“Become through doing,” Aristotle remarked. You may not see the path’s end. You may be wondering whether you have what it takes to succeed. However, you strengthen your talents for the adventure with each stride forward. The doors swing open. Possibilities are revealed. You attract fresh ideas. Inspiration and intuition become more powerful. What exactly does he mean by this?
When we decide to alter our lives, we must also commit to changing our beliefs and habits of mind, those thoughts about life and ourselves that appear to reoccur like ads during a sponsored television program. You know the ones I’m talking about: “I’ve never been fit before, so why start now?” “My family is just ‘large-boned.'” “I’m too weary (too busy, too poor, too big…) to get in shape,” and, much more pernicious, “I’m not worth it.” “It’s pointless; I’ll never be able to achieve something useful.” Yes, those mental habits.’
Everyone, I mean everyone, can modify these beliefs and habits of mind. The approach may vary somewhat in how we prioritize setting up our objectives, but the basic aspects of doing so are the same. Set your goal(s), find a reason to commit to them, and don’t worry about how you’ll reach them or even the outcomes; just take the steps one at a time and let your mind and life evolve in ways that support your dedication to your objective. In a nutshell, this is what Aristotle was referring to. It is true for every objective, but it is particularly true for health and fitness goals.
First and foremost, establish specific goals: I know you’ve heard that before, but have you truly tried it? When you don’t write down your goals, they become “a’wish’n and a’hopin’,” so be clear and write them down. I advise getting a fresh notebook and using it as your goal/s diary. Write a particular goal for your health and fitness on a new page. Give yourself a reason why you desire this goal, make it quantifiable (offer it a period), hold yourself responsible, and give yourself a reward (a carrot on a stick) to look forward to. What does a goal expressed in this manner resemble?
Goal #1: Because I want to compete in a regional weightlifting competition (your reason), I’ve determined that during the following 10 weeks, I’ll be able to bench press 10kg more than I can currently (here is a specific goal with a time frame – a great start) To hold yourself responsible, I’ll ask (my personal trainer, my spouse, my closest friend) to remind me to keep on target and to check in with me every Monday night. When I reach my objective, I will complete the competition entry form and join the contest (your prize).
It might also look like this:
Goal #1. Because I want to feel healthier and have the energy to play with my children and feel sexy again (your reason), I have decided that I will be 10kg lighter than my current weight within the next 10 weeks (specific time frame), and I will ask my (personal trainer, yoga teacher, mother, partner, my best friend) to remind me to stay on track and to ask how I am doing every Monday night (accountability). When I reach my goal, I plan to purchase and wear the attractive lingerie I saw last week and go to the beach in my bikini and play beach soccer with my kids (your prize).
Second, list tasks or steps that will help you achieve your goal. If you need assistance with this step, consult with a personal trainer, a nutritionist, your yoga or pilates instructor, or anyone else who has the expertise to help you identify and create a step-by-step list and daily activity log. When you break down your big goal(s) into bite-sized bits like this, the job does not seem as enormous and burdensome. It is also critical, unless you have a lot of willpower, to recruit the support of someone else to coach you through to the finish because once you have accomplished one goal, it is much simpler to keep on track and coach yourself toward a second and a third, and so on.
Third, accept that you will make errors and blunders and that this is normal. Yes! It’s okay; you will undoubtedly make errors and sometimes purposefully screw up to retain your previous status quo. This is natural behavior; we all get comfortable with the way our lives operate, even if we don’t like it, and we might then develop behaviors or make decisions on our path to a “Lifestyle Makeover” that seem to purposefully undermine our best efforts. The sooner you accept this as typical behavior and that you can get back on track after forgiving yourself for the lapse, the sooner you will be ready to go on and begin your new life.
These blunders may be a valuable source of information and feedback about your roadblocks to success in any endeavor, as well as what works and what does not. If anything is a major stumbling barrier, you and your coach may either adapt your steps to accommodate a required change of pace or implement a new plan to get you beyond the stumbling obstacle.
Fourth, start thinking about yourself differently. I approach new habits of mind with an “I take that back, what I intended to say was” approach. For example, when I say things like, “I can’t lose weight; nothing seems to work,” I quickly correct myself and say, “I take that back; what I meant to say was, I am slimming down, it is already working, and all I have to do is think I can do it for it to happen.” I’ll even say it aloud if I’m in a very deep slump. I want you to note two things about how I expressed my views. “I take it back” effectively notifies your subconscious that this kind of thinking is no longer acceptable.
Fifth, visualize your route to your objective. Allow yourself a few minutes every day; it only takes 3 to 5 minutes, so please do not skip this step. Use your imagination to picture yourself having accomplished your goal, not the details, but how great you’ll feel, what kind of comments you’ll hear (only positive ones), and what you’ll be doing – winning that regional weight lifting competition, wearing that sexy lingerie, and seeing the interesting light up your partner’s eyes (whew! I’m simply fanning myself, so I can finish this piece). This is an important stage in your health and fitness journey and should not be overlooked. Did you know that Olympic competitors imagine victory every day leading up to an event? They see themselves pushing past pain barriers, racing across the finish line ahead of their competitors, and most importantly, standing on that podium with that gold medal.
Medical research has shown that persons who employ this kind of complete sensory visualization experience profound changes in their brains and bodies; their muscles get stronger than those who exercise but do not visualize, and the psychological advantages are astounding. So keep your sights set on the prize. Daydreaming about the goal and reading about the objective can help you stay focused at first. They will assist you in refining and concretizing your aim. Reading and positive visualization can help you get out of it when you feel trapped in a rut. Making large things happen requires determination, initiative, and enthusiasm.
Begin thinking and behaving like a successful person who has already achieved your objective. Consider how it will feel to be thin, trim, and fantastic. What might you do now that you have more energy? Anticipate success and live it. Describe yourself as that accomplished individual. I’m in good shape. I compete in weightlifting. I am thin and attractive.
Consider your progress and how far you’ve come. And when you make progress, remember the breakthroughs you’ve had and recognize your success. Thank you to everyone who helped along the road. You are already a success, magnificent, and all you need to be; all you have to do now is let yourself out of the cages you may have created along the road, cages formed of ideas and habits of mind that no longer serve the healthier, fitter, more successful you.