We have fallen completely in love with Shahroo Izadi’s incredible book The Kindness Method, the perfect tool to help you change unwanted habits and live a more positive life – one where you treat yourself with kindness, compassion and understanding. We took five with Shahroo to find out more about her inspiring story and her wonderful book with a quick Q&A session. Enjoy!
The perfect partner to our Self Collection and featuring a gorgeous limited edition kikki.K cover, through the inspiring pages of this book, Shahroo prompts us to shift our mindset, start focusing on our strengths and celebrate all the things we’re capable of in order make positive, long-term changes.
“As soon as I came across this book, I just knew I had to share it with you. It’s the perfect tool to help you change unwanted habits and live a more positive life – one where you treat yourself with kindness, compassion and understanding. What a wonderful message!” Kristina Karlsson
Your wonderful book. The Kindness Method is such a unique and inspiring approach to helping people change habits for the positive. Can you summarise what the core message of the book is for us?
A lot of the time when we want to change our habits, we feel fed up with ourselves and bored with our own patterns. We often focus on what is wrong with us and hope that by focusing on moving away from the negatives of our habits, we’ll be able to make sustained changes.
Further, it’s common to have an unkind internal dialogue when it comes to our failed attempts to change, and we can reinforce self-limiting beliefs about what we’re capable and worthy of doing and achieving.
The Kindness Method turns this all on its head. It provides a simple framework that we can use to gain insight into how our habits are in fact serving us, as well as teaches us the value of speaking to ourselves in the encouraging, motivational way that we all know gets things done!
How did you come to develop this wonderful approach?
I spent some time working in the substance misuse treatment field and became fascinated by the tools that were helping people sustain recovery from addictions long term. I was incredibly inspired by the individuals who had managed to turn their entire lives around as well as the professionals who were using evidence-based tools to help them do that. It became more and more clear to me that many of the approaches used could be useful to the general population, and help a range of people to change more day to day unwanted habits.
I began to draw from a combination of different tools that I was noticing were most effective, and adapting them so that they could be used easily by pretty much anyone! Plus, I started using them on myself and experiencing first-hand how transformative they could be.
Your own personal experience of change so inspiring, having lost an amazing eight stone by putting in place realistic and sustainable habits. Can you share a little about the key changes in mindset and habits you had to make along your journey?
Before coming across the sorts of motivational tools and approaches that The Kindness Method is inspired by, I always lived life ‘on hold’, waiting to show my body and mind more kindness and consideration once I had lost weight. I’ve since learned that a lot of people can relate to this. As I share in the book, I remember being in a counseling session and the therapist asking me what I would do if I knew that I would never be slim. I was surprised to notice how angry I was at the suggestion. After all, I had decided many years before that weight loss would be the answer to all my problems, and that when I was a certain size, I would start truly enjoying my life. After I calmed down a bit, I decided to do an experiment. I entertained the idea that I’d never lose weight and decided to start doing all the things I was waiting to do. I made kindness towards myself unconditional, and funnily enough, I started seeing shifts more easily and naturally than I ever had before.
The more positive I felt about myself and my body regardless of its size, the more natural it felt to make food and exercise choices that were kind too. For me, that meant not bingeing, restricting and following extreme fad diets that always left me heavier, more disillusioned and feeling unhealthier than when I started.
If you could give three tips from the book, on how our listeners can start embracing The Kindness Method at home right now, what would they be?
The next time you try to do something difficult (like change your habits) and you fall off-track, choose to listen-in on how you speak to yourself. Ask yourself whether the soundtrack you’re hearing seems fair, kind and/or helpful. Notice whether you’re giving yourself the same advice you’d give someone who you wanted to succeed.
Spend one week making choices for your body that you’d want the person you love most in the world to make for theirs. Everything from how much fresh air you get to how much water you drink and how much rest you ensure you get. Notice if you feel any different at the end of it and if you do, ask yourself why your body deserves anything less!
Make a list of all the difficult things you’ve managed to do in your life. Everything that has demonstrated how strong and capable you are. When you’re finished, take a photo of that list and keep it on your phone. The next time you’re doubting your ability to do something, like sit through the short-term discomfort of changing a habit, commit to looking at it and tell yourself “If I managed to do all that, I can absolutely do this.”
With many of us struggling under increasingly full schedules, we know that often self-love and self-care are the first things to be forgotten. What advice can you give for people struggling with staying on the right path during these more stressful times, in terms of looking after themselves?
Schedule in joy. Book in appointments with yourself to do things for no other reason than how positive they make you feel. Anything from speaking to a friend who always makes you laugh or going to the cinema or treating yourself to a nice meal. Wherever possible, keep this date the way you’d keep a business appointment. Remember, not only do you deserve to enjoy your life and feel good, but when it comes to habits (which are difficult to change), feeling positive can help us feel more capable.
Do you have any tips on achieving some sort of work-life balance?
Building boundaries with tech can help enormously. One of the best decisions I’ve made is to stay away from my phone at the beginning and end of the day, and to manage expectations around my response times to social and professional correspondence. It’s easy to get into a trap of feeling more productive by dealing with things as soon as they come in, and I appreciate that sometimes that is unavoidable. That said, it’s important to check-in sometimes and ask ourselves whether we are dealing with something that’s happening on our phones as though it’s an emergency when it really isn’t one!
And finally, what are your non-negotiables when it comes to your own self-care and self-kindness?
Forgive myself as quickly as I’d forgive a loved one, focus on progress, not perfection and follow the same commonsense advice I’d give others.
We all have the power within us to change unwanted habits for good, and The Kindness Method gives you simple steps to do just that. Start making positive changes today and begin by treating yourself with the kindness you truly deserve. And if you’re looking for beautiful supporting products to help you on your journey, our gorgeous Self Collection is the perfect place to start!
Shahroo has also recently released a second book, The Last Diet. For more information, visit www.shahrooizadi.co.uk/
If you’d like to hear even more from Shahroo, be sure to listen to her inspiring episode on Kristina’s Your Dream Life Podcast.
Start making yourself a priority today!