Your head is stopping you from getting into great shape. I guarantee it.
The only way to accomplish your goals is to learn how to cooperate with YOURSELF!
W. Timothy Gallwey wrote a fascinating book in the 70's about how to play ““yoga tennis. "” (The Inner Game of Tennis) No, this is not a creative way to use the ““Downward Dog" position to strengthen your serve and volley game, it is a way to view the game and the inner chatter a player experiences on the court while he battles an opponent-or in Gallwey'’s view-themselves. Though Gallwey moves through different aspects of the game of tennis like strokes, form and how to win, his words beg to be interpreted into everyday lifestyle.
Gallwey speaks of two “minds"”, the conscious self (Self 1) and the unconscious self (Self 2). Self 1 always tends to be hard on Self 2. “You are doing it all wrong, "” the conscious Self 1 might say. Or “Your push-up form looks worse than your grandmother's!"
Can you think of a time when you've had this type of self-talk?
I think many more of us encounter this EVERY DAY!
Ask yourself this:
Is your mind-chatter making you second-guess your success?
A personal training client I had used to stare blankly between sets of exercises. It was a deep and intense stare into space.
After seeing this happen during the first few sessions I worked with him, I asked him what he was thinking about during one of his tune-outs. He told me he was thinking about work, something that I later learned to find out that he was always thinking about. His thoughts must have been almost violent, for him to tune out so often and so deeply.
Do you think he had the most focused and effective workout when his mind was somewhere else? Not a chance.
The trick to conquering your mind and reaching your goals is to let the two selves function in harmony, which requires you to stay present at all times during your workouts and hopefully beyond!
Here are some ways to get it together and start achieving your fitness goals and not just sit around and think about them.
Stop Judging Yourself Against Others and Yourself
When you are exercising or meditating or doing anything, let yourself do the activity with little concern about how you are doing it or if you are doing it correctly. When you practice less judgment you will find you are not so hard on yourself anymore and that you are reaching your goals quicker and you will have more finishes than unsuccessful tries.
If you find yourself judging, address Self 1 and Self 2 and say: “Let's be gentle on ourselves and let's work together. "”
Stop Allowing the Inner Chatter
When you are exercising, make sure that you are only doing the exercises. If you find yourself wandering to the future and about a meeting you have after lunch or that the cats need to be fed, gently bring your thoughts back to where you are. This is a peaceful practice. Tell yourself, ““Come back to now. "”
When you practice less thinking, you will find you have much more peace and quiet. You will certainly find you have less stress, because you are dealing with things now when you are supposed to deal with them-the times you are NOT exercising!
Stop Figuring Things Out, Calculating or Thinking into the Future
If you calculate, you are not thinking in the moment. You are thinking slightly in the future. Since we are speaking of tennis in this chapter, I can tell you that I've had many potential great shots hit the bottom of the net because I've calculated where they were going to go, before my opponent'’s ball even hit the court on my side.
When you stop calculating, you will be present and you will focus more on what you are doing instead of any strategy. In terms of your workouts, you will need to stop planning ahead-stop thinking about how many reps you have left, and how long you will wait to do the next set. This is strategizing and calculating. A part of me would almost like you to not even count reps, because it will stop you from thinking about finishing and interfering with your actions.
The other side of me is very aware that number of reps are a great measure of success and progress, so for now still keep track until I can find a better way.
Stop Worrying. . . About EVERYTHING!
When you are worrying, your mind is very far away from the present. If you are worrying about your progress through this program, tell yourself that you are doing wonderfully, you are doing a great things and you are on your way to accomplishing all you'’ve set out to do.
If you doubt yourself, you will struggle and this will be miserable. I am sure that if you were doing this to be miserable, you would have found some workout program that promises unattainable goals and 5-second workouts. You are doing this to do something remarkable for your life and the people around you. Smile, relax and stop worrying. You've already made it this far!
Fear and worry are similar. Generally what you worry about is the fear of something. You need to stop letting fear get in your way of your successes. The more you fear failure, the less you will accomplish in terms of your fitness. When you find yourself in a difficult time and you know you are fearful, tell yourself this gently: “I will not let fear control my decisions. I will succeed!"”
Stop Hoping and Trying. Start Doing.
The words ““hope"” and “try"” are non-committal words. When you hope, you are not doing anything, you are just thinking about being positive. There is a difference between ““thinking about being positive"” and being positive. If you hope that you will lose weight, you are not taking any definitive action, you are just thinking about taking a definitive action. Instead of hoping, actively make a difference by taking action.
Instead of hoping you will lose weight, tell yourself you will lose weight and then take an action that supports losing weight. Make a commitment to the action and you will lose weight.
To ““try"” is the same thing. Trying is a non-commitment to an action. When you say that you'’ll ““try to workout tomorrow, "” you are setting yourself up to miss working out tomorrow. You never make a solid commitment and your mind and body act accordingly. They will take minimal action to make you a success.
Great athletes and people who are in the shape do not hope or try. Many of them have eliminated these words from their vocabulary. Imagine Michael Jordan, in an interview before the NBA Finals, saying, “Well, Bob, I hope we can win this series. I know I'm going to try to make some baskets and try to help the team win four out of seven. " No! He's going to say, “We're ready for whatever they throw at us. This is the goal we set at the beginning of the season. We'’re prepared to give our all and we are prepared to win!"
So when you think of trying to do something, think of Michael Jordan or any other professional athlete saying that he or she is trying or hoping that they will succeed. You'll probably give yourself a good laugh and get back to accomplishing your fitness goals!
Regretting is a sign that you are in the past. Not the present. You are aware of only what has been. If you are regretting past workout failures, you are setting the blueprint for just another unsuccessful attempt. If you are regretting that you missed a workout the other day, you are bringing your energy down just enough to miss another one because you are feeling bad about yourself. People who succeed and are fit and have wonderful health, do not regret what mistakes they'’ve made. They build on them and come back stronger. Lance Armstrong is all I have to say to prove this point.
When you try to control your success you are setting yourself up for disaster. (Notice the use of “trying" here. ) I think all “Diets" are people trying to control their eating habits. When you are dieting all you do is cut down on what you eat and control your urges and are generally unsuccessful. Did you ever notice that there are some people that are always on diets? You may even be one of them.
When you start a diet, you set out each time to control the amount of food you eat and generally each time it is unsuccessful. Those who succeed when they diet have done more than control their food intake, they'’ve created enough action and motion towards a goal that they do whatever it takes to lose the weight. They make the commitment that this is for the long run and that they'’ve set a goal to complete it and it means something.
You can never accomplish something by just controlling it. Athletes do not control the outcome of a game, they do their best and if their teammates are doing the same, generally the team wins!
All these examples are distractions! If you can work on eliminating these actions that interfere with your fitness successes, then you will be healthy, have more energy, and be able to set new goals that you are confident you will be able to accomplish!
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Founder, Kevin Gianni, is a personal trainer on a mission to de-mystify the fitness and health industry and show you just how easy it is to be in great shape. His newsletter has been featured in Today's Diet and Nutrition and My Family Doctor Magazines.
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