Turn Up the Heat

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Fabrizio Verrecchia

By Rena Greenberg

We can change by focusing on the results we want in life and how much it hurts not to have those results.

When my best friend was young, her house caught on fire and, tragically, burned to the ground. Miraculously, her family’s lives were spared. Lynda has told me that what she remembers most vividly about the incident is the unbearable heat and smoke that drove her and her family out of the house and to safety.

I have often pondered that this story is a great metaphor for life. Many of us long for change, but we often wonder why a crisis is necessary to drive us from a disastrous health situation to safety.

Coaching clients often sit with me in bewilderment and frustration, explaining how much they want to be different. I often hear people complain that, no matter what they do, they can’t lose weight and keep it off long-term. Sure, fad diets and popping pills work to some degree, but, if you’ve ever tried those gimmicks yourself, you know that the benefits are very short-lived.

On client, Sandy, said to me, “I know exactly what foods I should and shouldn’t be eating. My dad was diabetic, and I just crave sugar and carbs. I eat pretty healthy, but I always end up bingeing on carbs or candy later.”

Sandy is not alone; I hear this from so many people who are desperate for a permanent solution to weight loss. Like so many others, Sandy is successful in many other areas of her life. She has a career at the top of the corporate ladder, a wonderful marriage that she has sustained for decades, a great relationship with her children, and nurtured lifelong friendships. “So why can’t I do this?” she cried out in frustration.

At that moment, I thought about Lynda, as a small child, dashing out of the home she loved, gasping for fresh, clean air. Her only motive was to get away from the smoke and heat. That desire put a spring in her step and adrenaline filled her bloodstream, making her getaway swift and successful.

Think about areas of your life where you succeed. You are motivated, aren’t you? Now before I go any further, I can hear Sandy’s voice telling me, “I am motivated.”

“Why,” I ask her. “What if you were to go on exactly as you are for the rest of your life, at the weight you are right now? Why wouldn’t that be OK?”

She didn’t miss a beat. “No. I don’t like how I look, and I don’t like how I feel.”

So the issue for Sandy is to increase her motivation. And it’s not just conscious motivation that matters, but it’s the hidden beliefs of the subconscious that are driving her.

I am not a person who is particularly fond of pain. Like many, I shy away from emotional and physical pain as much as I can. But there’s a secret about pain that I discovered long ago. It makes us take action—and that’s not always a bad thing. When I look back at my life, I must admit that often I have been more motivated by avoiding pain than I have been by wanting something better. In other words, once I realize that my motivation in life tends to be avoiding what I don’t want—at least in many areas of my life—then it makes sense for me to turn up the “heat” when it comes to self-motivation to achieve my goals—whether that’s in regard to a relationship, health, weight, or work.

For example, if I have a project to do, instead of focusing on how much I may not feel like doing it, if I remember how badly I will feel if I don’t do it, or conversely, how much relief I will feel when I get it done, it’s a lot easier to get my subconscious mind to send impulses that put me to work. Many athletes have confided in me that this is exactly the technique they use to motivate themselves to practice and achieve their best game. In fact, it’s very common for athletes to use self-hypnosis, as I do, to make their goals much more achievable.

The key to success with all our goals is remembering how much we want to achieve them. But that’s not enough. Not only do we have to dangle the carrot in front of our own eyes—whether that carrot is a beautiful, healthy, sexy body; a sense of great accomplishment when we finally write that book and people tell us how much they benefited; or a husband or wife looking at us adoringly—we have to go a step further and link that carrot to a new behavior.

This action step may be something that you don’t feel like doing right now. You may say to yourself, “Yes, I want the great body, or the sense of accomplishment that will come with finishing that book, or a happy, healthy marriage, but I don’t want to do the work.” I’m sure this cycle of pain and frustration is very familiar. Most of us have been through it in one area of life or another.

How can you break the cycle of procrastination and self-sabotage? Turn up the heat! Forget about what you do want because even though you may be on a spiritual path and only want to focus on the positive, it’s time to be realistic. Why? It’s because the positive may not be enough to get you to take action! So, what is? What motivated me to take action to live the last 30 years at my ideal weight and health is the fear of what my health might be like if I didn’t put that attention into my eating and lifestyle.

For me, health has always included the mental, physical, and emotional aspects of well-being. Since my 20s, I’ve known intrinsically that what I eat and how I live could completely reverse my destiny. I could literally change the outcome of my life from being a very unhealthy, sick person to being a motivator for wellness and health.

When I first started, I don’t know if the thought of helping other people onto a new, healthy road even would’ve been believable to my subconscious mind, the seat of all behaviors. But the fear of being sick and tired sure was, and I took advantage of that by linking every harmful food to painful, negative feelings.

Though spiritual growth is my greatest value and joy in life, my message and teaching to others is to live practically. How do you change? One way is by focusing on the results you want in your life and how much it hurts not to have those results. Why focus on how sad you are that you’re not going to fit into a size 2 when that really isn’t a good enough reason anyway? For me the thought of diabetes and all those complications, and the chill that ran through my spine when I contemplated that, was a much stronger and more effective motivator.

In parenting, my marriage, my career, my health, and in all my relationships, I have found over and over that the fear of what I don’t want and how easy it is for me to create what I don’t want has driven me to the empowerment of taking the action steps I need to take to get what I do want. For that, my heart is filled with gratitude.

Ultimately, self-hypnosis and hypnosis are about taking control of your destiny by figuring out how to inspire yourself to do what you really want to do. The mind thinks in pictures, and when you link the inner images of what you really want to your new behaviors, you’ll find that you can attract a new life of health, peace, and happiness with ease and grace.

As we bring in this wonderful new year of 2019, it’s time to start changing the old patterns of the past. Fear that’s debilitating and just causes you to waste time worrying is useless. Make a list of how you want your life to be in the areas of health, relationship, finance, and personal fulfillment.

Now think of three action steps you need to take in each of these areas to get closer to what you want. Imagine what you want. Finally, turn up the heat. How are you going to feel when it’s December 2019 and you’re no closer to your goals than you are today? Is that OK? Why not? Be kind to yourself, but at the same time, feel the heat a little. And let that heat be a reminder that you have everything you need. You can do it and it’s time to take action!

Rena Greenberg, a Hay House author, can be reached at EasyWillpower.com. Her weight loss and gastric bypass hypnosis success has been featured in 150-plus news stories including USA Today, Woman’s World, The Doctor’s, CNN, Good Morning America and Nightline. PBS stations nationally aired Rena’s show, “Easy Willpower,” in August 2015. Her wellness program is sponsored in 75 hospitals and 100-plus corporations. She conducts hypnotherapy sessions with people all over the world on Skype.

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