Today I have to get to my workout, meal prep and meditation BUT my office needs to be cleaned, I have to respond to that email and I have to buy those pants before they go off sale. It seems we will do just about anything to avoid the activities that will change everything. But why?
Why do we engage in avoidance activities? Why can’t we keep the main thing, the main thing? Why do we continuously push ourselves to the bottom of our priority lists? If we keep asking why, we may not like what we find.
Avoidance activities are just that, a way to stay the same. They reinforce statements like “I know what to do, I just don’t do it”. You may want to pause and ask yourself: Why am I putting everything ahead of me? Why is cleaning, my Instagram profile and Candy Crush more important than I am? Keep asking why…you need to know.
The honest truth is we’re scared of change. We’re actually hard-wired to keep ourselves in predictable and familiar situations. Our brains are actually rewarded for doing so. These are some of the built-in survival mechanisms within us. My sense is you aren’t satisfied with surviving, I bet you’re more interested in thriving. Once you ask why, you are empowered to do something about it.
What is THE most important thing you would like to do each and everyday? What is the one thing that when done consistently over time will change the game for you? Go for the BIG ROCK! Make YOU (that one thing), your priority each day. Do it for 90 days straight. Vow to not miss a day. Then observe the chain reaction of change…how changing that one thing actually affected everything!
Write down your one focused behavior change so that it’s a goal and not a wish. Then write down the 5-10 avoidance activities that detract your attention: excessive taking, mindlessly surfing the web, sweeping the floor, worrying or watching the Desperate Housewives. It’s OK to do these things once you’ve completed your one activity and have figured out when you will do it tomorrow.
Keep in mind, avoidance activities appear to be our allies but are anything but. Join our online community, the Revolution where focused behavior changes and daily transformation are the norm and are supported by an entire online community. It’d be cool if you singed up to receive my blog posts too 🙂
Be well and focus, avoid avoiding!
Change or stay the same?
If all your choices were left sided up until the last one, you may be best suited for staying the same. If you want to know why we avoid change, it’s because we don’t like how the right side feels. My gut says you’re worth it.
So you want to start a new fitness program. How are you going to measure its success? Is it attendance? Effort? Consistency? Courage? Strength? Weight loss? Speed? Dress/pants size? The fact is, the objective of your program will drive the program itself.
One of the biggest dangers is to set weight loss as your primary objective and measure of progress. Hear me out: let’s say you go to the gym every day and eat “perfectly” for a week and you hop on the scale and nothing’s changed. What’s the first thought that comes to mind? And, equally importantly, how are you feeling? Chances are you’re feeling your efforts are a waste of time and you probably feel frustrated. So you give up, remain unchanged and over time, your situation worsens.
When you put all your eggs in the scale basket, it’s like measuring your progress by looking through a straw. You can’t see or appreciate the fact you’ve overcome your snooze button or built up the courage to try again or push through a difficult workout. You probably don’t realize you served as an encouragement to someone else, were in a better mood, feeling better about yourself or you managed your day better to make time for yourself or you showed up every day and gave it your best effort. Yep, you pretty much can’t measure anything of worth on the scale. It’s an unappreciative tool which always seems to be the bearer of bad news. 🙁
This month, let’s measure success in a variety of ways. Let’s look at:
5. How your clothes are fitting
Realistically, you know how much you weigh within a few pounds and more importantly, you know if you’re going to like what you see. So long as you are consistently showing up and giving it your best and you’re feeling great about what you’re doing, let the results fall into place. Show up for yourself because you’re worth it and not for what the scale has to say.
What do you desire or dream about? What makes you tick? Do you have a plan to get there or is it stuck in your head? How do you deal with setbacks? Do you give up or push harder? How does family, friends or work affect your pursuit?
Through motivational interviewing, I ask questions like these to my clients who want to lose weight, get in shape, tone up, move better and feel better in an effort to understand what drives them. Drivers are things that make something happen. Our body’s, mind’s and spirit’s all drive us to behave in a way consistent with our beliefs and desires:
Body – We use our hands as physical drivers to pick things up, throw em’, catch em’ or hug em’.
Mind – Our mind uses pain as a mental driver to keep us from sticking our hand in the fire.
Spirit – Our spirit uses feelings as an emotional driver to pick up the phone and say I’m sorry.
When we get a goal in our mindsight, it’s a straight up sprint to our destination of weight loss, toning and performance gains. We start crushing the diet, eating clean, no snacks after dinner and drinking plenty of water. We’re also hitting the gym; every night is a spin class, boot camp or some other taxing form of movement. We do this all until we don’t. Sprinting to our goals is not a strategy built around sustainability.
I want to lose weight, get in shape, be more flexible, etc. BUT I’m really busy, I’m lazy, I’m a procrastinator, I have an extreme personality, patience isn’t my virtue, I don’t respond to diets…I am a labeler and I probably don’t realize the danger labeling has on my ability to evolve and improve my life.
Labeling 101: When we label, we literally remove ourselves from the process of transforming into what we desire. The label justifies our behaviors, which makes us feel better about our decisions and simultaneously stressed because we know we are not changing.
Additionally, the label subtracts our accountability from the process. It’s not MY fault, it’s impatience, procrastination’s or laziness’ fault. When you’re not the centerfold of your personal transformation, the probability of your sustainability is not looking good.
Solution: Become aware of the labels you put on yourself. They are not always so easy to pick up because they are our friend in a sense. They are our justifiers, they make us feel good about our decisions. Bring them out into the light and immediately identify the solution that removes the need for the label.
