People who are curious want to learn as much as they can about just about everything. They ask a lot of questions, seek out information, and are generally interested in all kinds of things. They love delving into new ideas and new topics or areas of interest, exploring new places, and trying out new experiences. Life, for curious people, is a voyage of discovery.
The great minds of the world – past and present – belong to curious people. How would anything significant have been discovered or developed, or any new continent explored – without someone having been curious enough to go out on a limb, set off for parts unknown, try something new, take a risk, or ask a different (and perhaps unpopular) kind of question?
Why is it important to cultivate curiosity?
- A curious mind is an active, healthy mind, which in turn is important for overall wellness.
- Curious people notice new things that other people may easily miss. As a result, a curious mind notices things that may turn out to serve as a solution to a problem or dilemma.
- Curiosity reduces boredom, which is often responsible for non-hunger-based eating.
- Being curious opens up opportunities for happiness because you expose yourself to the unfamiliar – which might just turn out to be something that brings you joy.
How can I cultivate my sense of curiosity?
- Be open-minded. Don’t write something off as irrelevant or not for you – until you’ve given it a fair shot.
- Let your inner child out. Kids ask questions – lots of them, right? Who, what, when, where, why and how are words that often start any question from a kid. A curious kid is a kid that learns – a lot. You’re never too old to ask questions, and to learn.
- Don’t take things – or people – at face value. Instead, ponder a bit, ask questions, dig deeper.
- Make a point of trying something new on a regular basis – talk to someone new, explore a new genre of music or film, read material that’s different than what you normally would choose. Or try a new type of exercise, a class you’ve never taken, a food you’ve never eaten, a style of clothing you’ve never worn. You can “try things on” without committing yourself on a long-term basis. Make a new friend. Learn about a different culture or country. Watch a TV show you’ve never watched. Change the channel – on the TV and, figuratively, when it comes to life in general.
- Banish thoughts like “I won’t like that” or “I won’t be able to do that”.
- If anxiety is getting in your way, remember all the times in the past that you asked a question, tried something new, opened a book or magazine that was unfamiliar, talked to someone you didn’t know, applied for a job or program, walked into a store you’d never visited, tried a new recipe, and so on…..
How will cultivating curiosity help me maintain my weight loss?
- Curiosity about our habits, triggers, patterns and responses is essential for successful weight loss maintenance. We need to be curious about what we do (and don’t do) when it comes to food and eating. We need to get into detective mode and understand ourselves well – our thoughts, feelings, choices and behaviors. Curiosity builds self-knowledge and self-awareness, both essential for lifelong weight loss maintenance.
- Being curious about new possibilities will lead us to ask what we can do instead – instead of responding in the same old way to the same old situations and triggers (both internal and external). “Instead” strategies are essential for successful weight loss maintenance. We need to ask, “What can I do instead of overeating, or unhealthy eating, when I need comfort, soothing, relief from stress, fun, pleasure, stimulation, and so on?”
- For lifelong weight loss maintenance we also benefit from being curious about new foods and new ways of cooking. Food boredom can sabotage weight loss maintenance. New experiences can combat boredom eating. Sometimes we may need to build new relationships – with new people or with the people who are already in our lives, if the people in our lives tend to sabotage our efforts to live in a healthy way. Curiosity opens us up to the possibility of connecting with new people who also aspire to a healthy lifestyle. Curiosity also opens us up to the idea of finding new ways to relate to the people who are already in our lives, with whom our relationship may have been based around food and eating.
- We all slip up. If we are curious about what happened, what led to the slip – seeking to learn and understand – we’re less likely to engage in harsh self-judgment or negative self-talk (which in turn can lead us to throw in the towel).
If you’re feeling stuck in terms of reaching your wellness goals, coaching can help move you forward. If you’re interested in getting unstuck, contact me for details: firstname.lastname@example.org
With your continued health in mind,
Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Lifelong Weight Management
Creator, The Full Mind Weigh® to Lifelong Weight Management
The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management provides education and training. The Full Mind Weigh® is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.