How to go with it when life sends you a curveball.
It’s natural for us to jump to “the How” when we’re talking about our goals – we’ve been conditioned to think that way:
Me: I’m going to make a million dollars.
Dad: Great! How are you going to do that?
Me: I want to take a gap year & travel Europe.
Mom: That’s fantastic. How are you going to pay for it?
And those questions are good intentioned, but they limit us in our ability – because we believe that we can’t DO the thing until we have the perfect plan laid out from beginning to end.
AND THEN, when things don’t go as planned, it blocks us from getting scrappy & figuring it out.
But the truth is, that if you’ve ever set out towards a goal, that when you reach it, there were lots of turns, plot twists, and obstacles that we couldn’t have anticipated. When we look back at what it took us to accomplish the goal, we NEVER could have predicted that the path we took was the way that it turned out.
Instead of giving up when things don’t turn out like we think they should have, we need to learn how to pivot.
If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.
For even more resources on becoming healthier, get my free download: 8 Basic Habits that Healthy People Do. If you do these 8 things on a consistent basis, you will be healthier than most people you know, and your body will right-size!
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What you’ll Learn from this Episode
- Why learning how to pivot is a crucial skill that you need in order to be successful in any goal.
- How to approach any goal so that pivoting becomes easier.
- How to pivot and not give up.
- How to look at pivoting so that you can see it as the gift that it is.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Done with Dieting Podcast Episode #20: Growth in the Plateaus with Annie
- Done with Dieting Podcast Episode #26: Goal Setting
- Done with Dieting Podcast Episode #12: B Minus Habits
- Done with Dieting Podcast Episode #30: It All Adds Up
- Done with Dieting Podcast Episode #45: Bare Minimums
Full Episode Transcript:
Whenever we start a goal, we will always hit roadblocks. And what we want to do when we hit those roadblocks is we want to keep going with the goal. Because when we start out, we think that we know the direction that we’re going to take in order to get to that goal.
But when we’re finally successful in the goal, we can look back over our journey and realize that we’ve had absolutely no idea how we were going to accomplish it.
Today, we’re talking about pivoting. Pivoting is a skill that you can learn in any area regardless of what the goal is. And when we learn how to pivot, what will happen is we won’t give up. This is a skill that you can use across all areas of your life.
Let’s get started.
You are listening to the done with dieting podcast. The podcast for women in midlife, who are done with dieting, but still want to lose weight and feel good in your clothes.
You know that diets don’t work long term. But you feel like there’s this secret that everyone else knows that you just haven’t figured it out yet.
I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And I’ve helped hundreds of women get off the diet roller coaster, change their relationship with food, exercise, and their bodies.
Through this podcast, my goal is to help you too.
Welcome. Let’s get started.
Hey everyone, welcome to the done with dieting podcast. And today, before we talk about pivoting, I think we need to talk about goal setting. And I have a podcast for you on goal setting its podcast number 26, I’ll put that in the notes.
But whenever we want to create a new habit or a new goal, we tend to go into the goal, believing that we know the way.
If you haven’t listened to the goal-setting podcast, go ahead and listen to that. You don’t have to in order to get anything out of this one. But it’s going to set you up for success in terms of thinking about your goals.
And so, generally, what happens is whenever we go into a new journey, whether it’s losing weight. In my case today, I’m going to talk about our house building process. So, when this podcast comes out, it’s going to be the end of June and hopefully fingers crossed, my fingers are crossed right now. We will have been moved into our house.
And just the other day, Gary and I were at lunch and just for fun, I don’t know why this would be fun. But we went back into his email and figured out when it was that we started this whole process. We made the deal with the person who owned the land at somewhere around the mid-March of 2019.
By the time this house is finished, we will have been working towards it for over three years. It will probably be three years and about three months. And when I think about that, one of the things that causes us so much anxiety, and angst, and frustration when we are on a journey like this.
So, whether we’re talking about building a house in Mexico, buying land and building a house in Mexico, or we’re talking about losing weight, or running a marathon, or even starting a business, whatever it is. We always think it’s going to be so much easier than it is.
Now, if we had told ourselves, if we could go back in time, and told our three years ago selves, hey, relax. It’s going to take three and a half years or three years in a quarter. It’s all going to get done. But it’s going to take over three years from where you are right now to where you’re going to be.
