Column: Be careful what you wish for


Commentary by Paula Presnoples

The left hemisphere of your brain processes language and the right hemisphere processes concepts. They work together to create concepts and express them verbally. The language we use to talk about the changes we want in life can alter our concepts without our awareness. For example, weight loss, the number one New Year’s resolution in America, expresses an idea that we want to weigh less.

Weight loss is an expression of pounds on a scale. However, often the concept we are really after is being happier, healthier, more fit or having a smaller waistline. Losing weight doesn’t guarantee any of those things. A person can lose weight and still not a have the six-pack abs they want or be any healthier or happier. A client who came to me to lose weight once asked me, after reducing over 40 pounds, why isn’t this working? Clearly weight loss wasn’t the real goal.

Have you ever thought about losing something? Often when something is lost we go in search of it and hope to find it. So by using that language are we setting ourselves up to find the weight we have lost? Many people who choose weight loss, only end up gaining it back and often with a few extra pounds. That is why, in part, diets don’t work. They are focused on the wrong concept.

When we set a weight loss goal, we create an end point in our quest. What happens when we achieve our goal? We move on to the next goal. Once we have run the marathon, it is over. Not so with health and wellness or with maintaining a healthy weight. Being healthy is a lifestyle not a goal to be achieved and left behind.

The next time you want to make a change, make sure you understand what it is that you really want and then turn that concept into language that truly represents your goal. Otherwise you could find yourself asking, “Why isn’t this working?”

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