Your Fibro brain is a liar. I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past 20 years or so. What we think about our future is not usually true. It’s twisted in a way that makes change seem insurmountable. And, that’s okay. Once we know that, we can take a step back and look at this challenge with objectivity.
I’ve helped dozens, if not hundreds, of people over the years make incremental lifestyle shifts. I emphasize the word “shifts” because —
sometimes just a small step in the right direction
can have powerful results.
Lies the #Fibro Brain Tells Click To Tweet
Why Shift Rather Than Leap?
For this discussion, I’ll use the example of making nutritional changes. This is a common area where the brain may not be the truthteller you think it is.
Let’s say that you’ve read about the success of people who remove foods from their diets that they may be sensitive to. Food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are part and parcel in the fibromyalgia and chronic illness community. Some of the most common culprits are wheat/gluten, dairy, processed sugar, corn, soy, nightshades, caffeine, MSG, artificial sweeteners, and food additives/preservatives.
So, removing these foods to speed up healing is a good idea, right?
In theory, it is a good idea. In practice, there are many approaches to take – but your brain may fixate on only one. “I’ve got to totally clean out my pantry and fridge and throw away anything processed. I’ll eat only fresh foods and mainly salads. I’ll only eat ‘till I’m slightly full. And … I’ll stick with this plan for the rest of my life.”
(Notice that the brain likes to be dramatic.)
What other approaches could you take? What about making small nutritional lifestyle shifts that make sense to you? Pick a few things and then brainstorm ideas on what activities or actions could support those shifts.
It’s important to note that attempting to make lifestyle changes in leaps (dramatic thinking) allows your brain a legitimate reason to reject an idea. Change is scary. So, the brain (our thoughts) likes to emphasize the danger, impracticality, or impossibility. How likely are we to embark on something that feels dangerous, impractical, and/or impossible? Not very.
Are Big Leaps Always Bad?
Some lifestyle changes can happen in a leap. And, the results can be amazing.
A lifestyle leap can happen somewhat naturally. No effort needed. This type of leap occurs after a specific event, experience, or epiphany where the decision comes full circle and feels final. I’ve known people who’ve quit smoking, quit drinking, quit sugar, etc. all in a moment of feeling completely congruent with their intentions. They have a very firm feeling of what I’d call, resolve. Sure, there may be innate worries, but the sense of commitment overrides and pushes them forward – with a sense of confidence.
The only thing to keep in mind about lifestyle leaps is that it’s not really something you can “make” happen. It just does. And, for this reason, it’s not an everyday occurrence.
Since we’re talking about being dramatic, here’s a thought. Do we really need 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy? Check out this article to discover the fallacy in this “fact.”
How to Make a Lifestyle Shift Stick (say that 3 times fast 😉)
Here’s the counterintuitive part. In order to make something stick, it’s helpful to give yourself some wiggle room. Don’t hold the idea too tightly. Choose small steps to take toward your healing goals, implement a variety of strategies to support your choices, and expect bumps along the way.
Striving for perfection is a precursor to crash and burn
Instead, remind yourself (often) that you’re doing your best and that you’re making progress. Why? Because as you make small shifts, you likely won’t see or feel progress – at least not for a while. That’s why these consistent, supportive reminders are important. Acknowledge your effort now for results you’ll see later. That’s how to get your brain on board with your goals!
Ready to take action? (HINT: It’s much easier with help and guidance.)
If you’d like help mapping out your own shifts toward recovery, contact me HERE, and let’s have a chat. As a Fibromyalgia Recovery Coach, I understand what it’s like to make lifestyle changes happen. What shifts await in your future?