What will happen is we kind of level set, right? We say, okay, you know what? I can handle that. I think about that also when we get laid off from a job, or something happens especially like within the pandemic, right? When suddenly, there was this change, and we really didn’t know how long we were going to have to go before it was all going to be over.
And so, the same thing is true with weight loss or whenever we want to better our habits. We start this process and then we’re like, okay, enough already. I’m ready for this thing to be done. We are ready for our house to be finished. It’s been over three years and we’re ready.
But when we think about it, when we go back to; me, thinking about my three years ago self. I didn’t have any idea of the things that I was going to learn, the skills that I was going to have to build. And the obstacles that were going to get in the way of the success.
Like, when we agreed with the person that we bought the land from, we had no idea that we were going to have to pivot and figure out how to make it work because long story, the land was still in the previous owner’s name. So, we had to wait for some time for the land to get transferred to him so that he could then sell the land to us.
And then, COVID happened and finally, when the land was sold to us, then we could start building. So, the building process in and of itself has taken just about a year and a half. But still this whole process, we had no idea the things that we were going to learn in the process. And I think that when we go into a weight loss goal, or a health goal, or whatever it is that we really have no idea, the things that we’re going to be up against.
And it always seems like whenever we set intentions for okay, this is the year that I’m going to get healthy, or this is the year that I’m going to run a marathon, or this is the year that I’m going to do XYZ, whatever it is. It seems like the universe asks us, oh, you want that, do you? Okay, well, prove it.
And so, what happens then is we start to get these obstacles in our way. And when we give up on the goal, because the obstacles become too difficult, that’s when the universe is like, well, I guess you didn’t want it bad enough.
When I think back to all the things that I’ve accomplished and all the things that have gotten in my way. When I’ve wanted big goals, when I’ve gone after audacious goals. What I realize is the skill of having grit, and persevering, and having resilience, or AKA learning how to pivot. All those things go into, you are accomplishing it.
What does it mean to pivot? What it means to pivot is normally when we hit an obstacle, when we hit a barrier, its natural tendency for our brain to go, oh well, that’s it. I’m done. I’m out. I’m giving up. And so, pivoting is not giving up. It’s doing something instead of doing nothing.
I have a couple of different podcasts on that if that’s something that you want to explore more on specifically number 12, which is titled “B minus habits,” 45 which is “bare minimums,” and number 30 which is “it all adds up.” And the idea that we can always do something.
For example, like one of the skills that I teach my clients as well as the members of my small group coaching program, the Feel Good Sisterhood. One of our first skills that we learn is how to manage our hunger scale, how to eat to satisfaction over overeating.
And that is one thing that we are always in control of. You could walk into a party and for nine hours and all there is pizza and that’s 100% okay. You can still control your own actions. Instead of saying, well, I can’t eat anything, but pizza, I may as well eat until my side’s hurt. So, that’s always an option for you, something is always better than nothing.
And the other part of pivoting is asking ourselves, okay, so I can’t do what I intended to do. What can I do? And so, that’s what pivoting is. We pivot when reality, what we’re currently experiencing doesn’t match what we expected to happen. So, we pivot when reality doesn’t match our expectations.
I think that this is something, again, it’s a crucial skill that we can build. When we start out on a goal to lose weight, we think that it’s all about the food. We think that it’s all about the exercise. Right? We’ve been taught that by the health and fitness industry. We’ve been taught that all we need to do is eat these things, don’t eat those things. Exercise this way, don’t sit on the couch.
But pivoting and not giving up is a skill that we don’t really think about. And so, when we think about the future version of yourself. The version of yourself who is at goal weight and does it effortlessly. What happens when things don’t work out her way?
She doesn’t give up. She’s figured it out. She has figured out when she goes on a family trip and everyone, except for her, wants to eat burgers. How to do that and not say, “F it! I’m giving up.” The future version of yourself already knows how to pivot. And so, learning how to pivot is a skill that again, I can’t say it enough that you need to learn if you want to be successful in your goal.
Now, why don’t we pivot? We don’t pivot because our brain offers us this thought that, oh, well, we don’t have a choice. I have a sign on my wall that says, “everything you do in life is a choice, even if it doesn’t feel like it.” And when we talk about eating, and exercising, and sleeping, and managing our stress. Thinking, those are all choices, they don’t feel like it, but they actually are.
