Mindset vs. Skillset

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I seem to be doing much better sticking to this challenge than I would have anticipated based on other past attempts to change my eating habits. I have a few theories about why this is…

Finite timeline

This challenge has an end date. Now, my intention is to discover what foods work best for my body and change my eating for the long term, but the knowledge that I may be able to have, say, a piece of birthday cake again is comforting. It’s not a “you can never eat sugar again, ever!” kind of approach. I think with past attempts to eat cleaner, I end up rationalizing that I can’t give up sweets and snacks for good, so I might as well enjoy them – followed closely with me consuming an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips.

Public knowledge

I decided early on to tell friends and family about this challenge. I may even over-share. I’m sure there have been people who wonder why I am bothering to tell them about my decision to only eat real food for 100 days. But, the more I tell people, the more I find myself wanted to show everyone I can, in fact, accomplish this.

Writing about it

Keeping this blog reinforces the public aspect but also keeps me focused on the challenge.  Luckily, I enjoy the writing so I look forward to telling my story and updating the blog. I thought I would struggle to find things to write about, but I’m finding it’s the opposite.

Mindset vs. Skillset

I think for the first time, my mindset is actually prepared for this. In the past, I focused on a skillset: what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. But, I didn’t work on changing my mindset. Namely, I wanted to eat differently, but I wasn’t mentally prepared to do it. I had multiple barriers working against me, so no matter how hard I tried to hone my skillset, it would never last.

In addition to the book In Defense of Food, I attribute much of this shift to the work I’ve done with the Immunity to Change™ (ITC) process. In 2012, I was introduced to this concept of an immunity map and why we don’t change even when we really want to. After reading the book, Immunity to Change by Kegan and Lahey, I decided to sign up for the facilitator’s workshop so I could help others work through their immunity maps and understand why they are struggling to change.

As you can probably imagine, walking others through the process reinforced the importance of working on my own change goals. And, I decided to sign up for the ITC Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) last spring to both enhance my understanding of the process as a facilitator and continue my personal work. The online course was excellent, and I think it played a large role in why I’m in the right frame of mind to take on this real food challenge.

Good news for any of you who are curious about the ITC course as it is being launched again September 16th. It’s free and you put in as little or as much time as you want. You can even start a few weeks late and catch up as you wish.

Shameless plug? Sure. But I wouldn’t plug it if I didn’t believe in it.


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