An interesting quote. People often think they can’t change, they think it’s too late and they put up with where they are (for the old saying you cannot teach an old dog new tricks) but the reality is it is NEVER too late to begin creating something that we want to achieve. We are not stuck with anything in our lives. We might be stuck in an emotional state but that’s easily changed if you decide that you want to change. Habits can be changed; they can be overwritten by new habits that are more beneficial to you.
The first stage of any habit change is to know yourself and that’s why the first stage of the S.H.I.F.T! system I use is self-analysis. On Friday I suggested you took a test designed by Gretchen Rubin to see what your dominant tendency is in relation to your habits.
Are you an obliger, a Rebel, a Questioner, an Obliger, or an Upholder. Knowing your tendency will enable you to start to understand something about why you make the choices that you do do. I’m an Obliger (and so is my husband).
Rubin suggests firstly that I do what I have to do. I’m not sure what that means; it seems that I do things I might not want to do because other people expect me to.
The second part of Rubin’s analysis is that I don’t want to let others down and that is very much me. If I make a commitment to do something I will do it; whether it’s good for me or not. This has caught me out in life most notably where I agreed to marry my first husband when I knew that I shouldn’t have; but I said I would and I did. I would not go back on my word.
The Third part of the analysis is that I may let myself down. I feel that I do let myself down sometimes by being lazy and making excuses to myself for my actions and behaviours.
I struggle to meet my own own inner expectations because it appears I’m very motivated by external accountability. I’m good at meeting deadlines; I meet my responsibilities; people rely on me; but very often I resist my inner expectations.
As Rubin suggests my biggest fear is letting other people down. If I’m honest I am the kind of person who says I give 110% to my job so I’ve got no time to exercise;
I’m busy doing work so I don’t have time for self-care – that’s me.
I seem to have a strong need for accountability and if I think back to my childhood I think I was brought up in a household which was not religious but we went to church every Sunday. I was bought up a Catholic; went to an all girls Catholic School. I am a girl. Girls were very much brought up to meet their responsibilities to others; to the family; to the world; to their husbands; and to the men around them generally.
Rubins’s analysis has been interesting for me because I’m very responsive to what other people want of me. During my career I had a couple of periods of burnout from excessive zeal to please others. I have also had an episode of obliger rebellion where I have just had enough of obliging others and reached the point where I make a decision to change. For example I left a job with no notice once because I thought I just had enough; I asked my first husband to leave when I could take no more of the life we were leading.
That I work best with external accountability is crucial for have it formation in how my habits have developed, been sustain and MOST IMPORTANTLY on how I can change them For example, doing this coaching programme makes me accountable to you. Tt makes me get up and do my session every day it makes me clarify my thoughts because I’m looking at habits in general; I am also looking at my own habits and I’m able to bring into the discussion with you what’s going on in my life.
As an obligor in terms of my habits I understand better now why do some of the things that I do in the broadest sense. This is the first stage of change: understanding why you do the things that you do.
Having self-knowledge is crucial, so I would urge you to take the Rubin test and I’ll put the link in it again today. Other issues people with emotional control issues using food may also have are anxiety and depression and tomorrow I will give you a link to some international questionnaires that you can use to see if you’re anxious or depressed because these can have a big bearing on how you use food to help your emotional state.
The more you know yourself, the easier you will find the change process.