When making any change in life, whether it’s committing to a gluten free diet, deciding to exercise regularly, or something else altogether, it is imperative that you get really clear on your DEEPER PURPOSE.
We all start new challenges feeling motivated and excited. Yet as time goes on, that initial burst of enthusiasm can get worn down. When this happens, we often fall back into old habits, going back to eating gluten, skipping our daily walk, or letting go of whatever it is you’ve decided to stick to. And when that happens, then what? You start losing your confidence. You feel like you don’t have enough willpower, that you aren’t strong enough, or that you don’t deserve to feel good because you haven’t earned it.
First of all, I’m just going to cut through all that crap and tell you right now: YOU DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD. You weren’t born to punish yourself through life. Whenever you hear that voice in your head that says, “I’m a bad person because I couldn’t commit to X, Y, Z and so I deserve to feel bad,” you just tell that voice to SHUT UP, YOU BIG MEANIE.” I’m serious. Try it.
Okay, now the real meat of this exercise: getting clear on your deeper purpose.
When you start to lose sight of your goals, your new habits begin to falter. To help yourself commit to your new habits even when you don’t feel like it, you need to understand WHY you’re committing. Let’s try a little exercise:
Find a quiet spot to relax and get out a journal to answer these questions:
- What is your goal? Is it to stick to a gluten free diet for a specific period of time? Is it to stick to a gluten free diet for a lifetime? (You can use this exercise for any goals, but for the purpose of this post, let’s assume you’re trying to commit to a gluten free diet). Get really honest and SPECIFIC with yourself about what you are trying to do.
- What is the purpose of your goal? If your goal is to remain gluten free, why do you want to do that? Is it because you believe it will help you feel less bloated? Is it because you feel less depressed when you eat gluten free? Is it because your have Celiac disease and know it’s necessary for your health?
- Now, what is the deeper purpose of your purpose? Okay, so you want to eat gluten free because ________. Now, what is the ultimate deeper purpose for that? Keep asking yourself “What is the deeper purpose?” until you reach the highest purpose you can find for yourself.
Here’s an example of how this might look:
My goal is to remain gluten free for a lifetime. My purpose of my goal is to feel happy because when I eat gluten, I feel depressed. My deeper purpose is to live a life with meaning because when I am happy, I make choices to do good in the world, I am kind to the people around me, and I feel like I can connect to a higher power. My deeper purpose in living with meaning is to feel that I am living the way God would want me to. My deeper purpose in living the way God would want me to is so that when I leave this world, I do so without regrets, knowing that I truly lived. So ultimately, I want to eat gluten free because I know it will help me to live the way God would want me to and leave this world without regrets.
Okay, let’s do another example.
My goal is to be gluten free for 30 days. My purpose of my goal is to find out if it will help me feel less bloated. My deeper purpose is to lose weight. My deeper purpose in losing weight is to have more confidence because I feel like my weight keeps me from being social and feeling confident around people. My deeper purpose in wanting to be more social and feel confident is that I am lonely and want to have more of a connection with people. My deeper purpose in wanting to have more of a connection with people is to open myself up more emotionally. My deeper purpose in wanting to open myself up more emotionally is that I think it will make me happier. My deeper purpose in wanting to be happier is that I think I am wasting my life by being depressed. My deeper purpose in not wanting to waste my life is that I believe I have a lot to offer this world and I want to be able to really show up for myself and live the life I’m meant to live. So ultimately, I want to show up for myself, give of myself to the world, and live the life I’m meant to live.
As you can see, this exercise is asking you to get really honest about your motivations and how you want to be present in your life. If you’re walking around telling yourself, “I have to avoid gluten because it’s what I SHOULD do,” how long do you think that’s going to work? When have “shoulds” ever worked long term? Instead, the message in your mind might be, “I CHOOSE to avoid gluten because it will help me to live without regrets” or “I CHOOSE to avoid gluten because it might help me to live the life I’m meant to live.”
Now, there is a caveat here. Let’s look at that second example. The woman (or man) in that example wanted to avoid gluten to lose weight to feel more confident to help her open up more around people so she could be happier and offer more to the world. Is gluten the only issue here? Is gluten the only answer for her? I want to stress that health is NOT just about what you eat. It’s about your full mind, body, and spirit health. What else might the woman in that example do to reach her deeper purpose? Through doing that exercise, she might decide that in addition to eliminating gluten as an experiment, she might also want to come up with some ways that she can work on making connections with other people, as well as finding ways to feel confident with OR without weight loss.
This is a great exercise to do whenever you’re struggling with making changes or sticking with something. Sometimes it will help you to stay motivated. Sometimes it will help you to see that your deeper purpose can be achieved in other ways. Sometimes, it will help you to be honest with yourself about what you really want, which might not be what you tell people your reason is. Ultimately, it will serve you by helping you get clarity on what it is you truly want in this life.
And when you know what you truly want, you can reach out with both hands and take it.