And so, learning how to be okay with those choices and take ownership of those choices will make you so much more empowered and realize how much power you actually have. And so, when we pivot, we are building the skill of resilience, and we’re also building the skill of determination, of grit, and of compassion for ourselves.
Because when things don’t go exactly as planned, we need to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt that we did the best thing we could, based on the information that we had and our beliefs at the time.
So, I just want to share a few examples of pivoting. Imagine this, you’re going out to dinner and before you go out to dinner, you are one of those people who always goes onto the website of the restaurant. And you pick out exactly what you’re going to order so that when you get to dinner, you know that you’re going to be hungry and you don’t want to over order or order things that sound good in the moment, but then maybe don’t make you feel so good.
Because when we’re over hungry, our lower brain tends to take over and we want to order from our higher brain. And the part of our brain that is on board with our goals. And then, all we have to do is follow the plan. But when you get to the restaurant, the restaurant is either closed, they don’t have your reservation, or they don’t have that thing that you wanted.
And so, what do we do in that case? What we do is we pivot. If we’re going to a different restaurant, we decide, okay, how can I make the best choice we ask ourselves? Okay, what’s the next best thing on the menu? Again, when we’re talking about restaurant food, I am not a fan of getting the most quote unquote healthy thing on the menu because that’s generally not what we want.
So, get what you’re craving for but figure out how to make it better. Maybe you want the burger, go get the burger. Do you have to eat all of it? Maybe half is just enough. Maybe you split it. Maybe you want fries, but you don’t want to eat the whole basket of fries. See if you can share it with someone else at the table.
So, there are lots of other ways of getting what you want and pivoting and making it a better choice. Again, something is always better than nothing and it all adds up.
Another example is working out. Everyone saw this with the pandemic. We were all used to going to the gym and relying on our personal trainers as well as group exercise programs. And when the pandemic happened, all the gyms closed down and everyone was like, I don’t know what to do. And there’s always something to do. Or let’s say, that I planned to go on a walk, and I’ve scheduled it in my calendar and now it’s time to go walk and I go looking outside and it’s raining. What do I do?
I could go walking in the rain. I could decide that I’m going to walk a little bit later and then stick to it. If I have a gym membership, I could go to the gym and walk on the treadmill. Or I could go on YouTube. And YouTube, maybe yoga videos or Zumba or Jazzercise. Or if you’re one of my clients, you can get onto the private client website and do one of my workouts that you get for free. And you do it with me. It’s totally fun.
So, when we have this objection pop up, oh, well, I can’t do what I planned. Okay, well you can always do something. What’s the other something? Another example and this is probably a little bit larger and I’ve talked about plateaus before and your overall diet. That when we hit a plateau, when we get on the scale and the scale goes up a little bit, or we are at the same weight week, after week, after week.
We need to figure it out. We want to do something different but I’m going to caution you, not to do all the things different. And that’s a huge thing that I caution my clients against when we first start out. When we start along the path of wanting to lose weight, we want to do all the things. We want to start exercising five days a week. We want to cut our calories low because we want instant wins.
And I caution people against that because when that happens, we are always going to have a plateau. We will always have a plateau. And when we have a plateau, we need to have someplace to go. And so, if we start out small from the beginning, and then when we hit that plateau, we need to figure out ahead of time, what’s the next thing that I’m going to do.
And so, be very methodical. Figure out, okay, when am I going to make this change? Like, really think it through. I’m not going to make the change today, even though I’m frustrated. But I’m going to make it some date in the future. And be aware that some of our bodies just plateau for four or six weeks.
I have another podcast, podcast number 20 with my client, Annie, where she had a six-week plateau. But she kept doing the things that we were doing because she knew in her heart of hearts that this was good for her health. And so, when we come to the journey with the idea of this isn’t ever going to be over, right? The house that we’re building, that whole thing is going to be over.
But when it comes to diet and exercise and lifestyle change, those things are never going to be over. This is a forever commitment. Going into this thinking that you’re going to figure out how to do this for a little while, and then you’re going to go back to your old ways. That’s not going to give you the results that you want long-term.
