The Toxic Mindset That Held Me Back From Success, and How I Changed It.

There's a toxic mindset that held me back for a long time. It was responsible for my failures, including why for a long time I couldn't finish what I'd started: I couldn't stick with an exercise program, I couldn't really get a blog going, and I certainly couldn't get my side-business on track.  

I'd look at pictures of people's fitness transformations and say, "I wish I could do that." I'd read articles about amazing women entrepreneurs and convince myself, "She probably got really lucky." 

What's worse, I encountered this toxic mindset in films, when I flipped through magazines, and you know what it used to tell me? You're not where you are. Why aren't you thinner, leaner, and more financially successful? I used to hear those questions when I'd scroll through the social media feeds, laden with sparkly images of granite counter-tops and white-picket fences. 

This mindset left me wallowing in self-doubt and anxiety. I'd compare myself and believed that what I was doing wasn't enough.  

Have you guessed it? Do you know what this mindset is? Maybe you do because you've experienced it, too: success is created instantly and overnight, and if you don't do this, then there's something wrong with you.

But in the past years I've realized: success involves a long, often grueling and "unsexy" (as Darren Hardy calls it) process of doing the same thing over and over again, tweaking the process each time..until the results begin to trickle in.

The problem is that we love the idea of instant satisfaction. We want to buy into the idea that when a switch flips, we're rich and beautiful.

Do you remember the film,  The Pursuit of Happyness? It is a powerful film and one of my favorites. At the same time, the viewer doesn't get the full story. At the end of the movie, we don't realize that Chris Gardner built his dream life over the course of years and not minutes. Yet we want to believe that that's how it works, because it's what's easy and it's what doesn't push us out of our comfort zone. 

Movies and magazines only showed me that the struggle and sacrifice were side-events that needed to be skipped over quickly to get to the glorious ending; some friends' Facebook posts don't reveal their daily struggle and sacrifice...that's why I grew accustomed to believing in this mindset.

If you're struggling to be fit, to push play on your workout, to drive to the gym, or to say no to that second pastry, you're not a loser--you're normal, and it's time that you accepted that that struggle is normal and that it will always be present. 

If you believe that that struggle is abnormal, or that slipping or falling off your diet one day determines the course of your nutritional overhaul, then you will always stop yourself in your tracks and go back where you started.

I had to embrace, accept, and work with that struggle, and it transformed me slowly, until it no longer held me hostage. My self-esteem, confidence, and self-trust was no longer be obliterated by the idea that there was something wrong with me because I didn't magically "make it" in two months.  

So what's the first step? How do you begin to control this mindset instead of letting it control you?

De-program yourself.

You need to seek out successful people just so that they can tell you, not about how great their life is now, but about their struggles. When you talk to someone, instead of asking, "what did you do to get here?" instead ask, "how many failures did you need to learn from?" And you'll see that everyone has a journey. Many successful trainers and health coaches (myself included) didn't start here--we, too, started in a dark place.

Make your micro-adjustments. When you skip a workout, pick it up the next day at the same time. If you consume too many calories in one meal, eat less and choose a healthier variety in your next meal. If you don't read the personal development you need for your business today, then make sure you do it tomorrow so it becomes a habit. 

And most importantly, don't forget that in the end, you need to be proud of your hard work, not your achievements. Your achievements only confirm your hard work. 

 

 

Libet Chang