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How To Avoid The Struggle After WLS

Jun 10, 2022

Have you ever found it really difficult to keep on taking action to get the results that you want? Have you ever felt frustrated because you’ve tried hard to make changes, but no matter how hard you try, the changes never seem to last? 

Focusing on prioritising your health day in and day out, with everything else going on in life, is always going to require attention and effort. In fact, rarely is anything in life created without a lot of  work and, if it is, it certainly doesn’t last without ongoing attention. 

But how do we consistently take the right actions? Do we just need to push harder and be more disciplined?

Although there’s always going to be work to do to achieve your health goals, this doesn’t however mean that it has to be such a struggle. Rather than fighting so hard, sometimes we just need to make a small adjustment in our approach to see our efforts pay off. 

Think about a novice swimmer who is caught in a powerful ocean rip. They kick harder and harder to try to come back to shore but no matter how hard they try, it doesn’t seem to work. Eventually they are so tired that they need rescuing or potentially face a life-threatening situation. An experienced swimmer thinks differently however. If they’re caught in a rip, they know they’ll have to swim to get back to shore, but instead of going against the current, they swim parallel to the beach, towards the breaking waves. They then use the waves to help push them easily back to shore. Although they have still used up energy, they have stayed calm and focused and their efforts are rewarded.

So what small adjustment can we make in terms of our lifestyle? How can we approach this smarter rather than just working harder?

One of the best recommendations that we can make, that will really help you to avoid unnecessary struggle and fight, and that will ultimately move you much faster towards your health goals, is to adopt the ‘Be, Do, Have’ approach.

The ‘BE, DO, HAVE’ Approach

The ‘BE, DO, HAVE’  approach is a coaching model that says that in order to achieve long-term success we need to know and be who we need to be, to do what we need to do, to have what we want to have.  

Let’s look at what this means.

Most people, when they’re looking to create change and achieve results in life, operate between the ‘DO’ and the ‘HAVE’ and they’re not thinking about the ‘BE’, which is the most powerful part. 

When we set goals, we generally look at the ‘HAVE’ first - what we want to achieve i.e. our desired results. We then  think about what we have to ‘DO’ – the actions we have to take to get there. Now we could stop there and we’d still get some results simply based on taking different actions. BUT,  our actions will not necessarily have the power they need…

Once we’re really clear about the goal or results that we want –  i.e. the ‘HAVE’, the game changing question in not ‘what do I need to do?’ but instead ‘who do I need to be?’,  and ‘what standards do I need to rise to?’.

Another way of asking this question is ‘what kind of a person would have access to these kind of results that I want?’

Generally, no matter what we want to achieve or create in life, our best simply isn’t always a guarantee of success. To get really into the heart of success, we need to work out what kind of a person gets the success in the area we’re looking at,  where often most others are not succeeding. This is true whether it’s health, or relationships, or business, or parenting, or escaping from an ocean rip!  The question we need to ask ourselves is, ‘Who do I need to be, to do what I need to do, to have what I want to have?’

The ‘BE, DO, HAVEl’ approach really unpacks how this works in the real world.

The Three Different Approaches To Getting Ahead

There are three common approaches to trying to get ahead in life, as understood by this model:

  • The Waiter
  • The Worker
  • The Winner

The Waiter approaches their life in the order of ‘HAVE, DO, BE’. They say, “When I HAVE enough time/enough money/more support etc, then I’ll DO the things I’ve always wanted to, and then I’ll BE happy and successful. The problem is I don’t HAVE yet. If I had what that person had, I’d certainly be as successful as them, but I don’t so I’m not.“ The Waiter is always waiting for external situations and circumstances to change before they can move ahead in life.

The Worker approaches their life in the order of ‘ DO, HAVE, BE’. They say, “The more I DO, the more I’ll HAVE. The more I’ll HAVE, the happier I’ll BE. The problem is, the more I do, the more there is still to do and the more I have to do, the more there is still to have. I am defined by what I do so I become driven, busy and tired. The more I have, the more there is to lose, so the harder I work.” We all know that the link between having more things and being happier is a myth, so 'being happy' never arrives.

The Winner orients their life quite differently, in the order of ‘BE, DO, HAVE’. They say, “It’s not what do I need to HAVE before I can start, or what work do I need to DO… but who do I need to BE? What kind of person would have access to the kind of results that I want? Then being that kind of person, what would I be doing?" The having then takes care of itself.

The Winner approach is definitely the rarest of the three lifestyles and the most abstract, however it is the only one that works long-term.

So if we think about your health goals after WLS, if you really want to fast forward your results and increase your chances of success - what is the BE, the identity you need to build? 

Then it’s about being that person first i.e. the healthiest version of you. Think about how would the healthiest version of you approach life.  What attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviours would they have? Then it’s about acting ‘as if’ and doing ‘as if’ you were that healthiest version of you already in your daily life and with your daily choices.  

Find A Role Model

To work out the ‘BE’ i.e. the attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviours that you will need to adopt, it can help to find a role model. 

Who already has some of the elements of your desired identity? Who already has the health you want?  Because all we need to do is model them – who are they being and what did they do to have their results so that we can copy what has worked for them. It’s about adopting the behaviours, attitudes, beliefs, and values, whatever it is that has brought the person success in a particular area. 

So find yourself a healthy role model, who is at a similar stage of life, that you can identify with, and then be like them and start to think and act the way that your role model would think and act. 

What are their beliefs around food and eating habits? Be that person and think, for example, about what they would order in a restaurant or in a cafe. 

How would they focus on their health and movement during the week?

What are their attitudes and beliefs about taking care of themselves?

How would they manage stress and sleep?

So don’t just work harder and harder against the current like the novice swimmer. It doesn’t have to be such a struggle. Instead see yourself as that experienced swimmer, adopt their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Although there’s still work to do, you’ll move confidently across the rip and back to shore…

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