People often say babies don’t come with an instruction manual.
Imagine if you had been born with one though. What would be in it?
Your instruction manual might have parallels with a computer manual but instead of instructions for installing and running word processing or spreadsheet capabilities, you’d have instructions for creating and running relationships, health-related behaviours and your self-esteem.
The Table of Contents might have topics like:
- Installing and Running Values and Belief Patterns from Your Primary Caregiver
- Picking Up and Embedding Attitudes from Your Family and Peers
- Adopting Norms from Your Environment
Where instructions come from
We all pick up “instructions” for life from our environment. Beliefs, values, attitudes and norms from our environment tell us what to do in the situations we find ourselves in.
During the major child developmental phases , we absorb beliefs, values, attitudes and norms from our environment; from our family and friends, our schools and workplaces, the books we read, the movies we watch, the experiences we go through. We take on many of these things without question, embracing things we are exposed to whether we realise it or not.
Automating our instructions
Further topics in our instruction manual might be:
- Putting It All Together: Automating Thought and Behaviour Patterns
- Crystallising Your Story with Routine
Some people have an instruction manual – with a story and embedded thought and behaviour patterns – that is helpful and allows them to achieve their goals in life. Others have a manual that gives them flawed instructions because they have taken on limiting beliefs about themselves and the world.
As a weight loss coach I see this all the time. Clients invariably have instructions – beliefs – that lead them to fail at achieving the lean body they actually want. But what if we could take the idea of an instruction manual and change the instructions we are using? Well, we can. We can change our beliefs and get a better outcome. Once we upgrade to instructions that are effective for achieving successful long-term weight loss, that is exactly what we will achieve.
What would “effective weight loss instructions” look like? Remember, these instructions start at the belief level. Use the steps below to identify resourceful beliefs (aka effective weight loss instructions).
Writing an effective weight loss instruction manual
1. Start with the end in mind and ask yourself: “What do I want?”
Let’s say you answer: “I want to be 60 kilos and remain lean and healthy for the rest of my life”.
2. Next, put this into a positive, present tense statement
For example: “I am 60 kilos, lean and healthy for life”
3. Finally, ask yourself: “What would I have to believe for this to happen easily and enjoyably?”
Write a list of all the things you would believe about yourself and the process of shedding unwanted weight in order to easily and enjoyably reach and sustain your ideal weight.
- I easily release excess body-fat with healthy behaviours
- 60 kilos is my natural, healthy weight
- I enjoy looking after myself
- Being fit and healthy improves every aspect of life
- It is easy for me to make healthy choices
- The rewards of a healthy, active lifestyle are worth it
- Regular exercise is a way of life
- Healthy eating is how I lead “the good life”
- Positive thinking just feels better
- Being fit and healthy is sexy
- Looking after myself is easy, fun and satisfying
- If I trip up, I just get back on track as quickly as possible
- People can be lean, fit and healthy at every age
- Every step towards my goal is worth it because I am worth it
Your dominant beliefs are your instructions
Imagine having the beliefs listed! Wouldn’t that make a difference?
Actually, that’s exactly what I want you do right now. I want you to look over my list – or your own list of brainstormed beliefs – and imagine these are your dominant beliefs.
Just for now, pretend you are totally secure in these beliefs. Your self-image is unwavering and aligned to these values and beliefs. You live them with certainty and ease. For you, releasing any excess weight and achieving your ideal weight is simply a fait accompli!
Notice how calm and confident you feel. With these beliefs (instructions), you are simply on the path and you know you will reach your destination and easily sustain the results.
Using your imagination in this way shows you how important those underlying instructions are. Your beliefs point you in a certain direction and tell you what to do. If you are not getting the outcome you want – in weight loss or any other area – your belief system needs an overhaul.
Time taken examining your beliefs – your underlying instructions – is time well spent. Find out if your beliefs are supporting you to achieve your goal or if you need an upgrade.