25 Mar 2017
Is change possible?
The good news is that just because you've always had these self-limiting beliefs or bad habits doesn't mean you have to have them forever. One of the biggest misconceptions people often have is that belief is a static, intellectual concept. Nothing can be farther from truth. Beliefs are a choice. We have the power to choose our beliefs. Our beliefs become our reality.
The brain is more than capable of creating new neural pathways and changing its beliefs and old patterns of behaviour. It just takes some effort.
All you need to do is to take steps to notice your bad habits, challenge them and even begin to replace them.
So what does this mean for our fitness goals?
If people have an 'I can't' attitude you are setting themselves up for a fall straight away….I always tell people never to say 'I can't'. I encourage people to believe in themselves and their ability to improve. I would rather people said they dislike or struggle with something as 99% of the time this is usually the case.
In order to change not just our words but our mindset, it is important to learn how to form our thoughts and instructions in our head.
People who are pessimistic and more likely to give up often think things are unachievable or something that they have done and then feel it will never happen so what’s the point. Take this example – ‘I can’t cook so I will be a terrible cook if I tried’. Everyone can cook, you follow instructions and there you go, if you don’t give things a go how do you know that you might actually have a talent and if you put the time and positive attitude towards it you may surprise yourself.
Too often people are not willing to give things a try, so what if you fail at first, the best of us do and giving up is just the easy way out. You get your common style of ‘I can’t’, the personal style of “I will fail’ and the lasting style of “It will never work’.
So in the context of weight loss and dieting fail, a ‘I can’t’ common style attitude would say "there's no point trying to change", a personal one would be "I'm a failure" and finally the lasting style would be "diets never work."
To switch this up you could instead see the opposite. "Change is always possible", "this clean eating diet doesn't suit me, another will" and "this clean eating diet didn't work for me this time, I'll find another that will soon."
The difference between these statements is huge. Accepting failure is a key part of growth mindset.
It also has huge implications when it comes to fitness goals and making self-promoting choices. We are all bound to make mistakes or face minor setbacks but often it's how we deal with them that counts.
When you experience failure it's normal to feel cross, angry, frustrated and emotional.
Let that happen and happen, then reflect and take the opportunity that failure gives you. What can you learn about not achieving your goal?
You can separate the power of emotion from belief. It’s alright to feel annoyed and upset about something that you consider a setback or failure. But resist attaching a belief of "I'm upset because I'm incompetent" or "I'm sad because I'm always a failure."
When we encounter difficulty, we react by thinking about it and our thoughts rapidly mould into beliefs. These beliefs may become so habitual we don't even realise we have them unless we stop and focus on them.
This is just a snapshot into what's going on below the surface when it comes to performance, motivation and self-esteem. Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone learns at a different pace, has different beliefs and different experiences.
Armed with a lot more awareness, you can start to really question whether you are route cause of why you find it hard change your mindset, hitting your goals and committing to training. But although it's invaluable to get more insights into why you might be experiencing these thoughts in your head, the important thing now is to actually take the steps to remove them.
If you set small goals that are achievable and you reach them it starts to become easier and your mind set starts to change.
Take my earlier example of ‘I can’t cook’, I would recommend to someone that tells me this to:- To take a simple recipes, MyFitZone recipes are so simple to make, but that’s not what I am trying to get across here, I am not trying to sell my recipes….the point is try a simple recipes and see how it turns out, if he it is inedible, does it matter, laugh it off and try again.
Same with training, this is an example I have recently had ‘I got tired in the warm up so can’t see what the point is in continuing, I will just disappoint myself and can’t cope with any more failure in my life’. Take a different approach. ‘Wow that warm up was tough, I am going to try and get through the workout but if I struggle and have to give up then that’s ok, I gave it my best shot and I know it will get easier with time and perseverance. My goal for the next month is to get through this warm up and be able to get through the whole workout.’
It is small achievable goals that will not only give you the satisfaction of achieving something but also the confidence and the ‘I can’ attitude.