Making Shi(f)t Happen
As I reflect on not only my own successes and failures, but those of others in the Paleo/primal space, it has become clear to me that, while people are fully supportive of what the Paleo lifestyle represents, many are actually struggling to make it work.
When I say struggle, I am talking about people who...
- are unable or unwilling to give up the foods that make them fat or ill
- have seen minimal results over a prolonged period of time or have been unable to sustain the initial results they got
- have more non-Paleo days than Paleo days
- can't stick to any kind of movement program that will allow them to increase the functionality of their body
- feel they must defend their choices to others and are easily crushed when they face even minimal resistance
- are easily influenced by the unhealthy behaviors of the peer group they have surrounded themselves with
- are scared to death of failure so they find any and all ways to avoid it
- consistently make bad choices when the chips are down
- keep waiting for someone to fix them rather than coming to the conclusion they must fix themselves
- think the solution is "out there" rather than "within"
While it is nice that I can list a bunch of areas where people are struggling, it's completely useless if i don't address the bigger question which is...
Why do people struggle?
I believe there are two reasons people are struggling with the whole Paleo movement.
- They seek to change rather than transform.
- They lack a model upon which to understand how effective transformation occurs.
Lets tackle reason #1 first.
Change vs transformation...
We often interchange the terms change and transformation, but in effect they have two completely different meanings.
CHANGE is the function of altering what you are doing--to improve something that you already know is possible within the context of your reality. [Definition taken from The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss.]
Change involves the idea of doing something you already know how to do, whether it be something you do better, different or in greater or lesser quantity the point is that you are not worried that these changes are beyond the scope of who you are.
Some examples of change include...
- using an online software to start recording the foods that you eat each and every day
- getting a personal trainer to help you with your workouts and your motivation
- buying a cookbook so you can cook better Paleo meals
TRANSFORMATION on the other hand, is a function of altering the way your are being--to create something that is currently not possible in your present reality. [Definition again taken from The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss.]
In other words, you feel the very thing you are trying to create is impossible; it is completely outside the realm of what you believe is possible in your current reality.
Some examples of transformation might include...
- learning to embrace and enjoy failure
- truly not worrying about what others think
- learning to confront your brutal truths without personal judgement
So how does this connect with the Paleo movement?
The reason so many people struggle is they spend all their time in the area of doing; they spend their time doing things that they know are possible. But overcoming the challenges of how we look requires that we move beyond doing and into being. We must become someone that we currently believe we can't become in order to create extraordinary transformation.
A new model for transformation...
The second reason people struggle is simply because they lack an effective model to understand how true transformation takes place.
To experience incredible success with Paleo, people need to know where it (Paleo) fits in to the bigger picture of transformation and have an understanding of the vital components that are in play.
There are in effect, three.
The First Component: Tools and Strategies (the doing)
This is the component most people who are looking to "change" spend all their time. The DOING portion of the program are the tools and strategies that are used to generate results. These include...
- eating according to the Paleo fundamentals
- exercise (ie. cross-fit, traditional resistance training, speed work, yoga etc)
- emptying out the house of non-paleo approved foods
- hiring a personal trainer
- getting a gym membership
- buying a cookbook
- cooking the right meals
- recording the foods you eat
- saying NO to those things that don't fit into the lifestyle component
The DOING portion of the program is important, but in and of itself it is limited simply because we are working within the realm of what we know is possible.
However the DOING portion alone is deceptive. It provides the illusion of transformation, but in truth it really hides us from the bigger issues that are purcolating below the surface of US. Eventually these issues will expose themselves and when they do they quickly derail any progress which had been achieved.
Thus we enter...
The Second Component: Mindset (the being)
This is a component few think to include, but one that is vital. It is the MINDSET that is required to create extraordinary transformation.
As I mentioned above, understanding why we do what we do is complex. But when you start digging a bit deeper you begin to discover there are reasons why...
- we are easily crushed when we experience resistance to what we are attempting to do
- we can't give up alcohol (in my case, I drank because it allowed me to be someone I was too afraid to be when I was sober)
- we hang out with people who enable our bad behaviors
- we crave junk food when we are stressed
- we spend months and months in "research mode" rather than actually doing something
We can't "DO" our way out of "BEING" problems. Remember BEING issues revolve around things we currently think are an impossibility. Examples of BEING problems include...
- not setting any goals or setting easily achievable ones so you won't have to deal with failure and criticism should you not meet them
- thinking you need a personal trainer to provide you motivation and guidance rather than looking to provide that for yourself
- letting others tell you what you should and should not be doing rather than standing up and BEING the expert on YOU
- playing yourself off as a helpless victim of genetics or disease or some other ailment, disorder or label that excuses you for not creating what you say you really want
- believing that you who your are is fixed in nature and can't be changed
So in order to experience extraordinary transformation we must spend considerable time in both the DOING and BEING components. BUT I believe a another component is crucial and that is...
The Third Component: Community (the belonging)
I personally believe that community is the MOST POWERFUL of the 3 components.
When I talk about community I am NOT referring to simple forums or Facebook groups that people can join online. Those are NOT communities. They function more like a mall where tons of people have the ability to gather and chat, but they fail for the following reasons...
- they are free (the act of paying for something changes the level of commitment people bring)
- there are no expectations or clear objectives set out for members other than to be "supportive"
- it's rife with rationalizations, excuses and victim mentalities
- there is no accountability for results
- it enables rather than empower people
- there are no clear calls to action
- the majority of the questions focus on the DOING aspect (which might promote short-term change, but it won't promote transformation)
What I am talking about is a place...
- that is run like an innovative cutting edge business. I'm talking about a place where there is a focus on accountability and the producing of results.
- that has regular check-points where ALL members are required to provide a status update on their progress based on a community set of guidelines.
- where members invite feedback on how they are being
- where members are taught how to ask a question properly (from a position of strength not one posed from a victim mentality)
- where members are called out if they haven't lived up to their responsibilities (this is crucial to the BEING part of extraordinary transformation).
- where people recognize that information alone rarely creates change. They understand that a new peer group is crucial to helping them think of themselves in a new way by adopting the values of their peers.
- where people are connected so deeply that they are constantly asking others about their strategies and methods so they can clarify and deepen their own understanding.
- where everyone is committed to the transformation of everyone else in the community.
- where action is the only currency
The perfect storm...
First and foremost it is imperative that we recognize the limitations of change and the importance of working towards transformation.
Second, I invite you to embrace a more holistic view of true transformation. Once you do, then you begin to look for opportunities to combine all 3 components. At some point on the journey there comes a moment where all 3 meld together into a personal perfect storm of extraordinary transformation.
Here's to making shift happen...