Have you ever thrown an ax before? Despite growing up in the country, Saturday night was my first time. I was honestly scared to death, and when my first throw caused the ax to bounce off the board and come flying back towards me, I had to struggle to keep myself from bursting into tears and walking out before the games even started. To be honest, my emotions were coming more from a place of embarrassment than personal safety. The next time it was my turn, my instinct was to hide in the back of the room and pout. But suddenly I realized that it was going to be a pretty miserable evening if took that route, and I decided that I didn’t want to be the only scaredy cat in the group. So I sucked it up, walked up to the starting line, and threw an ax. It took a couple more tries before it stuck in the wood, but I kept trying…and before the end of the night, I went on to score not one but two bullseyes, plus the winning point for my team!
The fears that we face when we are struggling with autoimmune disease have much greater consequences in our life than my night out with friends throwing axes. We may feel alone in our fears, but here are a few that I hear over and over again:
- We fear that AIP will be too difficult to figure out.
- We fear that our family and friends won’t be supportive.
- We fear that the food will suck.
- We fear that we won’t be able to go out with friends or to family gatherings.
- We fear that it will be too much work.
- We fear that AIP won’t work, even if we try really hard.
- We fear that AIP will work and that we will never get to eat spaghetti again for the rest of our lives.
- We fear that reintroducing foods will mean that the pain will return.
Looking at this list of fears, it’s no wonder that they can paralyze us and keep us from continuing on our journey to better health. After spending years of studying fear in psychology and in my own life, I have realized that the times that I have managed to make a change in my life is when I stopped thinking about something and instead got into action and DID something. I can think something to death, and I can research until I’m the world’s leading expert, but until I actually DO something towards my goal, nothing happens. The hard part about it, though, is actually taking that first step. I always know that I need to, but there have been times when it has literally taken me years to do what I know that I need to do.
Now that I have shared my success story with AIP, I have people asking me almost every day how I did it. It’s a hard thing to explain, though. Even though you’re one decision from completely changing your life, I can tell you that you won’t feel like doing it. You can’t wait until you’re motivated to do it—you’re only motivated once you’ve seen some success. You’re never completely ready and it’s never the “right time” in your life. There are always obstacles and reasons why you shouldn’t or couldn’t. It’s intimidating to think about where you are now and how far you have to go towards healing. Sometimes it seems like so much of a leap that you don’t even want to get started in the first place.
So what can I explain what will push you from the place of fear into taking the first step towards better health?
This past weekend, I think that I found the answer. No, not at Bad Axe Throwing. In the book I read called The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence With Everyday Courage, author Mel Robbins tells a story of how her marriage, finances, and work situation were so bad that she had trouble getting out of bed every morning. Late one night, she saw a commercial featuring a rocket launch with the familiar 5-4-3-2-1-BLAST OFF! countdown at the end. She thought, If I could just launch myself out of bed in the morning rather than hitting the snooze button a million times, I could finally get some things done. The next morning when the alarm rang, instead of hitting the snooze button, she thought 5-4-3-2-1-GO! and jumped out of bed! She felt so much better that she kept repeating the same countdown throughout the day anytime she was faced with a task that she didn’t want to do but knew it was good for her, or a decision that would help move her life forward. It allowed her to turn her life around, and The 5 Second Rule was born. This simple rule has since helped thousands of people around the world make positive changes in their lives as well.
Mel explains more in the book about how the rule works. Basically, our brain always wants to choose whatever feels good, safe, and comfortable in that exact moment without paying attention to what might be better for us in the grand scheme of things. We have about 5 seconds before our brain locks down on this “safe” decision and we chicken out on doing the new, brave thing that will be better in the long run. However, if we can do something to physically take action instead of thinking during those 5 seconds, we can defeat this safety mechanism. The very act of counting backwards from 5 distracts our brain enough so that we can act instead of think too much.
For example, when I started AIP I KNEW that pizza was easy to order and delicious to eat, but I had no idea how to cook the Brussel sprouts I had just bought and was pretty skeptical about how they were going to taste. It would have been the easier choice to pick up the phone and order a pepperoni pizza. But in that moment, when I instead used my phone to look up a recipe for AIP Brussel sprouts, I took an action to set the course towards AIP for the rest of the evening. (By the way, Brussel sprouts roasted in bacon fat are delicious!) At the time, I didn’t know about The 5 Second Rule, but I was using the same principle. How much better would it be if we consciously used The 5 Second Rule as part of our AIP lifestyle to make decisions?
What if you were at the grocery store in the snack aisle and thought:
What if you were at a restaurant looking through the menu and thought:
What if you had been reading about AIP for months, trying to figure out the “right” time to dive in and thought:
What kind of decision do you think that you would make? It may sound a little dorky, but if you don’t take the time to overthink, talk yourself out of it, and start feeling all the feels, you’ll be able to launch yourself into action! That moment of hesitation can be changed into a moment of action, but only if you push yourself to actually physically do something before it’s too late. One little step in the right direction can then snowball into more momentum. As Mel says, “The world rewards those who are courageous enough to stop waiting and start.”
Let’s start TODAY. How are you going to use 5-4-3-2-1-AIP! to propel you into action? What is the first step you are going to take in your journey towards better health?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how you’re going to use the rule to push you into action so I can hold your hand through the fears and cheer when you take the leap!
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With love & belief in your success,