I’ve written about 6 steps to overcoming overwhelm previously however today I’m going to dig deeper with the Back Yourself overwhelm-fighting-factor.
That golden question:
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail”
…is the premise for this post. If overwhelm is an emotion you can relate to struggling with, (weight loss goal or not!) I hope my observations of some of the factors at play can be of assistance.
Two major contributors to the overwhelm equation are:
1. The Need to Know.
2. Comparing Yourself to Others.
The ‘Need to Know’ is fed by anxiety as to whether You’ll Get It All Done and also the 3 Universal Fears:
=> That You’re Not Good Enough
=> Not Belonging.
=> Not Being Loved.
‘Comparing Yourself to Others’ is fed by a fear that you might Let Someone Down and also that You’re Missing Out.
(here’s a little diagram to illustrate where I’m headed with this!)
If you’ve spent any time around my blog you’ll know I’m obsessed with the reframe,
which means you choose to interpret something in the way that is most beneficial to you.
If you’re familiar with Tony Robbin’s ‘6 Core Needs’ you know that CERTAINTY is one of the 6 core needs all of us seek out. Each of us desire it to varying degrees. We all have the potential to ‘do’ certainty in either a resourceful or un-resourceful way.
(ok. done with the preamble!)
1. The Need to Know.
This is clinging to the need for Certainty. For Safety. Comfort. Potentially for status quo.
If you need to know before taking action – say for example, exactly how long till you will achieve your goal… or how much work you’ll have to put in… what sacrifices (I reframe them opportunity cost) you’ll have to make… well, there’s a fair chance you’re not even going to start.
Your need for certainty in the outcome is an excuse. It’s keeping you stuck.
How about if instead of seeking certainty in the circumstances around, you instead choose to have 100% certainty in yourself?
To Back Yourself 100%.
You can never control everything that happens around you… and that could be overwhelming right?! You can always control your response. That is Freeing.
=> that anxiety as to whether You’ll Get It All Done.
You won’t. Not everything. The solution is to get clear on what is most important and to prioritise that. To start with what is most important and take comfort in the knowledge that you have that under control and the rest will get, ditched, delegated or perhaps done when and if it is most important.
Onwards to the 3 Universal Fears and the contribution they can make to the overwhelm equation. First it’s important to acknowledge that it is absolutely normal to feel each of these fears. To need to know you are loved, are enough and that you belong. Regardless of someone’s success they will feel each fear at some point, to some degree. It is normal to feel driven to return to that (unattainable!) position that most of us were lucky to enjoy as a baby and young child (till around 5, 6, 7 years of age) where we felt an unconditional sense of being LOVED, ENOUGH and BELONGING.
=> the fear that You’re Not Good Enough.
For who? AND in relation to who’s standards and ideals? How successful can you ever be at achieving ‘society’s ideal’ or meeting someone else’s expectation if it’s not aligned with your personal values and what you believe to be of most importance?
The answer is to get clarity on your own personal standards and then, to live up to them.
(here are the >> fat elimination standards I live by, I recommend you create your own, for every area of your life).
=> the fear that You Don’t Belong.
To be part of a community is another vital human need. It’s a necessity. As pack animals we wouldn’t survive without each other… so it’s natural to value connection and to fear not belonging.
Part of the solution is to focus on where you do belong. I’m certain you have multiple positive reference points. Specifically in creating a healthier body and lifestyle it is understandable to fear the loss of belonging and connection with those people that indulged with you in the less active, less healthy lifestyle. Now you have the opportunity to be the healthy role model for these people… if they are willing. If they are are intent on clinging to their old habits then you need to actively seek out the positive communities/ individuals that are abundant. Also help someone else feel like they belong.
It’s that old principal; focus on someone else needs and yours just seem to miraculously be met… if you’re sad : help someone else smile, if you’re nervous : chat to that shy looking chick at the networking event, if you’re feeling the pinch : donate some time to charity.
=> the fear that You’re Not Loved.
If even a part of you believes that the people closest to you will retract their feelings if you transform your body and your health… that you won’t be able to relate without the excessive meals… or drinks… or WHEN you become a fitter, more confident and energized version of you, then it’s time to upgrade that vastly limiting belief.
It’s true you cannot force ‘health’ on anyone else or make them prioritize it. You can however at any time teach people how to treat you. You are not defined by your body. In the same way that sculpting a smokin hot body will never ‘fix’ everything or ‘make‘ someone love you, transforming your body will not make someone un-love you.
2. Comparing Yourself to Others.
The danger here is this can put you at a weakened position where you are all too aware of your own vulnerabilities, challenges, ‘to work ons’… and yet ignorant of everyones else’s!
We all put our best foot forward right? Yet, we’re less inclined to share the ‘failures’ and stuff ups. If you compare your struggles with the high-light reel of someone else’s life its the perfect excuse to never even try – because you’re starting at such a massive disadvantage right?
There will always be someone fitter, younger, richer, more popular, more successful, better connected… and that could be overwhelming right?! You can always improve on your best. That is Freeing.
Your best comparison is YOU yesterday. That’s all you ever need to improve on.
And heck, if you have a mega-catastrophe-type-beached-whale-inhaling-food-on-the-couch-blow-out-day… the great news is you get another chance. It starts at your very next meal or the very next second as you decide to throw on your gym gear and get your butt out the door.
=> that stress that you might Let Someone Down
This is similar to ‘Getting It All Done’. By default whenever you say Yes to something or someone you say No to something or someone. So your ‘Not to do’ list is vital.
The fact is you will let someone down… and if you’ve been struggling with your health for years now, then that person you’re letting down, is you.
With certainty of self comes the acknowledgement that your health is worthy of your time, energy and money. Whatever ‘health’ means to you. If you ‘say’ achieving your health goal is important to your quality of life and then you prioritize other peoples needs – repeatedly – over the simple daily actions you know you need to take to achieve your goal… then you’re letting yourself down.
=> that feeling You’re Missing Out.
The simple fact is you could choose to focus on all that another person has, or does and make that mean there is a whole lot that you are missing out on. As we’ve covered, for a start you’re only seeing the high-light reel of someone else life. Equally in every choice there is opportunity cost… every time you choose steak+veg over pizza+ice cream you can focus on the carb-fest you’re missing out on or the fit body you’re building.
Steak+veg = fit, lean, confident bod AND Pizza+ice cream = my goal isn’t worth it to me.
And so we return to my obsession with the reframe, the deceptively simple little tactic to allow you to interpret something in the way that is most beneficial to you… that is most likely to support you taking the most beneficial actions and subsequently enjoying the most rewarding result.