Do You Struggle with Motivation?
Do You Find it Difficult to Sustain a Healthy Lifestyle?
Are You an Emotional Eater?
Are You Failing to get the Results You Want?
If you said YES to any of the above, this post has been written to help you.
In this post I’m going to empathise with those of you who are struggling to make long and lasting changes to your body shape, health and fitness. I’m going to explain why this is happening and also provide some solutions to take you out of this frustrating rut!
The People That Never Change…
Every week I see the same faces at the gym, and if I had to guess I reckon only 10% actually improve their physiques. The other 90% don’t look any different, even though they’ve been training for years!
I also see lots of people seeking out quick fixes – searching for the latest magic pill or faddy diet. Usually these people hop from diet to diet, pill to pill, program to program! Most usually go back to their old ways, or go on yet another pursuit for the next magic potion or snazzy fitness gadget!
And then there are the people who go to the gym for a month or two but then completely stop! This often happens after the Christmas splurge, when people decide to go on an intensive detox/health kick in January… but within 1-2 months they have reversed back to their old ways!
If you’re fed up of being one of these people and WANT RESULTS THAT LAST then please read on…
What You Will Learn In This Article?
- Why We Are The Way We Are
- Negative & Positive Effects of Social Environment
- Motivations To Change: Pain & Pleasure
- How To Make Permanent Changes
#1 Why We Are The Way We Are
From the day that we are born we learn from our environment and the people around us; our parents, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunties, uncles, etc, etc.
We are like sponges, soaking up all of the information around us – It’s like the expression…
Naturally we pick up the beliefs, habits and behaviours of those around us and copy them because we don’t know any different.
So many of our behaviours and habits are passed onto to us – we don’t have a choice!
Has anybody ever said to you “you’re just like your mother!” or something along those lines? Well that’s because at some point during childhood you copied her mannerisms and behaviours.
Humans are creatures of habit, whether that be good or bad. We literally have millions of habits – actions which require no conscious involvement, and they are hugely beneficial because they prevent the conscious mind from being overwhelmed.
The more we do something the better we get and the more it becomes a habit. Now if the habit is a positive one that serves us… that’s great, if however it’s something that is negatively impacting our lives then it’s not so good! We will look at how to create positive habit changes later in the post.
#2 Negative & Positive Effects of Social Environment
Your environment has the power to pick you up or drag you down.
The social pressures of society are enormous and naturally we all want to fit in. To be an outsider is a threat to our survival… a bit dramatic I know but that’s how our brain process social ostracisation. It’s part of our reptilian brain structure – groups have a greater chance of survival. Feeling like we’re the odd one out is enough for many of us to cave into peer pressure…
We experience this at the office every lunch time… colleagues enticing us with donuts, cakes, crips, biscuits!
We experience it on a Friday night down at the pub, where we are called ‘boring’ and made fun of if we don’t have a pint or glass of wine!
In order to be part of a group you have to conform to the ‘rules’ and ‘unwritten rules’ of the group. If you’re part of a group that goes out and parties every weekend but then all of a sudden you stop going out, so you can get up and go to the gym – you are likely to be noticed and maybe even ridiculed by the group…
“Come on let your hair down! you’re only young once!”
“You used to be fun”
“You don’t need to lose weight”
“one night won’t do any harm!”
Who’s experienced this before? I certainly have and I used to cave in, feeling guilty and afraid of being criticised.
I’ve come to realise though that most people are scared of change, both change of themselves and of others. If they see you changing they panic, they aren’t able to change themselves so they either knowingly or unknowingly try and sabotage your efforts!
On the flip side…positive people will help you raise your game and bring the best out of you. This is why the saying ‘choose your friends wisely’ is a good way to live.
#3 Motivations To Change: Pain & Pleasure
It’s been said that humans are motivated by either PAIN or PLEASURE, for example…
“If I don’t work hard, I cant pay the bills, which means I let my family down and feel like a total failure”
“If I focus on my career, I can earn more money, which means I can look after my family”
You can see that both contain a similar message regarding money, however one is positive the other negative. Both statements have the power to inspire change. The stronger the motivation the more likely the change.
#4 How To Make Permanent Changes
Changing our habits is difficult, we have to take ourselves of autopilot and…
- Develop Awareness: Become aware of the behaviour we want to change
- Take Action: Implement change to get a better result
- Practice: Practice the new behaviour until it becomes automatic
A very basic example may look like this…
- Develop Awareness: We realise we are out of shape and lazy
- Take Action: Decide to go to the gym and exercise more
- Practice: Keep going to the gym until it becomes part of our daily/weekly routine
Now this all looks easy on paper, but the reality of making these changes stick is much harder.
Progress is usually gradual, but with repetition we are able to perform the skill without thinking, and it becomes automatic. The old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ fits well, the more we do something the more it becomes the norm.
In order to create a permanent mindset shift we need to go do deep and become emotionally involved in what we want to change.
Let’s take changing your body as an example, you could write an empowering mission statement to get you motivated (the deeper you go the better!)…
“I’m tired of being the lazy guy who constantly feels tired, and weak. I hate the clothes I wear and the fact that I can’t even kick a ball around the park without getting out of breath. My skin looks bad, and I don’t sleep well. To be blunt…i’ve had enough. I’ve made the choice that I now want to be a fit guy, so I can look and feel more confident in my skin, but most importantly to be a role model to my children. I know they look up to me and I want them to be fit and healthy too. They copy me, and I know I need to lead by example. I have to do it for them just as much as for me.”
Fear of the Unknown..
The reason for change has to be greater than the comfort of staying the same. So many people go through life unhappy, but would prefer to stick to what they know because it’s familiar. As opposed to being brave and treading into unknown territory for a better life.
I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s not. But you have to be willing to do something different to get a better result. Even if you don’t know the exact route to get to your goal, by commiting to improvement you will move closer and the route will become clearer over time. You must find your ‘Why’ – the reasons for why you want to change first, the ‘How’ will come later.
I talk about this a lot but I genuinely believe that the best way to get results is to hire an expert – somebody who’s got what you want. Whether that’s a good body, a great business – find somebody who has the skills to teach you and pay them for their time. Since hiring a performance coach 6 months ago my life has drastically changed for the better and it’s been one of the best decisions i’ve ever made.
I’m also a HUMONGOUS fan of meditation – here’s a recent post I wrote – WHY MEDITATING FOR JUST 10 MINUTES PER DAY CAN DRAMATICALLY BOOST HEALTH & HAPPINESS!
Change doesn’t happen on the outside, it happens on the inside. You have to work on the mind first before the physical changes take place.
Thanks for reading,