By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer
You’ve probably heard this off and on throughout your life: You can convince yourself of almost anything. If you haven’t heard it phrased that way, you may have – at the very least – heard this quote before:
If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it. – Jesse Jackson
As I’ve mentioned in previous Tip Me Tuesday articles, the two most common struggles I hear that prevent people from achieving their fitness goals are:
1. Nutrition – particularly giving in to temptation and/or reverting back to old (poor) eating habits
2. Lack Of Motivation – or, more specifically, allowing lack of motivation to prevent you from sticking to your fitness program
We want to get fit, or if we are fit, we want to get even fitter. And we know what we need to do to get more fit. But there’s always a BUT, right?
WHY CAN’T YOU GET THERE?
How do we go from thinking about something we want and having the tools to get that something, to actually getting there.
For most of us on this website, the something we want is a physical transformation. And the tools we have at our disposal to achieve it are exercises and nutrition advice from this website or one of Nicole’s challenges, or a fitness coach or trainer we’ve hired to tell us what we need to do – or all of the above.
So we know that what we want is to improve our physique, and we have everything in our fitness program toolbox to work toward getting what we want.
So what’s the problem?
If we have those two things, why do we still find ourselves stuck or sometimes feel like we’re not getting anywhere, or like we have just completely self-sabotaged everything we’ve worked for?
I TRICKED ME!
While you may have all the “tools of the trade,”, if you don’t know any “tricks of the trade,” the tools could be completely useless.
You have to learn how to trick yourself.
I learned at a young age that I didn’t want to live my life struggling to avoid unhealthy foods in exchange for choking down healthy foods. I couldn’t imagine wanting to eat (said food) but having to eat (said food) for the rest of my life.
I thought to myself “If I could learn to enjoy the taste of unhealthy foods, why couldn’t I trick myself into learning how to enjoy healthier, more nutrient rich foods.”
If I didn’t actually enjoy eating unhealthy foods – gummy worms, Rice Krispy Treats, decadent coffees, pizza and fries, etc. – if I could somehow switch my enjoyment for those foods to healthy foods instead, then I wouldn’t have to spend my whole life wanting things I couldn’t have. Well, I could have those foods, but I wanted a healthy, fit body more than I wanted those foods.
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
I would trick myself into thinking I actually liked and would even prefer a side of broccoli instead of mac-n-cheese. I would, in my mind, convince myself that rice cakes were actually good (even if at the time I didn’t think they were).
I often hear comments around my birthday like “Go enjoy some cake for once,” or “indulge a little, have a donut once in a while, you’ve earned it!” after a race or long run.
I used to try and explain to people that I genuinely don’t enjoy those kinds of things. I am not depriving myself if I don’t eat something that I actually don’t want to eat. THIS is one of the greatest tricks of the trade to living a healthy lifestyle.
It’s not deprivation if you don’t actually want it. You are no longer torturing yourself if you learn to get the same enjoyment from healthy, nourishing foods and, at some level, enjoy exercise.
Here’s four steps you can take to convince yourself of anything and begin to reprogram your thinking over time to minimize your health and fitness struggles:
1. Get Real
You HAVE to be honest with yourself about what your issues are. By issues I mean whatever obstacles are preventing you from achieving your goals. You can’t overcome issues if you aren’t specific about what those issues are. You can’t change what you need to change unless you face what it is you need to change. You have to be 100% real. Maybe have a few coming to Jesus moments with yourself, shed a few tears, get mad, whatever you need to do to stop fooling yourself into whatever it is that has you stuck. Because I guarantee that if you are stuck in a plateau physically, you won’t get out of it until you pry yourself out of your mental plateau first.
2. Ask The Hard Questions
Do you really want this? Are you truly willing to make some hard changes in order to reach your goals? Unless you are ready to make some hard and maybe even uncomfortable changes, you will always eventually revert back to old habits and no amount of trickery will force you to change how you view exercise and nutrition.
3. YOU Are Not Your Struggles
Emotionally unattatch yourself from what it is you’re struggling with. YOU are not you struggle. If every Friday for the last five years you treated yourself to a Venti Triple Mocha Latte from Starbucks, but you’re really trying to kick sugar cravings, the Venti Mocha’s gotta go. But somehow you’ve attached your own identity to the ritual of your Friday coffee treat. Guess what? You will still be you even if yu never go to Starbucks again (gasp!). What are you so attached to that is preventing you from progressing beyond where you are, but you have a hard time separating yourself from it? Could it be alcohol? Some other tradition or ritual that you are attached to but could be hindering your progress? This ties in to the first point of having a coming to Jesus moment with your struggles and getting to the “hard stuff.”
4. Saturate Your Life With What You Want
I know you’ve heard the saying “Birds of a feather flock together” before. I heard it growing up and it has been reinforced over and over throughout my adult life. I know this isn’t always possible, but try to surround yourself with people you admire, respect and who have achieved what you’d like to achieve. This is why I started working in a gym in my 20s. If I was surrounded by people who lift weights and are super fit, maybe I could learn more about lifting weights so I could be super fit too (another trick of the trade)! Taking it even a step further, what is in your house, your office or on your bookshelf? Is your environment conducive to your goals? I’m not saying you have to have only health and fitness books on your bookshelf, or have exercise equipment all over your house or pictures of inspirational fitness models in your office, but it doesn’t hurt to have little reminders in various areas of your life that – consciously or subconsciously – help you keep your goals in mind. After all, out of sight, out of mind, right?
As Nicole recently said in a post: “You get what you focus on, so focus on what you want.” Great advice for all of us to follow!
Tip Me Tuesday: Rev Up Your Metabolism
Tip Me Tuesday: Take A Breather
Tip Me Tuesday: Fit Mind = Fit Body
Tip Me Tuesday: Find Your Fit
Tip Me Tuesday: Be A Goal Getter
Tip Me Tuesday: Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Tip Me Tuesday: The Process of Progress
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.