How One Small Action Can Lead to 150 Pounds of Change

Truth About Abs

I’d like to invite you to stop reading for a moment, and think about one change you would like to make in your life.

Would you like to lose weight?

Would you like to make more money?

Would you like a more fulfilling career?

Would you like more friends?

Would you like to learn a new language?

Would you like a better relationship with your spouse?

Whatever it is you would like to change or create in your life, consider how much time you have spent thinking about this thing. Have you ever noticed how much time we spend in our heads, thinking and worrying about the things we want ?

Compare that to the amount of time we spend actually doing something about those things.

If you spend more time thinking than doing, you aren’t alone. Most of us spend far more time pondering change than actually changing.

We get stuck in our heads for a variety of reasons:

  • We feel confused and overwhelmed.
  • We are afraid we might make the wrong choice.
  • We are afraid it might be too hard.
  • We worry we’ll be judged.
  • We fear failure or success.
  • We don’t believe change is possible.
  • We think we don’t know what to do to get there.
  • We worry we might make things worse rather than better.

I’d like to suggest that big, bold, wonderful change is possible if . . . you stop focusing on outcomes and start enjoying the process.

When you embrace the process of change, and hold on loosely to the outcome, you may find out that the change you want becomes something better than you ever expected. One of my favorite affirmations is this one from Shakti Gawain who wrote the book Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life :

“This or something better now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concerned.”

I see manifestation as this equation: intellect+visualization + intuition + one small action every day = the change you desire or something better.

  • You use your brain to figure out the practical aspects of making the change.
  • You visualize yourself as the person you will be, as though you are already there.
  • You use your intuition to guide you when you feel confused, uncertain, or fearful.
  • You take regular, small actions every day to move forward — and you enjoy those actions.

Here’s a true story of how one small action can lead to amazing, unexpected change.

A young woman called me one day because she wanted to hire me as her coach. Her goal was to find a more fulfilling job. She didn’t like the job she had and didn’t feel respected by her boss.

Over the course of three or four sessions, we talked about her career values, her skills, and what she envisioned as her ideal job. She wanted freedom and flexibility, to use her creative skills for a higher purpose, and to work with people she respected and who respected her.

However, she didn’t know how she could to afford to leave her job and had a lot of fear around losing the security of this full-time employment. But a few weeks into our work together, something amazing happened — she lost her job. Now the safety net was gone, but a thousand doors were also available for her to walk through.

At first she was paralyzed by fear, and it appeared to me that her fear was out-of-proportion to her circumstances. Yes  she had lost her job and that’s scary. But she was extremely bright, had amazing skills, was charming and outgoing during our phone conversations, and had some financial resources to see her through.

It wasn’t until I looked at her Facebook page photos that I realized what was holding my client back. She was overweight. Not just overweight but obese.

She weighed over 400 lbs. at her peak weight. We had only spoken by phone, and she had never mentioned this. At the risk of losing my client, I gently suggested that her fears and paralysis all hinged on her weight issue.

Fortunately, my acknowledging this in a kind and loving way released her from paralysis. I asked her if she would agree to one small action: to set one appointment with a personal trainer just to see what it was all about. She agreed and set the meeting.

Since that day not quite a year ago, my client has changed forever. She has lost over 150 pounds. She has started her own business coaching people to lose weight and live healthier lives. She’s created an amazing blog called Trading Pounds and is just about to publish a book. (Remember — this or something better will manifest . . .?)

She pitched her story to a morning television program and was a featured guest.  Take a look at Stephanie Wetzel’s amazing journey and how a series of small actions led to 150 pounds of change:

(Please note that Stephanie has given me permission to tell her story. )

If you are inspired by Stephanie’s story and would like to begin making change for yourself, here are some thoughts to get you started:

1. Determine what you want, but hold on to the outcome “loosely.” That means embrace the idea of “this or something better” will be the result — even if the something better at first appears painful or scary.

2. Every day, several times a day, take a few minutes to close your eyes and visualize yourself as this new person. See it as though it has already occurred. Visualization actually rewires your brain to support physical action. (Check out the book The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D.)

3. Write down every possible action you can think of to get yourself from where you are now to where you want to be — even if those actions seem impossible or difficult.

4. Pick the first or most obvious action for beginning the process. Break it down into smaller, more manageable actions if necessary. Do that one action today.

