“I’ll have a sparkling water, please.”
It has been a long week filled with deadlines, meetings and presentations. It is 5:30pm on a sunny Friday evening. “What a welcome to the weekend!” everyone is thinking.
Terry, an office worker (whom you often see queuing up for a large coke and popcorn at the cinemas) has just arrived in the beer garden and is about to order 2 pints of cider. There is a two-for-one offer from 5pm to 7pm and he is hoping to get as many in as possible. Not far behind in the line, is Terry’s colleague Jake. Jake, a well built athletic 40 something (who loves Saturday morning runs) is ordering 2 sparkling waters with a squeeze of lemon.
So what prompts people like Terry and Jake to make the choices that they do? What prompts us to make decisions that help or hinder us? Why do we sometimes feel like we are making progress one moment and the next, it seems like a slippery slope?
“Why can’t I seem to get a six pack/toned tummy no matter how many times I go to the gym?”
“Why can’t I stick to eating well?”
It all comes down to what you value in your life. What means most to you and how much you are willing to do to fulfil this value.
Values steer us to a specific direction on where we want to be, how we would like to be and why it is important to us.
Someone once said to me “Gym goers are wasting their lives away, they aren’t living!”. The argument was that the gym junkie’s life revolves around the gym. They can’t head out on a Friday night and go on an alcoholic binge. They can’t eat anything they want. They need to set their alarms at 5am on weekday mornings to go to the gym.
But to label this as time wasted really depends on perspective.
The gym fanatic might value looking lean/toned. They might value feeling strong, healthy and confident in their appearance. This same gym fanatic will see the value in investing $30 in a bottle of fish oils, rather than a $30 bottle of wine. They might value waking up feeling fresh on a Saturday morning and going for run.
Values are integral part of how we perceive the world; they are the internal compass that guides us to make conscious decisions, decisions to whether something does or doesn’t suit us. Values influence the way we speak, our behaviours and also our social circle.
Values are what separate the office worker running on the treadmill from the fitness model standing on stage (who also happens to work behind the desk).
Define what you value.
If you want to be committed to a positive change in your health and fitness goals, a great way to start is to identify specifically what you value, what you specifically want and why you want it.
STEP 1 – Ask the right questions.
“What specifically do I want?”,”Why do I want it?” etc.
STEP 2 – Visualise it and own it.
Believe without a shadow of doubt that achieving this is possible. Start visualising that you have already achieved it. Think of this experience as creating your own movie/picture in your mind. Be in the moment and know deep inside that you will get there.
STEP 3 – Focus on what you want rather then what you don’t want.
The mind does not recognise negations. Negations such as don’t, won’t, can’t, not etc. For example, consider the statement ‘I don’t want to be fat’. The mind disregards ‘don’t’ and only focuses on the subject. The mind interprets it as ‘I want to be fat’.
Start choosing empowering statements of possibility rather than lack.
“I am getting stronger with each repetition”, “I am losing that weight” etc.
Be kind to yourself. Be positive!
Many people stare at their own reflection and only see their flaws, they see the weight they are not losing (especially in the areas that they want to lose most). Try focussing on the other areas of your body and notice the changes that are happening. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a pat on the back for each step forward.
What if exercising meant that you were going to be cured from heart disease? What if eating unprocessed and organic food was going to prolong your life if you had cancer? What if being positive living healthily was going to prevent you from having depression? How would you then act? What would you start doing differently?
When you value your health and specifically state what you want, then other factors such as being lean/toned, having more strength and energy, fitting into clothes perfectly and being confident in the way you look, just become by products of the journey.