Well, here we are again – New Year’s resolutions time! It’s that time when we resolve to do all the things we know we should do in order to live the better life we imagine for ourselves. And for most of us, those resolutions last all of ten minutes! Then we’re back doing the same old things that have brought us to a life that we’re less than happy with. And as the old saying goes: If you want things in your life to change, you have to change things in your life.
This is true for all areas of our life, but specifically we’re going to look at health and fitness in this piece. Most of us aren’t exactly where we want to be in terms of our health and fitness level. We want to be healthier, more trim and toned than we are at the moment.
We start off with the best of intentions. We decide that once and for all: We’ll eat more healthily, we’ll go to the gym and do all the things we know we need to do in order to get fit and healthy this year. So we do that stuff for a while, and then we stop.
What usually happens is that we reach a point where the temptation to eat or drink what we know we shouldn’t becomes too strong. We succumb to the bad weather blues when it comes to going out for a run, or we stay in bed for that extra hour instead of getting up and going to the gym for the workout that we committed to a few weeks ago. Then we gradually slip back into our old patterns of too little exercise and too much of the wrong kinds of food.
So how can we avoid slipping back like this and keep our new healthy eating and fitness regime going?
How Can We Do This?
Well, it helps to understand that the “how” is not the problem. We know what to do, and we know how to do it. It’s not rocket science! We know that we need to give up drinking soft drinks, eating chocolate bars, cakes, cookies, etc., etc. We know that we need to get our bodies moving in order to get oxygen into our bloodstream, get our hearts pumping and burn off some calories. We know that we need to exercise those muscles in order to make them stronger. We know all this stuff. Knowing is not the issue. The real issue is how do we keep ourselves doing what we know?
How do we stay motivated when that piece of chocolate cake is put in front of us, when it’s pouring rain and we need to go out for a run?
Personal development author and speaker Brian Tracy once said, “You become what you think about most of the time.” This simple statement contains a massive key that will help you achieve your fitness goals. And the key is what’s going on in between your ears.
What kind of thoughts are floating around in your head? What are you focused on? If you’re not focused on anything in particular as you go about your life, you will not achieve anything in particular.
Get Focused and Stay Focused
Step one in this process is getting your mind sharply, hyper focused on what you want. What weight do you want to be? What level of fitness do you want to have? How far would you like to be able to run? How toned do you want to be? What will you look like when you’ve achieved your goal? What kind of clothes do you want to be wearing? What will you do to maintain your optimum level of fitness and health once you’ve achieved it?
Write the answers to these questions down. This will get your mind focused. Now that you’ve got it focused, you need to keep it focused because an intense focus for too brief a period will achieve nothing.
Keep your mind focused on your goal by placing things that will remind you of your goal in the areas where you live and work. Here are a few suggestions: Get a picture of the body you want and photoshop your head onto it and put it up on your fridge, put it in your wallet or purse, stick it up on the wall by your bed, put it on your computer screen, your smart phone, etc. In other words, it needs to be in your conscious awareness throughout the day. Set random alarms in your phone with affirmations related to your goal, such as, “It is June 15th, 2016, and I now weigh 175 lbs”. Ask a friend who you see every day to help keep you on track by asking how you’re getting on with your goal. When you’re stirring your tea or coffee, repeat to yourself, “I am achieving my ideal weight and level of fitness”. Change a password that you need to type often to “Iamfitandhealthy2016”. Write your goal down, keep it on your bedside table and read it to yourself several times when you get up in the morning and just before you go to bed every night. Feel free to get creative and make up your own ways to keep your mind focused. But it’s essential that you do several things that will keep your mind focused throughout the day, every day. If you lose focus, you will quickly lose sight of your goal.
Take Professional Advice
Now you’ve already decided what you want. You want to achieve a specific weight and level of fitness, and you’ve got clear on exactly what that is for you. Consult a health professional on the safest way to achieve this for you. Be intelligent. If you weigh 400 lbs. and your goal is to weigh 185, you need to understand that this will not be done quickly, and there will be many exercises that will be out of the question for you as you start off. Decide on a suitable time frame in which to achieve your goal. I am not a health professional and I do not know you, so I cannot advise you on the specifics of this.
The Really Important Bit
Once you’ve decided on what you want to achieve and come up with a plan and several ways to keep your mind focused on the achievement of your goal, we get to the most crucial part of achieving your goal. If you don’t spend some time figuring this part out, you’ll give in when presented with that chocolate cake, and you’ll sleep in late in favor of going to the gym.
You need to know why you want to achieve the goal. And if you know why, not merely on an intellectual level, but really feel why you want to achieve this goal, knowing this will keep you going when you’re tempted to throw in the towel.
Why do you want to achieve a certain weight? Think about it. Write your answer down. You might write down something like:
Because I’ll be able to fit into some clothes I haven’t worn in years.
Because I’ll look great.
Because everyone will see how fantastic I look.
Because it’ll give me an excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe!
Because I’ll have more energy and I’ll feel better.
Now ask yourself this:
Why is it important that I fit into those clothes I haven’t worn in years?
Why is it important to me that I look great?
Why is it important that everyone see how fantastic I look?
Why is it important for me to be able to buy a whole new wardrobe?
Why is it important that I have more energy and feel better?
These are just examples. It’s important that you write down as much as you can come up with for the first set of reasons and then write down why each of those reasons is important to you. Do not use the examples I’ve used here unless they are truly important to you. This needs to come from you because it will only work with your own motivational triggers.
Usually when you’ve gone through this process you will come up with a core feeling that you want to feel, i.e., “This is important to me because I want to be happy, because I want to feel good.”
Get Into the Feeling
After you have gone through the process of answering these questions and addressing the reasons and gotten to the core feelings that you want to feel, you need to allow yourself to really feel those feelings as you focus your mind throughout the day on your goal. Because it’s these feelings that you’re really after. It’s not the physical manifestations of a better looking body or new wardrobe – it’s how those things will make you feel. You have to feel now as you will feel when you’ve achieved the physical manifestations.
So allow yourself to feel as happy as you’ll feel if you weighed whatever weight you want to achieve. How will it feel? Think about how you’ll look, how others will see you, how it’ll feel to fit into those jeans. Really feel it! This deep feeling is the “why” that will keep you motivated in the tough times.
So to recap, you need to decide exactly what you want, develop a vision of that goal achieved and keep your mind keenly focused on it throughout the day, every day and as you do this, really feel the feeling of the goal achieved. Keep the focus and the feeling strong enough for long enough and you’ll be there!
Dante Petrilla has been studying the success literature for the past decade and used the techniques and skills he learned to turn his own life completely around. He transformed himself from a depressed person to a happy person once he learned to direct the focus of his thoughts and emotions. Dante is also a writer who enjoys writing in the personal development area.
Dante is an AUNLP certified life coach and NLP Practitioner, member of the American University of NLP, and also a Global Sciences Foundation member. He is currently studying to become an NLP trainer.
He is also the author of Debt Freedom, Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life, and How to Lose Weight Fast, all of which are available on Amazon.