This can be a daunting task to perform alone. Join our online community called the Revolution where we put ourselves at the core of the evolution process. Check us out: www.conditionforlife.com/revolution The worst that’ll happen is you’ll become what you’ve always wanted to! 🙂
I used to tell people to “Have a great day!” all the time. I always hoped those 4 little words would make someone feel more special than before we met…and more often than not, they did. But I realized how passive that statement was—would they still have a great day if their day wasn’t full of great experiences? Probably not, but why?
As a Lifestyle & Performance Catalyst, I’m anything but passive. I needed my farewell message to have an action tied to it and preferably one that made the person accountable to the outcome. So I’m thinking, I don’t want to go out of my way to say “have a great day regardless of what happens today”…that’s a little crazy! Then it hit me, I was missing a word.
My new au revoir is “Make it a great day!” It still feels good to hear it and it feels great saying it. Go ahead, try it 🙂 It communicates their role in the context of a great day. Life is full of unknowns but our reaction to them is our responsibility.
I teach my clients the little model below. We have no control over the bookends of this model. We cannot control the inputs (daily events) or the reaction to how we handle a situation. We are in total control of our thoughts and our actions—Make it a great day!
Input > Thoughts > Actions > Reactions
“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do for which we are accountable.” John Baptiste Moliere
Scale not moving this week? Stop working out! Got a tough teacher and a displeasing progress report? Quit the class! Having relational issues? Avoid their calls and hold a grudge! Feeling depressed or down about your situation these days? Divorce your mind from your body and start all over! Ahhhhhh, this is where we get stuck because we can’t separate our minds from our bodies.
Think about it…we live in an instant gratification culture where there is an easy way out of most things and following the path of least resistance can seem like a good choice. We are rarely forced to look inwards when it comes to improving our own situation. We’re lead to believe there’s something we can buy that will fix it for us.
The convenience our world has to offer comes at a huge price. Our grit, our resilience, our character and our capacity weakens because we aren’t required to perform the mental gymnastics to figure things out anymore. It’s why the generations before us say “you don’t know what hard work is”. Why stretch to help your lower back pain, reflect on your choices to fix the blues or change your lifestyle to improve your health when you can take a pill.
I’m not going to tell you what to do because that removes you from the change process. I am here to empower you with a way of thinking. Albert Einstein says: “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. He’s telling us the answers are “upstairs” in our heads, our minds, our thoughts–they are within us, not outside us (pill, program or procedure). Take a Mind-First Approach to leading your life with our online community called the Revolution. The focus of our program is on solutions…YOU are that solution! Find out how: www.conditionforlife.com/revolution
Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of finding your WHY (purpose/passion) and tying it to your reason for working out. By taking the time to get your mind on your side, you will dramatically improve your commitment to yourself because your fitness goals have deeper meaning.
For instance, you may value your self-esteem and you leverage working out as an authentic esteem booster. While someone else may value service to others and they realize paying it forward comes along with a very real physical demand, so working out is a vehicle to helping others. This simple, often overlooked activity shifts your mindset from no-pain, no-gain to I am worth the effort and working out means soooooo much more than looking good.
Today, let’s get to the heart of the matter…WHY many of us struggle to keep physical activity an integrated part of our lifestyle. In the last few years, I’ve been doing a lot of motivational interviewing. I’ve discovered a common pattern, there is a fundamental lack of self-worth in our culture. In other words, many of us don’t believe in ourselves. Spoiler alert: If you don’t believe in yourself, working out is simply not a priority. It’s not a priority because when we work out, we tell ourselves through our actions, we are worth the effort. When our mind says “it’s too hard” or “I’m not worth it” and our actions say otherwise, that disconnect is immensely felt in our human spirit. Ouch!
Even though there may be more pain in our current situation of reciting self-limiting beliefs (I’m not worth it) and pairing it with self-destructive behaviors (I’m too busy to work out), the positive reinforcement is that it’s a familiar, certain and predictable pattern. Our brain is hard-wired and rewarded for finding these patterns, it’s why we’re creatures of habit. It also connects our thoughts to our actions–so the story makes sense to us. Does this make sense? It’s the reason why 98% of us fail to reach our resolution goals?! Every year, year after year…how upsetting and depressing?!?!
All of our previous experiences have influenced our belief in ourselves. Wondering where your belief is lacking? Fill in this blank: I’m not _____ enough. Whatever word(s) came to mind is your perception of what needs improving. We have two choices now:
1. Give energy to your problems: I’m not _____ enough and I’ll never be _____ enough or as good as _____.
2. Give energy to your solutions: I am ______, it’s not where I want to be and here’s what I’m going to do about it.
The big difference here is defining yourself by your problems as opposed to believing you can improve your situation. You will improve, it will be difficult, anything and everything worthwhile is but start with a belief in yourself (I am enough) and pair it with your thoughts (I’m a work in progress and that’s OK) and your actions (Healthy movement and working out, eating nourishing foods, giving yourself permission to have downtime and restorative sleep and engaging loving, supportive relationships). You choose whichever constructive actions you feel will facilitate your progress and tie it to your WHY.
Don’t fool yourself into I’m lazy or too busy or not motivated. If you were, you wouldn’t have cared to read this. You are amazing, serious, didn’t you know?! It is my hope this message resonated with you and you can take something from it. I would be honored if you joined me and our online community, where we’re getting to the heart of the matter, taking the time to get our mind on our side and using workouts and making better choices as the catalyst to reaching our full potential.
Check us out: www.conditionforlife.com/revolution or just complete the start up form (you are worth it) http://www.conditionforlife.com/c4l-revolution-connect-form/