesn’t feel like a chore to go exercise.
It works in business too!
Is content creation a huge part of your business, yet you hate writing blogs?
Stop blogging! Start podcasting. Or making videos. Or outsourcing it.
Or you could even make blogging enjoyable by putting yourself in an environment you like while doing it.
So, instead of cooping yourself up in a horrible office… go out to the beach or the forest and write there if it’s a place you like being.
You will never make a habit out of it until you enjoy it and feel free in your choice in doing it.
So go enjoy life.
Isn’t that what it’s all about?