Seeing people hyper-accelerate into what they want is one of my greatest thrills — not only does it make them happy, but it always ends up improving the world for all of us. So please…
Have fun with this worksheet, my favorite tool for joyfully handling desire!
Please do do it in writing — it makes a huge difference. And please email me your results or questions!
Example: Elle: weight
1. Elle wanted to lose weight
Clients almost always do. So I asked her, “why?” (Coaches almost always do!)
Elle looked at me, speechless. She couldn’t begin to understand that such a desire might not be universally understandable. But the truth is, people I’ve talked to all have different pictures of how life will play out once they have lost weight. I walked her through the worksheet:
2. I asked Elle to close her eyes and imagine she was her ideal weight — imagine it in as much detail as possible.
3. While she stayed in that place, I asked her how she felt. Emotions (happy, proud, confident, and free) are important, but then I asked her to notice the exact physical sensations in her body. She felt light. Where? Everywhere. When pushed for more specific physical details, Elle reported that her brain felt clear and clean.
4. I asked Elle: “now that you have reached your ideal weight, what will you do/have that you could not, would not, did not do or have before you lost weight?” Her answer was immediate: buy new clothes and do more physical activities including but not limited to working out (because she’d not be embarrassed to do it around other people).
5. I asked her to check in with her feelings once more. Her emotions and physical sensations mirrored those of step #3 with a few additions: strong in her muscles, attractive, fashionable, daring,
6. “And THEN,” I asked, “what would you do/have/be — after you’d done all the stuff in #4?” Elle giggled that she’d wear a bathing suit in front of people without always covering up and she’d be naked in front of her husband with the lights on.
7. How did #6 make her feel? Wow. More of the same but more so plus sexy, confident, fun.
8 and 9. Repeating the digging process process one more time really requires imagination. With her new clothes, Elle decided she’d be able to meet her old college friends in Denver and lunch at Cherry Creek. Bathing suit confidence meant she’d take surf lessons. Spousal nudity allowed for spontaneous, intimate daytime play. Fitness meant she’d climb Cloud Peak. She added in new resulting feelings: warmth in her pelvis, strong connection between her feet and the ground.
10. Elle had assembled a lengthy list of emotions and physical sensations that result from achieving her desire. And those feelings are what she really wants.
Think about it: whatever you want, you want it because it will make you feel a certain way. If you could feel that exact same way through another means, you would. You just likely don’t think that anything else can make you feel the way your desire will. But is that true?
I asked Elle to look at that assembly of feelings and circle the physical sensations she loved most. I asked her what else makes her feel this way? She had answers. So will you.
Elle’s answers included: dancing around her kitchen by herself; snuggling with her husband on the couch when he watches football; walking outside and breathing fresh air… especially in the dark!; learning completely new things like Spanish; and lots and lots more.
11. a) I gave Elle an assignment: fill her days with as many of the activities from Step 10 as possible. The rationale for this step is super important, true, and exciting. When you do things that make you feel the way your desired outcome would make you feel, then:
- You’ve accomplished your real goal: which is: feeling that way. And,
- You are teaching your brain how you want to feel. The human brain is biased to select and create experiences that recreate familiar feelings. While this is not good news while you are stuck on an unpleasant childhood emotion (e.g., feeling abandoned or abused), it is extremely good news once you understand the process and how to make it work for you.
The more you make yourself feel the way your original desire would make you feel, the more quickly your brain guides you to your original desire — without your evenly consciously attending to it.
[SECRET MASTER TRICK: Perhaps you’ve noticed a “hack” here: you can just feel like how you want to feel any time, most easily by imagining as we’ve done here. But with practice, since you now have done it a lot, you can just drop in. Do that over and over and over. It doesn’t hurt anything. And coincidentally your life gets magical. It won’t seem related. That’s okay — but do keep feeling how you desire to feel anyway.]
11. b) Elle believed that she could only accomplish the activities that she listed in Steps 4, 6, 8, and 10 IF she achieved her original desire. But I asked her “Is that true?” It seemed definitely true to her… that she could only disrobe in daylight in front of her husband if she lost weight, for example. We did “The Work” (described in my post here or on Byron Katie’s website) on all these beliefs, turning them around and finding concrete examples of how those opposite statements are true. I urge you to do the same with your answers on the worksheet. (Understatement! PLEASE do it. If you get stuck really unable to do any of the things on your worksheet, try getting a coach to help you with this step. An outside perspective can help you identify and dissolve barriers.)
And I gave her a second assignment: just go ahead and do the activities listed in those steps. It took bravery, but Elle really did want to feel those wonderful feelings, so she took some risks like getting naked in front of her husband (who was delighted!), hiking with some friends (who obviously didn’t care how much she weighed); buying new clothes now (basics that she could get tailored when she lost weight since she was concerned about “wasting money”); and putting together cool outfits by drawing on her accessories (acting like she thought she looked great was a big step for her!).
In two months, Elle had lost 15 pounds. This is faster than is recommended by diet experts (because it would take draconian caloric changes to achieve it), but she wasn’t dieting. All she did was get brave and vulnerable and then reap the benefits.
[The above worksheet is a .jpeg, so right click (or ctrl-click on an Apple) to download and then use your usual techniques to tell your computer to print it, OR click here for a .pdf version.]