So, when you hit a plateau, figuring out, okay, what’s the next best thing that I can do? And quite honestly, this is a huge advantage of getting a coach. So, someone who can look at what you’re doing on an objective basis because when we’re in, we are so close to it. We can’t make good rational decisions.
So, if you are one of my clients and you’re hitting a plateau, we can work through it. We can figure out, okay, what is it that you’re doing right now? And what’s the next best thing? Sometimes it seems like it’s completely contradictory, but sometimes it’s taking a quote unquote break or increasing calories for a little bit so that your body can feel safe again.
And so, just be aware that if you are in a calorie deficit, or if you are over exercising, or anything like that. Sometimes reducing the stress related to dieting can actually really help in terms of making things happen again. Let me know if you are one of my clients that this is happening because then we can figure out what’s the next best step. And if you’re not one of my clients, but you need my help, I would love to work with you.
Now, the takeaways here are number one, giving up is never the best option. But keeping going requires grit and resilience and determination. And when your goal is so super important to you, that you will do anything, you will naturally figure out how to pivot on your own. And pivoting is going to be so much more useful than saying, well, I guess I’m just not cut out for this. I guess I’m just destined to be the the fat one. Those are the voices that are lower brain offers us. And it’s just not helpful.
Number two. See the obstacles that are getting in your way as skills that you need to learn, instead of proof or evidence from the universe that you just are not meant to have this goal. The more you do, and the more you learn, and the more you pivot, and the more you take action, the more you will get to your goal. And you will have learned so much more in that process.
Number three. Learn how to do something over nothing. One of the questions that I ask my clients often after they’ve come back from a weekend and they’re like, oh, that just was not very good. I’ll ask, okay, so if you could do it all over again, looking at it from the other side of the experience, what would you have done differently? And what this does is it creates curiosity and problem solving over judgment.
Because when we have judgment, what happens is it blocks all curiosity, and it blocks all learning. And so, when we can approach a situation from a place of curiosity, what we can do is we can learn from it. Because I will tell you that all of these situations that you are presented with, I guarantee will happen again.
And so, being able to take wisdom from your mistakes and apply them to future situations is going to pay off huge. It also provides risk assessment skills for the future. I cannot tell you how important learning on how to pivot is. And I’m really surprised that I haven’t talked about it before now on the podcast.
But it is such an incredible skill. It’s one of the things that I need to teach my clients because when they’re no longer working with me, we need to be able to do it on our own. And again, I know I’ve said this on past episodes, but it’s one of the reasons why I work with my clients on a six-month basis is because we can’t white knuckle it within those six months.
There are things that are going to come up that are going to throw us off. And so, to be able to get right back on track or learn how to pivot and do the best that we can is going to be something that you’re going to have to learn how to do if you want to stay successful.
Now, I am going to invite you to join the Feel Good Sisterhood. The feel-good sisterhood is my small group coaching program and I only open it a few times a year. The enrollment is going to open at the beginning mid-July. And so, if you go to elizabethsherman.com/groupcoaching, you can get on the wait list right now.
And when you get on the waitlist, you will be one of the first to know, and you can enroll, and get access to the materials right away so that you can get started on your goals. The program is so incredibly comprehensive because not only we do have it based coaching like around nutrition, and water, and eating vegetables, and all of those great things that you know that you should be doing.
But you will also learn all of the mindset skills that you need in order to be successful long-term. And right now, I think I’ve mentioned in previous podcasts that I’m currently in a certification for feminist coaching. I’m going to be weaving in a lot of feminist coaching within the program as well for this next one. I’m already doing it, but there’s a lot more to come.
If group coaching isn’t the right tool for you, I’m going to invite you to work with me one-on-one. I do have a few openings as of right now. So, if that’s something that’s interesting to you, if you want to learn how to pivot. If you want to be successful in your goal. If you are done with dieting but still want to look and feel better, then I am going to invite you to work with me either through small group coaching, the Feel Good Sisterhood or working with me, one-on-one privately.
So, that’s all I have for you today. Have an amazing week everyone and I will see you next time. Bye-bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out the Feel Good Sisterhood. It’s my small group coaching program where we take all this material, and we apply it. We figure out what works for us, and we don’t ever look at another diet ever again.
Join me over at elizabethsherman.com/groupcoaching. I’d love to have you join me in the Feel Good Sisterhood. See you there.
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