Michelle Rupp: J.J. Mayo joins us now and J.J. first of all, Happy New Year!

J.J. Mayo: Happy New Year to you, Michelle.

MR: Yes, 2022, we are ready for you. So, we’ve been talking about resolutions, goals, perfecting or creating better habits. I was reading the other day and saw that weight loss and working out were the number two and number three out of the top five goals or resolutions that we as humans set at the beginning of each year. And I’m sure that comes as no surprise to you.

JM: Yeah, weight loss, getting to the gym, and getting fit and healthy for 2022. That’s everyone’s resolution. But let me just do this and back up for a second. What I would like to do with the viewers is give you kind of a different perspective. And so, let me back up first and just talk about why achieving those goals and those New Year’s resolutions are so hard. Because we do it. They’re hard. And a lot of people will say I’ve lost my motivation, or they think that they are not working hard enough. But really, just realize that it has to do with neuroscience. There’s a part of the brain called the Amygdala, and it prevents us from making these behavior changes. It wants to keep us safe. This part of the brain, we’re wired a certain way and we’ve been doing these habits for weeks and months and years. When you start to change those, then the brain is like, wait a minute. This is not what we’re used to. It wants us to prevent pain. It wants to prevent fear and to keep us safe. It’s really a brain science thing. That’s the reason that the New Year’s resolutions are so hard. Especially with weight loss.

I know this is going to be different than most people because I’m not going to focus on SMART goals. We’ve heard that before, right? And 95% of the people that I’ve worked with the reason they were not successful is not that they didn’t write the perfect SMART goal. That’s not why they weren’t successful.

The first thing I would suggest for people that want to be successful, and we’re talking a long term here, is to let go of the past. Let that sink in. Let go of the past. Because what I’ve learned is that for you to receive and let in, you’ve got to be able to let go. And then particularly with weight loss, we’re talking about letting go of those old stories, those old beliefs, those old perspectives that are keeping you from moving forward. A lot of times, how it went in the past is basically predicting our future. And once you slip up a couple of times early in the year, you’re like, oh, I’ve always been a failure. I’ve never been able to do this and have been unsuccessful. So, I must not be able to do it again. And so, letting go is the first step. When I work with clients, what we do is just forget about the past and try not to predict the future, right? Letting go is important and letting go of those old stories, like, I’m not good enough or this will never work for me and that negative self-talk. That’s the first big step.

MR: What would be the next step? Because I love that, and you can apply this really to not just weight loss and working out. I mean, there’s probably a lot of things we need to let go of.

JM: This works for any goal, letting go of why you haven’t been successful in those negative thoughts. The next step is big. Okay, It’s the “why.” Why are you wanting to achieve that goal? And if we look at weight loss oftentimes, you know, they want to lose the weight. Everybody focuses on the goal, like, “I want to lose 50 pounds,” or “I’m going to lose 30 pounds.” If you dig deeper with that to find that drive, the big “why.” Why do you want to lose weight? If you dig deeper, most of the time there’s something, there’s a reason besides just the weight. What is that going to do for the individual, for people out there that want to lose weight? What is that really going to do for you? Is it going to help you have more energy to play with your kids? Is it going to help you be around to do a better job taking care of your elderly parents? You know, there must be a big why and I’ve heard the saying before that if your “why” is big enough, then the “how” is easy. You figure out a way to get it done.

MR: And any why is good enough in terms of, you know, someone may want to lose, you know, 10 pounds. Their why is because they want to look good for swimsuit season, and that’s okay. Whether that’s your why or as you use the example of wanting to have more energy or wanting to be able to play with the kids or wanting to just start to have healthier habits, whatever that why is, it’s your why. And it’s okay.

JM: It’s ok and you’re why may change over time. Like, I just want to stay in my pants, I don’t want to buy a bigger pair of pants, but then later it may be something else. So, if you can come up with that “why,” that’s really going to be a big key to success and keep you motivated. The motivation, right? Motivation is kind of like a flashlight battery. It starts out bright when those batteries are new, but then after a while that kind of runs out. So, if you can come up with this big “why,” I think that’ll go a long way into helping your success

MR: How do we stay motivated? Because sometimes we think I’ve lost my motivation, or I must not have enough willpower. I guess that kind of all circles back to just what’s going on in our brains and in our minds, it really is.

JM: We talked about letting go, we talked about the why, but another way to think of this is, who do you need to become to achieve that goal? This is a question I would ask anyone who’s trying to lose weight or just set any goal. I do this with my clients. Think about that. You’ve got your person A, where you are now, and then you got B, this is who you want to be. This is where you want to go. What if you started acting the weight loss already happened? Ask yourself if I already had lost 50 pounds, what would I be doing? If I had already quit the tobacco, what would I be doing? What activities and behaviors would I do on a regular basis? How would I think? You don’t have to wait until you get there to start acting as if you’ve already lost the weight. You just need to start doing those behaviors.

There’s a couple of books I can recommend. One is Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.” I don’t know if you’ve heard of Stephen Covey, his second habit is “Begin with the end in mind.” And that’s so true. If you start acting like the person, you know that you want to become, then those habits will fall into place. There’s another book too that’s kind of on the same idea from a guy named James Clear. It’s called “Atomic Habits.” The atomic habits book basically talks about identity and changing your identity. That’s where it starts. A lot of people will do the outcome goals, to lose the 50 pounds, or they’ll set behavioral goals like, okay, I want to go to the gym, but really it starts from what I just mentioned, it starts with the person. The change really begins from the inside out instead of the number on the scale.

MR: You’re exactly right. And that’s how we get behavioral change, changing from the inside out. So, whether it’s weight loss or the motivation to get in the gym or what have you. I’m curious about wellness and self-care. Sometimes your resolution may be as simple as to make self-care a priority. But, you know, particularly as women, we might think of self-care as getting manicures and pedicures on our birthday and that’s it. Well, you can’t really do one day of self-care, but there are little things you could do throughout the year that go hand in hand with wellness, it’s all part of that circle.

JM: Yes. I see this a lot with the ladies, and you mentioned this, usually, the women are too busy. They’re so busy taking care of everybody else that they put themselves last. I would say in the year 2022, let’s put yourself first because if you can’t be healthy and you can’t get your habits under control, then you’re not going to be able to take care of others that you love the long term and you’re not being selfish by making yourself a priority.

MR: A lot of times we, as women, like to think, “I can’t put myself first, that’s selfish of me to do.”

JM: And it’s just the opposite. A lot of things that we think of health-related are backward from what they should be.

MR: That’s good. Well, J.J., in our final moments, is there anything else that you would like to say or add?

JM: Yeah, it’s about progress and not perfection. Another thing that comes to mind is, we get so focused and so serious about our goals, why not try to make a game of it? Try to try to make it fun. We always seem to think we’re our whole world revolves around either we got the goal, or we didn’t. I would say step back and have fun and enjoy the process.

MR: I like that, progress not perfection. That is a very powerful statement.

JM: Yeah, enjoy the journey.

MR: Alright, J.J., thank you for joining us today, appreciate it.