If you attend my Weight Watchers meetings on a regular basis, you know that I love talking about mindset. Here’s my point of view: We can talk about points, tracking, exercise, or eating smaller portions, but unless we have our minds made up that we can actually do this stuff, the points and tracking stuff usually won’t happen.

And, if you were at my meeting last week, I asked a simple question to the group:
What would your life look like if you did what you were really capable of doing?

Think about this for a minute: Have you ever had the experience of knowing, deep down, that you really weren’t doing everything that you were capable of doing? For me, I still remember a moment, looking at myself (50 pounds overweight) in the mirror of a dressing room, and saying, “Is this really the best you can do?” It was depressing to stand there and know in my heart of hearts that I was in full power to live at a higher level – but I wasn’t.

Here’s the truth: There is a whole world of capability, of expertise, of power, inside of us. You might know, for instance, that you’re capable of doing your boss’s job, or that you’re capable of making more money. You might even know you’re capable of losing weight and exercising. And so, it’s almost like we’re two people living in the same body: There’s the person that the rest of the world sees – in my case, she was 50 pounds overweight – and then there’s the person that we know we can be. It’s when we can bring those two people together that the magic happens – when what we bring to the world is really who we are, at our highest level.

So here’s the question: If we know we’re capable of doing something, why the heck don’t we do it?

In my case, I can tell you that knowing I was capable of doing something wasn’t enough to motivate me. After all, the knowing part isn’t really the tough part, especially if you’re someone like me who has read zillions of diet books over the years – all of which said basically the same thing: Eat less, exercise more. Newsflash! In fact, if you find yourself reaching for yet another book on an issue you’ve been working on for years (like weight loss), let that be a warning to you: Put down the book, because you’re looking for love in all the wrong places. You don’t need more knowledge or ideas – you need to believe.

I realized that over the years, I never really believed that I could lose weight. [Alert: Dr. Phil moment approaching!] Maybe it was because I had heard so many times how hard it was to lose weight, so I bought into that belief system. Maybe it was because I had tried before and hadn’t succeeded. Maybe it was because everyone else in my family was overweight, so even though I had seen lots of other people lose weight, I didn’t necessarily associate that with me.

But then, I had my breakthrough. One day, after yet another unsuccessful attempt at losing weight, I realized, SO WHAT?

So what if I didn’t believe I could do it? Sure, it would be great to have confidence in myself about weight loss, and that would certainly make life easier – but last I checked, ‘confidence’ is not a requirement for weight loss, or anything else for that matter.

The only requirement is doing something. Taking action, again and again. As we know, the magic of taking action consistently is that when we do things, even little things, we can get results. And there’s nothing like seeing the results of your work that builds confidence. Amazing. Here’s what else I realized: Achieving any kind of goal in the weight loss arena, which had been a long struggle for many years, was beyond belief exciting, even if it was a puny, little goal that other people wouldn’t have even sneezed at. For me, losing a pound on a consistent basis was major, and it provided huge amounts of confidence. Which then inspired me to do more…you get the idea.

You can lose weight, even if you never have before, even if you never thought you could, and even if you don’t really even believe it. Remember – belief isn’t a requirement. Taking action is, and the universe rewards action, no matter how small. Do something, anything, and see what it does to your weight loss, your confidence levels – and your life.

Author's Bio: 

Elizabeth Freedman is an expert in career and workplace issues. She is the author of Work 101: Learning the Ropes of the Workplace without Hanging Yourself and The MBA Student’s Job-Seeking Bible, and was a 2005 finalist for College Speaker of the Year, awarded by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities. Elizabeth runs a Boston-based career-development and coaching firm. Please visit http://www.elizabethfreedman.com.