Last week, I shared a 3 step approach to renewing your mind. I truly believe that renewing your mind is foundational to your breakthrough in your health and in all other areas of your life. Your battle with your weight is first lost or won in your mind.
I’ve really put myself to task this week and have been working those 3 steps that I shared with you last week but I ran into a road-block which inspired this week’s post.
I realize that in order for me to continually renew my mind, I have to be aware of what’s going on in there. I have to be conscious of my thought. I’ve realized that by the time I ‘gave in and ate something I did not plan’, my thoughts had already been running roughshod in my mind and the damage was already done.
So this article is a prequel to last week’s. If you’re anything like me and you live much of your life on automatic pilot then you will have to learn how to increase your consciousness before the process of renewing your mind can be truly effective. If you’re not sure if you live on automatic pilot then answer these questions below. If you know for sure that you need some help in this area then you can skip these questions and go right to action steps for developing your consciousness.
Conscious living (eating) is about choosing what you will eat instead of letting your mood dictate your diet. About thinking about your decisions instead of being led by circumstances.
Not sure if you need to live more consciously, ask yourself the following questions … if you find yourself saying yes to many of them, you might want to consider mastering this step before renewing your mind:
1. Do you plan what you’re eating and the physical activity you do each day?
2. Do you eat what is put in front of you rather than foods you enjoy?
4. Do you find yourself stuck in an exercise rut or not exercising at all even though you really want to?
5. Do you find yourself overweight because you’ve been eating the food you’ve been eating for years.
7. Do you find yourself wasting time on Facebook or watching TV, hanging out with friends (or other activities) instead of exercising or doing things that contribute to your health?
8. Do you go through your days not thinking about what you’re doing?
9. Do you find yourself wishing that you could do more or be more but instead just go with the flow of day to day life?
10. Are you in shock/disbelief/frustrated that you let your weight get so out of control?
If you answered “no” to all of these questions, you’re probably already living consciously, and you don’t need this article at all. For those who would like to live more consciously, read on.
How to Live Consciously:
Living consciously is deceptively simple. I can change in 1 second and you may not even realize it. I’m going to outline as many strategies as I can think of. The goal is not for you to do them all right away but to see if any of them can be easily implemented into your life, also notice the ones that will have the biggest impact and try them first:
1. Wake up in prayer. Before your feet hit the floor each morning, ask the Holy Spirit to make you conscious and aware of the traps and pitfalls that might sabotage you throughout the day. Learning to living consciously is a huge undertaking that will require more strength than we’re capable of mustering up.
2. Use your emotions as check-points. Emotions such as anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, tiredness often lead us to eat but what if tuned in to those feelings instead of stuffing them. What if we changed the pattern of anger = eat to anger = pray. I know it will not happen over night but if we continually apply this new paradigm instead of our old familiar pattern, it will eventually lead to change.
3. Pray throughout the day. I admire the Muslim culture for their commitment to pray throughout the day. ‘Salat’ is the obligatory Muslim prayers, performed five times each day. Imagine if you took time out of your day, each and every day to (re)connect with God. How powerful would your life be? For me, I know that food would have less importance that it currently does.
4. Set a goal each year. Do you know what you want to accomplish this year for your health? There’s a popular quote that says, ‘A confused mind says no.’ If you don’t have a clear consistent plan for your weight and health then your mind will say no to it and default to whatever’s comfortable. Do you have a clear and consistent plan for how to achieve it? Many of us are on automatic pilot because we have not taken stock of where we currently are and where we want to be.
5. Consider the Costs– Many of us are not conscious of our thoughts around our health because we have not taken the time to consider the price we will have to pay to be in good health. There may be a financial investment of eating healthier foods, hiring a trainer, investing in exercise equipment and maybe even seeking counselling. You may need to sacrifice time that was devoted to other things or you may need to wake up earlier to plan. If something costs you then you will value it more and be conscious of your investment. I challenge you to take some time and write out all the costs associated with improving your health.
6. Consider the Consequences– There are also consequences to inaction. When you take the time and realize that your poor health can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strained relationships, inability to enjoy everyday activities then you will become more conscious on a daily basis of why a healthy lifestyle is so important.
7. Take an inventory. There’s a popular saying,’if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. A great exercise to do is to track what you do (and think). We do this exercise in our Weight Loss, God’s Way challenges and it’s always so eye-opening because it makes you aware of how much of your time is spent in negativity/procrastinating/distracted/discouraged and anxious. Try this tool to help you track how you spend your time or simply set an alarm and check in on what you’re thinking and doing every time your alarm goes off. Try this for 2-3 days to get a good picture.
8. Saturate your Mind– I sometimes find myself singing along to popular songs in the car only to realize that I’m singing about adultery, bondage, lust, desperation, ‘gettin’ down in the club’ and excessive drinking and that’s just the chorus. I know the lyrics because I hear them often; they get stuck in my head. So why can’t we do the same for uplifting, empowering songs. I’m learning to play worship music as often as you can; post scripture all around your house, in your kitchen cupboards, on the dash-board of your car, in every mirror in your house; on your fridge. Remind yourself of God’s word in all the places where you need to pay attention. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he~ Proverbs 23:7
9. Make time to disconnect. For many of us, we don’t have time to stop. We’re on a non-stop hamster wheel that just keeps going and going. Taking the time to stop will completely throw off our entire schedule. But its amazing what you’ll learn about yourself and your heavenly father when you take some time to unplug and just be with yourself. Many of us can’t hear God talking to us because there’s too much chatter and activity always going on in our minds and our lives in general. Last Sunday, I made a conscious choice to disconnect from everything and just ‘be’. It was not stellar my first time around but I know it will get better with time.
10. Live in Gratitude- A number of years ago I started a gratitude journal. It involved writing out 5 things you’re grateful for each day. What starts to happen is that your mind will begin to search out and become more conscious of what you see, do, feel and think. Having hot water, feeling the sun shining, hearing birds singing, the ability to walk, see, read and eat become activities to experience and cherish instead of daily mundane activities that we give no thought to.
Renewing your mind is a critical step for transforming your health and helping you lose weight but first you have to learn how to take control of your thoughts. Are there any of these strategies you can put in place today? If you really want to renew your mind then learn what currently has your mind and reclaim it as your own.
There’s so quick fix or instant solution but I promise you that if you learn how to renew your mind by first increasing your consciousness everything else will fall into place.
Your victory is at hand as you keep thinking about what you’re thinking about. 🙂