As some of you on Twitter may know, this past Monday was my first official day of complete self-employment. I left my 9-5 last week to pursue things that are monumentally more important to me. Things like writing for EG and for barroncuadro.com, helping more clients, and of course building Fifth&Brannan with Katie.
Sidenote: If you’ve found this site at all useful the past two years, please pledge even as little as $5 towards our campaign; it would mean a lot. $25 and up gets you some really wonderful handmade goods.
Leaving wasn’t easy. It took a whole lot of courage, most of which I didn’t think I had. I thought about what I would be losing (the notion of security, a routine I loved to hate, the guarantee of a check every couple weeks) and that was almost enough to stop me. If I hadn’t been considering it for months and months, that fear actually might have won.
I tried pinpointing the differences between the moment I quit, and the first time I considered quitting many months ago. What changed between now and then? Essentially I was in the same position, doing the same things, so nothing had changed in my environment.
What I realized was that though my environment remained the same, my mindset was shifting, and I was reaching my tipping point. This shift happened naturally over a period of months, through voracious reading, connecting with like-minded peers, and gradual success in the growth of my side hustle.
After a while, my feelings of uncertainty and worry were replaced with, “Dude, WTF are you waiting for? Let’s do this already!” My environment was the same (the workplace), my routine was the same (working on the same stuff, the same daily meetings, the same commute). What changed was my mindset, and that’s what incited drastic, liberating, life-altering change.
This same exact thing happened to me years ago, in 2005 when I was 241 lbs. Like I mentioned in the inaugural EB post, I was always a bit portly growing up, and though I had the desire to lose weight, I never followed through with it.
Sure, I went through the motions (tried being more active, watched what I ate) but what stopped me from triggering real change was my mindset. I didn’t truly believe, deep down in the pit of my soul, that I could make a change. I felt like I was too far in the hole to dig myself out.
So, what changed?
Two things happened, one was an event, the other, more of a process.
My beliefs started to change when I began to actively seek out examples of those who have successfully made that change. I absorbed every morsel of inspiration I found. I checked out weight loss forums, body transformation sites, sites that discussed food and healthy eating.
I analyzed what I put in my body on a daily basis and compared that to a healthier meal comprised of better choices. I found a copy of Body for Life and was amazed by the before and after images of people following a simple plan.
My mind slowly started to shift, simply because I saw other ordinary people doing something I’ve always wanted to do. If they can make a change, so can I.
Then one day, I met my cousin’s boyfriend (now husband) and he told me his story. Apparently this 170 lb dude standing in front of me was once 300+ lbs. I was so engrossed in his story and methods; I ate up every word. Here was a real life example of the results I wanted.
That meeting and conversation changed my life. It was the tipping point that allowed months of stories and inspiration to manifest into action. Once I returned home, I laid out an eating and exercise plan and made shit happen.
Actions for Mindset Shifting
A similar tipping point in your life will need to happen naturally, as it did in mine. The only thing under your control is your mindset, and how you choose to fuel it.
I believe that before any significant change can occur, a huge mental shift needs to take place. Oftentimes, this mental shift is the biggest determinant of success.
Here are some things you can do to begin that gradual shift:
Believe a change can be made
Learn to believe something can be done, that it’s not impossible, that it’s never too late. It might be as simple as telling yourself “I think I can, I think I can” like the Little Engine That Could. Seriously. That sounds corny as shit but I’ve met some people who are really down about themselves, and it’s pretty telling why they can’t make a change.
They’ve already made the decision to fail before they even started.
You just need to start telling yourself you can, and that leads to the next thing…
Silence the self-doubt
Oftentimes, the biggest obstacle when it comes to life-altering change is yourself. We are our own biggest critics. When you start to doubt, listen to the things you tell yourself. Would you let a stranger talk to you that way? Would you let your friends tell you what you can and can’t do? Would you resign to their assumptions, or would you tell them to go to hell and do everything in your power to prove them wrong?
By the way, if the people that surround you aren’t 100% supportive of your efforts, or if they are unmotivated and lazy, it’s time to start hanging out with different people.
Seek out inspiration
Like I mentioned, I found sources of inspiration that would fuel me throughout my journey. I looked for the ideal After image I wanted. I read stories of individuals who have made huge changes with their bodies. I studied them, learned their methods, delved deep into their thought processes and insecurities. I wanted to know how we were similar and what they did to spark change.
Collaborate with like-minded people
I started to meet people in real life that made great changes in weight loss and muscle gain. It’s very different when you meet people face to face and you can hear their stories and ask them questions. Most of these interactions took place after my first meeting with my cousin’s husband, but they provided the energy, inspiration, and knowledge I needed to keep going and try new things with fitness.
Just start. Seriously, just do it. Start taking active steps to think more positively. Start telling yourself you can make a change. Start to silence that negative self-talk clouding your mind. Start to read and absorb stories of people who have done it. Start reaching out to others who can help. Start changing what you put into your body. Start sweating a little more each day.