5. Tomorrow pick another action or repeat the same action if that is what works for your change. Do this every day — take one small action from your list.

6. Do not think about the outcome, except during your visualization time or for any necessary planning you must do related to your action. Just take the action and try to enjoy it. Then forget about it.

7. If you come up against a difficulty or roadblock and don’t know what to do, use your intuition to help you decide. You may be unsure, but that’s OK. You may make the wrong choice, but that’s OK too. Just try again. Enjoy and learn from the detour.

8. Periodically, look at your progress. Acknowledge how far you’ve come and the achievements you’ve made.

9. When you feel fearful, tired, unmotivated, or depressed, remind yourself that these are just feelings — not reality. Try to take your action anyway. If you can’t, see if you can break it down to an even smaller, more manageable action. Just do something.

10. Remember that real life is in the moment you are experiencing right now — not in the past or the future. Take your mind off of the past or future and focus on the moment at hand. Find the joy and beauty in this moment right now, in the action you are taking right now. The outcome will be all the more sweet when you have savored the process.

45 thoughts on “How One Small Action Can Lead to 150 Pounds of Change”

  1. That girl is an inspiration for sure, I admire Stephanie and the brilliance of small changes = big change. I just saw photos of myself taken over the (amazingly fun!) weekend and got a reality check about my weight. You always seem to write what I need to read. Great post, Barrie!

    • Hi Marley,
      I love it when that happens! I’m so glad this came to you at the perfect time. Yes, Stephanie is an inspiration.

  2. As usual some wonderful tips. I love Shakti Gawain’s book and thanks for the reminder to incorporate those words into my visualization “this or something better.”
    I have my list of actions, but it is so huge I find myself getting paralyzed and second-guessing whether I’m choosing the right action to move myself forward. But maybe if I take the time to focus on visualizing myself achieving the goal (or something better!) I can stop dithering and start DOING.

    • Hi Sarah,
      I know exactly what you mean — sometimes it’s hard to know what to do first. I think that’s where intuition comes in. See if you are inspired to pick something and then just go for that action. If intuition doesn’t kick in, just pick something randomly!

  3. Barrie, This was an excellent post. I’m 66, with lots of goals behind me, both accomplished and unachieved. When I think about the accomplishments, especially the big ones I realize that frequent daily visualization and and countless small steps towards the goal were always a part of my success. And, of course, enjoying the process reinvigorated every day. I will spread this around.

    • Thank you so much Rick! You are living proof that this kind of action leads to life change. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the process. That is truly the key to a happy life. 🙂

  4. This is an awesome post, Barrie.

    So needed by all who have changes to make — who doesn’t? I love the idea of focusing on the process over the result and being open to a different, maybe even better, result than the one originally conceptualized.

    Good stuff, Barrie!

    • Hi Ken,
      Thank you so much! If we don’t enjoy the process, we sure miss a whole lot of living. 🙂

  5. Hi Barrie,
    I just love that concept of “or something better”. It means I can get excited and pursue my own dreams and also leave room for other amazing things to occur. I think all of us are generally more capable than we think we are. So this mindset of openness whilst also going for what we want means we get led into all sorts of great things that we hadn’t even contemplated. Thrilling!!
    Thanks so much Barrie.

    • It is thrilling Shona. When we live in a state of happiness in the moment and joyous expectation about ALL possibilities, life is constantly thrilling. We never know what wonders await us!

  6. Wonderful post! Number 9 is something I can really relate to. There are a lot of times where I find myself going back on what I plan to do and then accept things as they are–accepting them as reality. Thanks for opening my eyes to this point.

    • I have been there too Barbara. It’s so easy to let our feelings about something get in our way of taking action. Feelings can be debilitating, but if we can take even a small action anyway, we feel more in control of our destiny. That has been a huge mind shift for me.

  7. Hi Barrie,
    Thinking is great. Over thinking, not so great. You are absolutely correct… often we can get caught up in the ‘thinking process’ & place no or little action/follow up. I’m Guilty.
    Think yourself into action then action your thinking (and as you say, let go of the result)…..maybe a great way to go…’s the perceived “result” that often holds us back.
    Thanks &
    be good to yourself

    • You are so right David. Who can argue with “this or something better.” Why would you want to miss out on something better because you are holding to tightly to “this”?? Holding outcomes loosely makes life a real adventure!

