Do you know what a “Wish I” is? I call a “Wish I” someone who talks about how they wish they could change their lives for the better with statements such as “I wish I could lose weight and get in shape” or “I wish I could quit smoking” or “I wish I had more money”. They focus on all the things they feel are missing from their lives. They live according to how they think things are “supposed” to be, rather than how they really are. They say they want to change, but yet they do nothing about it.
Then there’s the “Watch Me”. A “Watch Me” person may have started out as a “Wish I”, but instead of continuing to say “I wish I…”, they now say “Just watch me!”. The difference between the “Wish I” and the “Watch Me” is that the “Watch Me” has found their courage to create the positive and meaningful change they so desire. Whatever fears or mental blocks that may have stopped them before, they have now turned into determination. The “Watch Me” has learned to let go of how things were “supposed” to be, accept their current reality for exactly what it is, and then commits to doing what’s necessary to create the reality for their desired future.
Going from “Wish I” to “Watch Me” is one of the most empowering transitions you’ll ever make in your life. It will change you forever in the most powerful and positive ways for a life of greater health, hope, harmony and happiness. You cannot have the life you want until you are ready and committed to standing up for what it is you want and becoming a “Watch Me”.
How do I know what I’m talking about, you ask? I know because not only have I gone from “Wish I” to “Watch Me” myself many times over for a healthier and happier life, but I have also helped many others do the same.
It all started in 1994, at age 29, when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, cancer of the lymphnodes. My treatment included nine months of chemotherapy with the total hair loss, nausea and all other lovely side effects that came with it. As a result, I like to jokingly say that I will never complain about a bad hair day again. However, it is not a joke. When you face something as life changing as cancer, it really helps you re-connect to what is truly important and meaningful in this life.
After the initial shock of my diagnosis, I knew I had a choice to make. I could either throw myself a 9-months long pity party feeling sorry for myself and asking “WHY ME?”, wishing I could make my cancer go away, or I could choose NOT to feel sorry for myself, pick myself up, and fight my cancer head-on with a “Watch Me” attitude. I chose to be a “Watch Me”.
It was my mother who was my greatest inspiration. She passed away in 2004 after a 23 year long battle with her own cancer. The doctors said she wouldn’t live past 2 years. As a young teenager, my mother survived the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, where she lost her parents, two brothers, and a sister. When she got news of her cancer, she told the doctor, “Hitler didn’t get me, and neither will my cancer.” “I have too much to live for,” she used to say. She was a true “Watch Me” in every sense of the word. Her determination, will to live, and relentless courage inspired me to fight my cancer with the same fighting courage because I too had too much to live for. Rather than focus on asking “Why Me?”, I decided to accept the cards I was dealt and focus on all that I had to live for and look forward to. This was without knowing what my future would hold or how much time I would have left to live. We never really know what our futures hold or how much time we have to live, so why should it be any different when fighting or living with cancer?
In the ten years following my triumph over cancer, I overcame many more painful adversities and losses including sudden separation and divorce from my first husband, job instability, extreme financial and emotional distress, my mother’s death and a severe car accident. Using food as a coping mechanism, I found myself at age 39 at my heaviest weight ever. I was forty pounds overweight and all my clothes were getting tighter and tighter. It was becoming increasingly difficult to shop for clothes. I didn’t have the level of energy I wanted to and I was uncomfortable in my outer appearance. But most significantly, I was afraid for my health. I was afraid of all the weight-related health risks I was subjecting myself to including diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, many forms of cancer and more. For years I tried all kinds of diets and programs to lose the weight only to lose it and then gain it all back. I remained a “Wish I”, wishing I could just lose the weight and keep it off until the day when I finally woke up to the reality of my situation.
The reality was that I had lost my mother to cancer earlier that year, my dad had quintuple bypass surgery for his heart in 1989 and I had already lost my health to cancer. I was 39 about to turn 40 knowing full well that it does not get any easier to lose weight and get in shape after 40. I stopped the world that day and asked myself, “What else am I waiting for? Do I need another crisis situation to happen to kick me into action? Do I need to lose my health once again?” Why is it that we so often wait for a crisis situation before we take the actions necessary to change our lives? That was my turning point. I told myself as I’m telling you right now that you don’t have to wait another day or another minute. You can start taking charge of your life from this moment onward.
I decided to look at all my previous attempts at controlling my weight and understand why those attempts did not give me the lasting results I so desired. What I realized was that the true problem was not strictly about the food I was feeding my body, but just as importantly what thoughts I was feeding my mind and what emotions I was feeding my soul. It came down to my whole relationship with food, my body and my inner-self. This was one relationship I could no longer neglect.
The ironic part was that at that time in my life I was working as a Life Coach helping others understand themselves better, make better life choices, set and achieve goals. The fact that I was forty pounds overweight, unable to reach and achieve my own health and weight control goals, made me feel like a fraud. This just helped motivate me to do what was required to “walk the talk” and “practice what I preach” so that I can be as genuine and authentic in the work that I was doing with others. I took all the theory I had learned in university about how people learn and change, then combined it with my coaching skills and developed the 9 guiding principles for healthy eating and positive living that changed my life, which evolved into my first book, The A List: 9 Guiding Principles for Healthy Eating and Positive Living. Each principle starts with the letter “A”, hence the name of the book. Once I put the principles to the test, I started to get results I never dreamed possible. I started to offer my counseling services to others to see what kind of results I could help them achieve. The success was overwhelmingly positive. I learned as much from my clients as they learned from me. I saw so many similar thinking, attitudes and behavioural patterns among them that helped me to develop the 9 principles that changed my life and can change your life too. They include Ambition, Attitude, Attainability, Awareness, Activity, Accountability, Assessment, Appreciation and Acceptance. Once you truly understand them, you can apply them to any habit you’re trying to change. Healthy eating is only one example. Helping others to apply the 9 principles inspired my career as a Healthy Living Counselor and Motivational Speaker. If anyone would have told me ten years ago that I would one day be making a living by helping others to eat healthy, control their weight and enjoy a more fulfilling life of greater purpose and meaning, I would have laughed my head off. It just goes to show that you never know how your life’s obstacles can be turned around into your greatest opportunities for learning and personal growth.
In conclusion, I ask that you believe that change is possible and commit to doing your best in every circumstance, with an open mind and open heart to learn, make mistakes, get knocked down and get right back up again. LET GO of how you believed your life was “supposed” to be, ACCEPT your true reality today, and then COMMIT to DOING what is necessary to create the life you want for your brighter tomorrows.