10 Rules to Follow When You’re In A Tug-of-War With Wanting and Doing

You want to lose the weight. You want more energy. You have the information you need. You know the things you need to change.

If you can say, “yes” to each of those you’re ahead of the game. So often when I meet a frustrated woman 50+ a part of the reason she isn’t reaching goals is that she’s operating under false beliefs – the ones we all learned along the way. Unlearning the old and relearning the new is logical. Yet habits and actions that have been set by thoughts you’ve had for decades are hard to change.

You have resistance.

Conflict, Tug-of-war, Rope.

Yet, even when the very thing you want most right now, to feel good, and the way to get it are clear, your resistance not more discipline is the thing to explore. These are 10 rules, or guiding principles, that will help you remember the reason struggle is still present.

  1. When you Win, Everyone Wins
  2. Yes…And
  3. Seek Joy
  4. Challenge Yourself as a BFF
  5. You are a Health Magnet
  6. Commit Big Publicly
  7. Be the Teacher and the Student
  8. Set a Net
  9. Collecting Data
  10. Celebrate Your Wins

When You Win…I’ve worked with women with irrational thoughts. No, say it isn’t so! You may be one. Women who work full time outside the home, commute to their jobs, and have adult children living in the house. Still she thinks it’s her responsibility to shop, plan, and prepare meals for them while they’re unemployed or working part time. She needs to prepare things they will eat, aka things they like, whether or not they are good for them and for her. So she’s created this gargantuan task of doing everything twice in order to have the things she needs and they want – all the while drained of energy, trying to get her mojo back.

STOP! That irrational thinking. You owe no one. You are not responsible for adults. If you take care of yourself you show them how to do the same for themselves. Set some boundaries. You don’t win or lose at someone else’s expense. Look deeper at your thoughts.

Yes….And. Find a way. If immediately your natural response now is, but I work as a flight attendant and I can’t because.… or but I am self-employed and cooking for myself is hard… or my husband just doesn’t want to eat that way and juggling school stress is hard… STOP!

Each of those statements is a reason why you need more resilience and will benefit from good choices. Some even are reasons it might be easier, not harder, to choose the right thing. You’re out of your home habits, you’re choosing for yourself, you have shown yourself that you have the discipline. Replace your natural tendency to put up the wall with a search for why it is the perfect timing.

Seek Joy in the movement you do, the food choices you make, and with the people you seek for support. Exercise for exercise’ sake or for calories burned begins and ends as a chore. You may, in spite of yourself enjoy endorphins and feel-good hormones after. Yet, the drudgery of going about it without looking forward to it sets you up to have an end.

STOP! exercising when you need to lose weight or because you have to. Find the things you truly find to be fun and an adventure. You may love going to group fitness and dancing through classes. You may love hiking outdoors or changing your activity with the seasons. No one but you can make that decision. What brings you joy?


Challenge Yourself about those irrational thoughts. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Begin to identify the reasons you resist. Know that we all do it. We want to write a book…but we can’t make ourselves sit down and write. We want to feel better but we can’t make ourselves go to bed at night. We want to lose weight but we keep pasta and wine in our diet.

You Are A Health Magnet. You have to see yourself the way you want to be. You need to feel the way you’re going to feel and having the freedom you want to have. Believe it with every cell. It’s possible. Your body won’t do something that your mind resists.

Commit Big Publicly. Do not keep what you’re doing a secret. Clients I’ve worked with who have the most success share openly their choices. It’s swimming upstream to say that you don’t eat the bread, or want the pasta that’s being served. It’s going to make you more successful than keeping your plan a secret until you see if you’re successful. In the latter, you allow yourself room to fail.

Say out loud what you want – your vision. If you’re hanging with friends who won’t be supportive or who are sabotaging you directly or indirectly, tell them what you need and give them the chance to reroute. If they can’t, limit your exposure.

Be Both The Teacher and the Student. Turn around and offer the hand up for someone else. When you can share – to someone who wants to hear it – a tip, a strategy, or a wrong you’ve righted – it deepens your owning that and helps you both.

Set a Net. No one does it perfectly all the time. Find the optimal choice, the second best, and the if-all-else-fails plan. You’re not letting yourself off the hook as much as making it possible to be consistent under any conditions.

Collect Data. Feedback about failures and successes will keep directing you forward. A failure is just information. If you’ve been here before, you’ve started and stopped, use the wealth of information and consider why. Was there too much going on? Was the attempt about something other than you want it? Was it due to lack of support or a false knowledge about what you should be doing to reach your goals? The more you’ve failed, the more information you have and the closer to the win you are if you choose to use that information to your advantage.

Celebrate Your Wins. Don’t set the bar so high you can’t reach it. Don’t change the bar when you begin to get close to reaching it. Sounds silly, and yet it’s what we’re guilty of as high achievers. You expect a lot, want a lot, and yet don’t celebrate the small wins along the way. I’ve found that successful women who have raised wonderful children, given time-money-energy to charities or made a big difference in their communities, or who have reached great success in their careers falter when it comes to celebrating wins for their personal good.

Let yourself have the moment before you look at what you haven’t done yet. Make yourself celebrate. It might be a reward. It might just be writing down to acknowledge privately what you did. It doesn’t matter how. Daily you have wins. Celebrate them all.

Leave a comment below. What do you resist the most?

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