Week four of the practice project! If you are following along, how is it going for you? Are you using some of the coaching tools I’ve been sharing with you over the weeks? What is the most interesting or impactful thing you’ve learned about yourself so far?

Well, after four weeks of eating foods free of wheat, dairy and sugar, I can’t deny that I physically feel better. My close friends have even noticed how much clearer my complexion has become. That was my goal, so it’s nice to see that I’m producing results with my effort

The more I practice eating this way, the easier it gets.

When my friend offered to split a sandwich while we were waiting in line for the Annie Leibovitz photo exhibit in San Francisco during the lunch hour, I said no thank you and chose to purchase energy bars at the deli instead. In the past I might have worried about what my friend was thinking, and I probably would have abandoned my self-care to avoid saying no, but now I see it as she gets to take care of herself in her own way and I get to take care of myself my own way, and it’s all good.

When my other friend asked me to pick a restaurant for a belated birthday dinner, I picked an Asian place. After a delicious meal of meat, veggies, and rice, she asked if I wanted a birthday dessert (mochi ice cream). It was an easy no.

As we walked out of the restaurant, there was a Baskin Robbins ice cream parlor literally right next door. Still, it was an easy no. My brain is now getting it that I’m not eating dairy or sugar. That inner mind wrestling between one choice and the other was absent. This, I’m certain, is the result of the practice I’ve been doing.

Even fleeting thoughts of “Chocolate sounds good right now” that pop up occasionally during the week don’t have the power to influence me. I wave it away like a pesky mosquito. Thoughts like this have no effect on you unless you allow them to land.

Remember: Thoughts are just sentences in your mind and you don’t have to act on them.

That is a practice in itself—a really powerful one for those serious about making a change in their lives. It’s not about resisting the thoughts that pop up; it’s about becoming a person who doesn’t immediately act on them. It’s about becoming a person who evaluates her thoughts and then chooses her actions on purpose—actions that lead her closer to the results she wants, instead of further away.

Two weeks ago I sent a really powerful email to my list on this very topic. I received feedback that this was one of my best pieces of writing to date (if you are not on my list, you can gain access to my weekly emails by signing up for my free Self-Love Guide here). In the email, I wrote about how change is supposed to be messy, and that even more important than changing the mechanics of your habits, you yourself must change into a new person.

The quote I included in that email was this:

“Every new level of your life will demand a different YOU.  Nothing will change if you remain the same.” ~ Unknown

You must become the person who would practice those healthier habits automatically. This is more than just trying out a new habit for a day or a week. This is you imagining the Future Self you’d like to be, and then mimicking her habits as if you were your Future Self already.

If you act like her, eventually you will be her.

How does she take care of her body? Do that now.

How does she dress (colors, fabrics, styles)? Start dressing like that now.

How does she talk to herself? Speak to yourself in that way now.

How does she think? Think those types of thoughts now.

I love how the Universe works: Whatever you focus on, more of that shows up on your radar. Soon after sending that game-changer email, I was led to an archived podcast of an interview with author Joe Dispenza from a few years ago. He talked about how to fully facilitate change, you must create a new personality—a new personal reality—so that the brain gets it that things are meant to be different now. He suggested small things to help your brain make this shift, such as shutting off your alarm clock with a different finger; drinking out of a different coffee mug; or driving a different way to work. Changing up your environment helps to change the patterns in your brain.

What can you do to change up your environment?

Move your furniture around?

Move where you keep your shampoo in the shower stall?

Swap your silverware to another drawer?

Doing this will wake you up out of auto-pilot mode, which is the place you want to be as you practice the habits of the new personality you want to adopt. That new personality is your Future Self you imagine in your mind.

If you can see her, you can be her.

Keep practicing. You got this!