Change Is A Mental Game

Change Is A Mental Game

Have you ever made a beef roast? I’m a foodie, and I love to cook, so I’ve taken a crack at cooking a beef roast several times now. For those who don’t know how to cook one, you basically take a giant slab of meat and throw it in the oven for a really long time.

But if you toss it in the oven and cook it until it looks brown, you may think that it’s done and ready to eat. After you cut into it to try to eat it, you find that it’s raw on the inside and completely un-eatable. This can be really confusing the first time you cook one, because on the outside, it looks ready to go, but on the inside, a lot of work still has to be done.

So why do we approach change with the same philosophy? We are constantly looking for outward signs of change – we want to see that debt disappear, we want to see those muscles pop or that number on the scale go down, we want to see all those new clients come rolling in. But change starts on the inside first, and that’s where we need to be patient.

Making changes in your life does you absolutely no good if you aren’t changed on the inside. You need to believe that the change can – and will – happen. Paying off all of your debt will never happen if you don’t understand and believe in the power of controlling your money habits. If you keep approaching money as if you’re a victim, you will stay in debt forever. Try building a business without believing in its success – see how far you get. Get on that diet and attempt to lose weight, but constantly talk to everybody about how you can’t lose weight. It won’t happen.

The key to making real, effective changes in your life is momentum. No change happens overnight, so you need to take some time to build up that momentum – and that starts in your head.

When you cook a roast, you cook it slowly on low heat, so that the middle browns over an hour or two. Just like cooking that roast, the change inside takes time, but it’s worth it. True, meaningful momentum will keep you going when the results aren’t apparent. When you build that business, you’ll be doing a lot of legwork up front. When you lose weight, you’ll be getting your body going under the surface for a bit before you start dropping pounds. When you get your finances in order, you’ll be very slowly chipping away at the debt before big gains start happening.

Recognize that it will take a little bit of time – but the change starts with you first. Focus on developing your belief in the changes in the beginning, and that’s what will carry you through. Otherwise, you’ll just wind up trying to pull the trigger while your mindset is still “raw” – and you won’t like the results.

Have you tried to force changes before you were ready? What happened?

Photo by filsinger

Tom Meitner

Tom Meitner is a freelance writer who helps you achieve your goals. You can follow him around on Twitter @TomMeitner.

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9 Comments

  1. Great post Tom. People definitely need to change their thinking first. How you think is who you become. Changes from the outside do no good. That’s why New Year’s resolutions don’t stick. They don’t change their mental attitude first. They’re the same person inside just trying to change the outside. Won’t work.

    Reply
    • Thanks Benny! And you’re right – that may just be at the heart of why New Year’s Resolutions fail so much.

      Reply
  2. Love the analogy of a beef roast and how we change internally. Such a true point.

    It’s fairly common to be happy with the look of change when we want others to think we are making progress on goals. If that change isn’t really inside you though, your external will begin to show after a little time.

    Reply
    • You nailed it on the head, Bryce: wanting others to think that we’re making more progress than we really are. Part of that belief in yourself is an understanding that you’re going to have to give up on caring what others think. Great comment!

      Reply
  3. It’s all about baby steps – changing from the inside to the outside….great analogy of the roast beef!

    Living in the possiblities of life,
    Nancy

    Reply
    • Thank you, Nancy! I’m a big fan of the “baby steps” analogy (also because Dave Ramsey uses it with his personal finance advice).

      Reply
  4. So true, if the internal belief doesn’ change, nothing else will…..having said that making small external changes can help to change the internal belief, this then needs to be reinforced.

    Reply
    • You’re right, Kate. Small external changes CAN help move you internally. Just make sure that’s why you’re doing it, and not to “show off” to those who are paying attention to you.

      Reply
  5. Hi Tom,

    I noticed that change isn’t always instant. While I am working on a change in myself or a goal, I place my attention away from the act of what I am accomplishing.

    If I don’t do this then it is like watching paint dry. By the way, I am also a foodie.

    Reply

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