Back to food for a second though to illustrate my idea. I hear a lot from people I meet about the food choices they make followed by justification of why it's the best choice. I can be included in this practice of course. We all have our beliefs, but my passion for nutrition seems to attract people to wanting to share their thoughts with me. What interests me though is that I often hear people (and observe them) talking about their high protein meat laden diets with statements about weight loss and health. This is said to me (a thin healthy person) usually by someone struggling with weight and health. I don't say this as a point of narcissism, but rather bewilderment. People defend their eating practices with reasons (weight loss, fitness gains) that don't actually work for them and do it to someone that is thin, healthy and active. It's like someone with a rear wheel drive car stuck in the snow touting the benefits of their superior traction to the person driving by them in their four wheel drive. Cognitive dissonance is my concept of interest this month.
I get it, we work hard at fooling ourselves by following myths that perpetuate our status quo. We don't inherently want to change. It's easy to fall in love with Atkins or Paleo diets that encourage our own set of false beliefs. I was that person just three short years ago, 55 pounds heavier, sedentary, unhealthy, loving bacon and unhappy with my body image.
But again, this food talk isn't the point of this post. It's really about how you can change your behaviour in life. How you can change your own mind and stop listening to media, friends, family and silly bloggers like me.
At some point I stopped living in misty wishful thinking, I stopped blindly trusting the voices of experts and actively seeking out experts that would agree with my opinions. It's never hard to find articles on the internet that agree with any point of view. Bacon is good, butter coffee is good, fat is the new thin. I started observing my world and seeing if what actually happens around me actually fits with my beliefs. I started waking up from my own delusions and considering what I wanted from life. I found the people that were doing those things, then figured out how they did it. I hope that's why you are reading this blog.
For example maybe you are indeed trying to lose weight. Try this, stop picking up magazines and buying weight loss shakes. Go to your grocery store and observe. Glance at peoples carts and their corresponding waist lines. Notice anything? Now look at your cart. Are you in line at Starbucks with a thin person in front of you ordering (be fair, make it someone your age and gender), what are they ordering? Is your frappe mocha whipped caramel treat really the path you want for the life you want to live? Are you really treating yourself with the respect you deserve?
Want to make more money? Take a look at your community. Maybe your field of work. Who is doing well? What are they doing? Does that interest you? If so why are you chasing your old path? Repeating your same patterns?
Want to run a marathon? Triathlon? Climb a mountain? Don't just read about it. Surround yourself with people that are doing it. Listen to them, watch them. See how they are failing and thriving. See who is happiest in the pursuit (that goes for money too) and try what they are doing. See people in agony and hurting while training for that marathon? Consider why, what are they doing differently than someone enjoying training and thriving?
Mostly if you aren't happy with your place in life stop and look at the environment you are in. Maybe you haven't made all the choices that have put you there, but you can make changes today. Right now. You can't control your past, it's over, you can influence now, today, this very minute. What would make you happy? Who is doing those things already? The people we spend our time with influence our actions and mood. Choose carefully who you give the gift of your time.
The next time you see a list of the "10 things to make you happier, stronger, faster, wealthier, thinner" just skip it. It's fodder for the mindless that will take no action toward their goals. Instead make a conscious choice that today you will choose a goal and you will quietly, without judgment, observe the people in your community that are doing what you want to do and you will learn from them.
My oatmeal was delicious this morning.