It’s Where You Put Your Focus

Today I had a phone session with my client, Kara, who is on a work trip this week. At the beginning of session, I asked her, “How is the trip going? Are you feeling good about your eating so far?” Kara answered that the trip has been really hard and that it has been a big struggle. “I’m feeling vulnerable and a bit worried about the rest of the trip,” she told me. I was surprised by this, because I knew from her daily emails (my clients email me every day) that she had been doing well and making good choices. I said as much to her, and Kara told me that although it was true that she was ultimately making good decisions, it all felt really hard and she was constantly seeing all the food she wasn’t eating.

I realized what was likely going on: Kara was putting her focus in the wrong place. Her basic mindset was, “This trip is hard and it’s a struggle.” I wanted her to switch her mindset to, “This is trip is hard and it’s a struggle, but I’m doing really well! I’m triumphing!”  Kara and I discussed the impact of focusing on the fact that the trip felt hard, versus focusing on the fact that, despite the struggle, she was doing so well.  Kara was able to see that changing her focus to the positive outcome of her hard work made her feel better, more motivated, and more optimistic about finishing the trip in a solid place.

Kara and I then discussed some of the challenges coming her way in the next three days.  Kara told me that there was going to be a huge dessert buffet tonight, but that she knew she wouldn’t even look at it. “It’s just not an option tonight,” she said. I reminded Kara that the fact that the dessert buffet didn’t even feel like an option was clear evidence that her resistance muscle was very strong. If it hadn’t been so strong, it’s almost a guarantee that the dessert buffet would feel like an option and Kara would have to actively work to resist it. If her resistance muscle was weaker, she’d likely be struggling with thoughts like:

Should I have some?

I know I shouldn’t; I haven’t planned dessert tonight.

But it all looks so good, just a little bit will be okay.

No, you know a little bit isn’t okay,

and so on.

Kara made the following Response Cards to help her get through the rest of her trip:

This is trip is hard and it’s a struggle, but I’m doing really well! I’m triumphing!  Keep focusing on how well I’m doing, not on how hard it feels to get there.

I’ve done so well on this trip so far and I can keep doing well. If I can do it on days 1 and 2, I can do it on days 3, 4, and 5.  I’m still the same person and I have the same resistance muscle.

If you’re struggling, or feel like you’re struggling, think about where your focus is. It’s important to focus on the things that are going well, and that you feel good about. Doing so will help you feel better and more motivated – which will make continuing to move forward EASIER!

4 replies
  1. Kara Kellogg
    Kara Kellogg says:

    Perfect for me! I leave on a trip in 2 days. This post helps me remember how I feel when I am in control, despite challenging circumstances. I’ll take this response card with me. I’ll read it before each meal.

  2. Pat
    Pat says:

    Exactly what I need to do !
    Thank you !
    I always focus on the negative that I am doing wrong, or how hard it is ….. when there is so much positive that I am doing right !
    I totally love reading Judith Beck books and articles! I can identify with them and the books and articles are very encouraging for my journey into weight loss! Thank you !

  3. Cory
    Cory says:

    Yes! I am creating a response card as well. These are so helpful! I am so inspired every time I read an email from The Beck Doet Program! Life-changing.


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