[LIMITING] STORY WE TELL OURSELVES
I begin this blog with a quote. You see there is always, ALWAYS a story going on inside our heads… the way we talk to ourselves or, as I like to call it, our internal monolog. When we talk to others, parts of this internal chatter come out: “I don’t have the time to workout…” (we can all make time), “I don’t know what to eat…” (you really don’t know that a cheeseburger, fries and a soda are not good for you?), “I can never stick to a workout program…” (basing your future on your past behavior just re-enforces it). What is the story that goes on in your head? And I suggest you be aware of the “…but…”, as in “I’d like to eat healthier but…” because, right after the “but” comes the story. And the more we tell ourselves this story, the stronger it gets, the more we believe it and the more we enforce (and reinforce) it with our behavior: it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here is how you breakthrough that habit or pattern.
THE STRATEGY TO OVERCOME IT: THE POWER OF OUR WORDS
The first and most powerful strategy you can use to combat this is to first learn to hear yourself. Be aware of your internal monolog, your story. What do you say to yourself when it comes to going after something you want, something that you know will help improve the quality of your life? Even something you WANT to do. What does that “little voice” start saying? Where did that voice come from in your past? A parent? A teacher or coach? How long has it been “talking” to you? Is it really YOU talking? Learn to listen for it. The second step is acknowledging that voice, and then beginning to change it if it’s not saying things to you that are helping you move forward.
THE 2ND CHALLENGE: THE PROBLEM IS OUT *THERE* SOMEWHERE
If you think the problem is out there, that’s a problem: “It’s time…”, “It’s my spouse and how they eat…”, “It’s my kids…” There are always a million excuses and rationales as to why you are not where you want to be. Adopting the attitude that “The problem is out there…” becomes a great way to NOT take responsibility for where we are in our lives. If we continue to think “the problem is out there”, it becomes a real challenge to change anything.
THE STRATEGY TO OVERCOME IT: OUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE
Since we can’t really control other people or even what happens to us in life, then what can we control? How we respond to what happens to us. This is our circle of influence… it’s the thing we can control and do something about. Like our reaction to failure: we can give up (a choice) or we can learn from it (another choice). This is a very powerful tool and one that many successful people have mastered. The interesting aspect about this circle of influence is that the more we focus on it, the larger it gets. We must be willing to swallow that bitter pill that no one can make us respond a certain way about anything: that choice is ultimately ours (our responsibility) to make.
THE 3RD CHALLENGE: OUR INABILITY TO BE CONSISTENT
Have you ever made up your mind to do something and then didn’t follow through? HELLO?!? All of us of done this! I am sure at some point we’ve all had a moment of inspiration, the feeling of “That’s it, I can’t take it anymore, I am going to change!” And then 3 hours later, when we said we were going to workout, or eat healthier or (fill in the blank), we revert back to our old habit. How do we overcome that? How do we develop that discipline to do what we’ve decided, whether we feel like it or not?
THE STRATEGY TO OVERCOME IT: FEELINGS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT
When we decide to make that big change, it usually happens in a moment of elevated emotion. We are inspired, pissed off, hurt or experiencing some type of PAIN or PLEASURE which is driving us to make that decision. These feelings are strong and are just the push we need to DECIDE. However, we have to understand that those feelings won’t always be there and that whether we feel like it or not, if we want to make a change, we have to do what we decided to do when we made the decision to change. I like to say that doing the workout is more important than the workout itself. Meaning, staying committed to the choice of working out is what really counts the most. Every time you make a decision and don’t follow through, you are creating the habit of NOT FOLLOWING THROUGH. Conversely, every time you do follow through on something, you create the HABIT of INTEGRITY, of doing what you said you were going to do. This builds in you an inner strength, an internal confidence that you know you can rely on when you make a decision. This could be spending less money, giving up bread or getting up an hour earlier every day… whatever you decide, stick to it, whether you “feel like it” or not!
The opportunity to empower yourself with life habits that move you forward towards your goals are always right there in front of you. Ultimately, the choice is yours to make: if you are not happy with where you are at, then try changing the story in your head, focus on your circle of influence and follow through with whatever action you decided to take!
Connect. Educate. Inspire.
Phil Dozois, Owner, Breakthru Fitness