How To Make Lasting Change

I used to think my children lacked self control when they didn’t do what I asked them to do, not understanding that they have perfect self control. 

They are doing exactly what they want to do. They just aren’t doing what I want them to.

People aren’t lacking self control when they can’t make themselves do what they say they want to do. They just don’t really want what they say they want.

I believe people do exactly what they want. They simply have the wrong education to achieve their goals. People do what feels good. To some it feels good to alter their chemistry with drugs. To some it feels good to numb their minds with computer screens. While for some people it feels good to feel the pain of pushing their bodies physically or to give service or to create something beautiful. We all have our “drug” that we were taught to enjoy.

If someone says they want to lose weight but they continue to eat sugar then it’s because they are getting something they want from eating sugar, something they think is better than being thin. The high you get from eating sugar feels good and not eating it feels bad so why would you stop?

If you knew that you could change your diet and that you would only have to stop eating sugar for two days before you felt better then you would do it. Anyone can stop eating sugar temporarily and if you do it right the pain only lasts for a couple days. You could do it. You just don’t know how.

A friend of mine helped her brother with the GAPS diet. He was an alcoholic and a chain smoker. It took two days for his cravings to go away. Two days!!! He lived with her and followed the diet for five months. Now he’s back to drinking and smoking and he’s been in and out of jail. He probably thought he would just eat one thing he wasn’t supposed to and he would start the diet again tomorrow. His lack of education will probably kill him.

Interesting how one tiny little decision can alter the course of our lives.

Yesterday a friend started asking me a lot of questions about our diet. She said she was a sugar addict and kept telling me she could never stop eating sugar. She could. She just doesn’t know how. She gave me her number and wants to learn more about it. That’s where it starts.

When I have a child that is uncooperative about something it’s not because they want to be naughty. It’s because they just haven’t yet learned to value the behavior I am asking them to use and they haven’t learned yet that it’s something they are capable of even though I can see that they are. It’s my job to give them that education. I can be a good example, I can tell them inspiring stories, I can read inspiring books, I can make sure they aren’t distracted with less inspiring activities. I can make sure they get enough sleep and nutrition so they feel good enough to learn and grow.

There are other ways of changing children’s behavior. I know people that spank or yell or threaten or manipulate. I have tried all those things at one time or another because no one ever taught me how to simply teach. People who spank and yell want immediate obedience. There is no such thing with children. There is only patience. You ask for what you want, you explain why giving you what you want will give them what they want, and then you work with them to accomplish what you are asking for. It is a long process but then they become the sort of people you want them to become. They become people who act out of good desires instead of fear.

Like a child, you can treat yourself badly and try to force a change, acting out of fear, but it never lasts. If there is something you think you want then you have to educate yourself into a different behavior. That’s “all” you have to do. Like it’s so easy.

It’s not easy. Change is a painful process for me. I read. I talk to people. I try something new. I fail. I read some more. I try something else. I fail. I do that for the rest of my life but I have little successes along the way so I keep trying.

I cheated on my diet yesterday.

When I first started this diet last April I was so sick that I was desperate for change. Now that I am feeling better it’s easier to make excuses in my mind of why I can eat this one thing I’m not supposed to. It’s not going to kill me, it’s just going to prolong the healing process. I’ll start over tomorrow. It always happens at a weak moment; I’m around people that aren’t on the diet, I’m tired and I’m hungry.

I think I have realized why it was so much easier to stick to the diet last year. I wasn’t doing anything else. That’s not really true, I was doing a lot of things but I wasn’t doing as much and I was able to make the diet my very first priority.

I’m tired of starting over. I obviously need a better education. 

My children and I like to watch videos of fiddlers and classical violinists and really all kinds of dancers and musicians. I take them to as many live concerts, plays, operas and dances as I can.  It keeps us excited about playing our violins every day.

I’m going to try something new this week. First of all I have to be a little better organized with my food. Second I want to spend a few minutes every day watching inspiring videos. We went to the Banff Film Festival a couple weeks ago and all of those amazing athletes had my mind racing. While I was sitting there I thought, “I have too many amazing things I want to do! ! I am never eating sugar again!” As we filed out of the theater with hundreds of other people I wondered why we were the ones watching the videos instead of making the videos. Our life experiences have led us here and not there.

At three thirty every weekday afternoon all the creators working in my friend’s office stop and watch some short little videos online. I’m going to start including that with our evening activity.

I went to a climbing gym with some friends last week but I just had to watch because of the pain in my arm. Someday I want to rock climb but my arm is never going to get better if I can’t follow this diet.

Let’s do this.

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