I just read that 95% of all new year’s Resolutions FAIL within the first few weeks of the new year.
There is really only one way to prevent this from happening. You must be able to see in your mind clearly how strong you want to be, how powerful you want to feel, how flexible you want to be, how thin (or thick) you want your legs, how defined you want your arms and shoulders, how flat you want your belly to be. You’ve got to be able to see all that if you’re going to achieve it. And you must be able to do that because it provides you not only with motivation and inspiration, but it also provides you with what I call the panacea.
It’s a pain reliever. Because in order to get to where you want to be, you’re going to have to sacrifice. Now we all have to sacrifice and a lot of times that sacrifice is really painful because it includes doing…doing things or not doing things that we really like to do.
When I sat down and interviewed Doug Joachim for Strengthnation.com, we talked a lot about the emotional and psychological ramifications of getting in shape. And one of the things that you’ve heard me speak about on The Strengthcast has been the movement toward or away. And Doug categorized this as the movement of fear or the movement of love.
This is a powerful concept because years and years and years ago before I became a personal trainer, I used to work in the restaurant business. When I worked in the restaurant business I was just out of college and I smoked cigarettes a lot in college. I also worked out a lot, but I also smoked cigarettes a lot (something about the restaurant business I guess).
As I established my life when I was just getting started here in the city a lot of that had to do with hanging out and partying. I really liked to get out and socialize and party and I also really liked to workout. During this time I noticed that the more I drank and the more I smoked, the worse my workouts became (duh!). So I had to start making a certain kind of choice about how I wanted to live my life. I realized this as I was sucking wind on the Stairmaster one day saying “god-damn I’ve got to quit smoking if I’m going to be able to do this for twenty minutes and you know… not feel like an idiot”.
So I made a commitment. I said I’m going to quit smoking cigarettes and I have. I haven’t smoked cigarettes in years and years and years, but the way I did it was I didn’t actively set out to not smoke. That would be moving away from something (fear). In effect, what you’re setting up is a negative story that you’re telling yourself (fear again). If you ever listen to any self-help gurus or any guys that do NLP stuff, what they talk about is the brain’s inability to interpret a negative. In fact, at the gym recently one of the guys was talking about a baseball pitching coach and how he helped his pitchers to improve. What they found was a pitcher couldn’t accurately pitch if he was thinking: “don’t throw it over there” (you start to see fear at work).
You see this in golf a lot when you stand on a tee and you’re facing water and you have to hit the ball over water. The more you picture in your mind the water, the more afraid you become of the water, the larger it looms in your mind, the more likely it is you’re going to put the ball in the water. The same with the pitcher, the more he thought about not hitting the batter, the more likely he was to hit the batter.
And the same is true for you.
The more you focus on where you’re not going to go, the more likely it is you’re going to go there.
So this included for me (way back then) not smoking. I couldn’t focus on not smoking. What I had to focus on was the health and vitality (and love) that I wanted to experience. So now I wasn’t moving away from smoking, I was moving towards a health and vitality that I wanted to experience. This is a very positive effect. It is a loving effect It had a very positive effect on my attitude. It had a very positive effect on my mind and it created a positive outcome because it made it so easy to quit smoking.
It wasn’t as if I was quitting smoking, I was simply embracing (love again) more and more every day a movement towards a healthy lifestyle. It’s critical to understand this because if you focus on for example: “I’m not going to be fat” You are going to move closer to being fat, not further.
The focus has to be on what exactly it is you want. The more you focus on this, the more your mind, your body, and your very being will carry towards this image in an effort to resolve this image into a manifest clarity that is actual, that is IN reality, that is tangible. This is really critical to understand because it can help determine whether or not you are successful. So a constant massaging of the image of your perfect body does nothing but infiltrate the movements of your daily life and you’ll find it infiltrates the decisions that you’re making on a day-to-day basis.
You’ll find that it’s infiltrating the amount of weight you’re lifting in the gym or the strength of your commitment or the power of your emotional experience as you go into your workout. Remember, your workouts should be stimulating enough to cause a bit of trepidation. You should have in your body a feeling of nervousness as you start moving towards your workout because you know it’s going to be stimulating enough to effect change in your body.
This means it might be strenuous, it’ll be difficult, challenging, fearful. So rising to the challenges, experiencing love (of your body, of the opportunity to express yourself) are going to be experiences that you want to have. Rising to the challenge is something that you want to pursue because that is going to lead you ever closer to this image in your mind that you’re trying to resolve.
I know people who do this with confidence and clarity. It’s as much a part of their workout as actually lifting the weight is and you’ll find it works to get your workout up to the next level. And the thing about it, which is really compelling, is that you can’t really rest on it. It has to be an ever-present movement towards this body that you want, movement towards this feeling that you want and you want to be able to feel that feeling in your bones.
You want to be able to feel that feeling in your muscles, in your heart, in your lungs and you want to be able to push yourself into this place by allowing the image to call you out of your comfort zone, by allowing your desire to call you out of your comfort zone and into places that you’ve never been before.
The loving image you see yourself as becomes the panacea that eliminates the pain of fear.
This is how you will become successful in fitness. Frankly, it’s how you’ll become successful in almost any endeavor, but in terms of what we’re trying to do it will absolutely aid you in your fitness endeavor, whether it’s gaining muscle or whether it’s losing weight. They’re equally difficult for all of us.
We all face similar problems.
I have a weight loss problem. I have difficulty keeping muscle on my body and there are many people who have the opposite problem, they have a difficult time keeping weight off their body. So we are all compelled to move towards something that we are not in this moment. And I think that’s fine. I think it’s healthy. I think it’s smart, I think it’s excellent, I think it’s half of the engine that drives the economy, commerce and the desire to reach out and connect with other people because we can help each other.
I can help you get closer to where you want to get to because I can teach you how to do it. And the main kernel of it is creating this loving image that is you at your best, you at your most perfect, you at your most stellar and giving yourself the permission to move towards that image, to move towards that feeling and the more you do that, the more it becomes a habit. And the more you do that, the more the things that are in your way will fall to the wayside.
Remember, I didn’t not smoke back when I was trying to quit smoking so much as I moved towards a healthy lifestyle, which naturally doesn’t include smoking cigarettes. I still like to drink and socialize and that can be a conflict with my fitness goals. So I have to manage that and I have to be prepared to work on the imagery, to work on the desire, to work on what it is I want and make it so secure and make it so solid, make it so large in my mind that it draws me towards my goal and it draws me out of my comfort zone into the zone of my fittest year ever.
Yours too I bet.