  8. Wow! Truly inspiring. I cannot imagine the focus to lose
    150#. Truly impressive. I have always loved Shakti Gawain’s book,
    Creative Visualization. Thanks for a great reminder :-).

    • Stephanie is inspiring. And I think she just focused on one action at a time. The more of those small actions she accomplished, the more energy and motivation she had to keep going. Momentum!

  9. If your goal was to make a simple to read, encouraging blog that flows easy and has something worth saying, you succeeded.
    I am very impressed and happy you have created this oasis of self motivation for people to enjoy and feel good about tomorrow.
    Thank you,

  10. I love Stephanie and this post. I believe Stephanie put her weight struggle—her vulnerability on her blog and this helped her lose the weight. She opened up herself to the world and shined her beauty for all to see. She is an incredible lady indeed, and will help many, many people also open up to new possibilities and changes to their lives.
    Barrie, you are amazing and also gave us tips to help us also move into our greatest version of ourselves. We all have this beautiful spirit inside us, if we just let it out to shine.

    • Cris, that is so lovely — we all have a beautiful spirit inside of us if we just let it out to shine! It’s sad that we sometimes fear our beautiful spirit, thinking others might judge us. Once we let it out, we realize how many people resonate with it. Thank you for sharing your beautiful spirit here!

    • It’s a delicate dance isn’t it Marci? Just enough balance between head and heart and chance. 🙂

  11. Very inspirational article … must be a “Introvert” thing but I tend to work my way backward from a goal I set (I also start at the back of a magazine and flip forward – go figure?!) because it helps me to visualize all the steps it will take to get to where I want to go.

  12. Hi Barrie.
    Thanks for yet another great post. Stephanie’s story is a truly inspiring one. You clearly outline a ‘malady’ that really affects many people-including me in more times than necessary. We focus too much on the income of whatever action we are contemplating that we end up being paralyzed into inaction. Whenever I find myself in such a situation, I always ask myself; ‘what is the worst that can happen if I go ahead with this?’ With that, more often than not I usually plunge into action and nothing life threatening happens. If not anything else I come out with important life lessons that you will never learn in any school.

    • That’s a great question to ask yourself Murigi. And a great perspective that learning is always the result of acting — even if we make the “wrong” choice. 🙂

  13. hey this is a really a very good post on trying new weight reduction loss program and this is something that we can try to get a better picture of how we can make a healthier and stronger body by not only reducing the weight but also to help in increase the confidence of inferiority of being overweight.

    • I’m so glad you like it Lea. Mostly, it’s about taking one small action to help you achieve things — like losing weight. That is what Stephanie has done with her weight loss plan.

  14. Great story. It’s wonderful to hear what can happen when people are determined and focused. Very inspiring! Thanks Barrie.

  15. I am really glad i found it, however i find my self with this inspiring post, thanks to let us know people to make discipline themselves or something….

  16. Actually I would like to improve my finances. I like the idea of stop focusing on outcomes and start enjoying the process of changes. Perhaps I should read the book Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life.” It is because I really want to improve my thoughts and outlook in my life. Thanks for sharing the interesting article.

    • Hi Stephan,
      A great book on finances that really focuses on the process is Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover (you’ll see it listed on the sidebar of my blog under “recommended reading.” And Creative Visualization is a wonderful book to give you real mental tools on changing your thoughts and outlook.

  17. Your blog is beautiful!

    I love stories such as the one you wrote about the women who was afraid to leave her job. So many people fail to tap into the unused 90 percent portion of their mind–the part that operates at higher frequencies where they connect to a higher consciousness, receive information from the “collective unconscious”. Why stay in a the wrong job or paralyzed by worry when we have the power to create something different.

    • Thank you for your kind comment Rachel! Yes, when we hover in the low-level arena of our consciousness, we can really stay stuck. When your mind opens and you give yourself space and time to be creative and aware, that’s when you soar!

  18. hello Barrie,

    Nice to go thru ur blog and the story of Stephanie. I too have gone thru Shakti Gwain’s book…and many more. I tried visualization and other such techniques ,…but in my case I am not consistent at all as I keep seeing when the results would come. I know i need to spend more time doing these things, doing something creative, like writing/ studying/exercising…but god know why I keep falling off the wagon.

    Well….still have not lost hope though!

    thnx for sharing this blog with all of us….


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