Most people are under the belief that they’re not disciplined enough when it comes to their health and fitness. In fact, you have great discipline. You are 100% disciplined in your current beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.
Whatever healthy or unhealthy habits you have right now, you’re executing them with perfect discipline. You’ve developed these habits over time and made them a part of you. It’s, of course, possible to reverse any of those bad habits you’ve developed, but you have to make yourself aware of them before anything else. Beyond that, you have to be aware that reversing these negative habits and attitudes is going to take time; it’s taken years to become who you are today. You can’t just undo that in a few days or weeks.
This isn’t meant to be a pursuit of perfection. You’re going to have a lot of set backs, slip ups and complete disasters. But if you’re going to make any progress in the first place you have to be aware of what’s limiting you right now. Ingrained bad habits and false beliefs are the biggest barriers that most people struggle with when it comes to their fitness and health. Bad attitudes and false beliefs prevent action as well as sabotage any efforts that you do make.
So, how do you know if you have mental or emotional barriers to physical change?
Well, just look to yourself: are you overweight? Are you suffering from weight related health issues? Do you feel frail or weak? Do you lack energy and vitality? Is the day a struggle to get through? Do you hate the way you look?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask yourself this: How long have you lived with this condition(s)? If it’s longer than a few months, then you probably have some sort of negative attitude that is acting like an emotional mental block and holding you back. Solutions to your problem exist; you’ve either not looked for them, or found those solutions but haven’t implemented them.
If your problems have been with you for a long time, they’re probably big problems and your mental and emotional barriers to those problems are probably also big.
Knowing that you have a problem is also different from truly understanding and accepting that you have a problem. Someone that knows they’re overweight might start working out, but they’ll never seem to lose any weight. Accepting that there are deeper issues is the first real step to making progress. Failure to adequately address a negative attitude, a bad habit, or a false belief is a huge reason why many people fail over and over again.
I see it all the time: people will work their butts off in the gym, but a few months later, they don’t have much, if anything, to show for it. Subconsciously, they will constantly sabotage themselves because they’re unaware that they’re doing it to themselves and then, sadly, they’ll rationalize it away “Oh I was meant to be this way.” Real change cannot happen until you really examine yourself, admit there’s an issue and decide to move forward.
One of my biggest roles as a trainer is helping people identify those limiting beliefs and helping them change their attitudes and habits. Beyond writing programs and ensuring your form is good while you exercise, I have to provide leadership and direction while you work towards your goals. I can’t do any of that with a client that’s not onboard with me mentally and emotionally; No matter how bad I might want you to succeed, all the exercise in the world can’t help if you don’t believe you can succeed. Nothing is as self-destructive as low expectations and poor belief in yourself.
Your future is not your past or your present. You always have the choice to change your trajectory; you decide how your path is going to go and you can decide that your path leads to greener pastures with a healthy and fit body.
Getting people to make that decision is never an easy thing. People always place artificial limitations on their ability simply because they lack experience. I see it all the time when meeting clients for the first time,
“Well, what are you looking for?”
“Oh, you know, lose a couple pounds and tone up a bit.”
10 minutes later or even weeks or months later, “tone up a bit” turns into
“Well, I really need to lose like 40 pounds because I have high blood pressure and my cholesterol is through the roof.”
But when they first came in, they “just wanted to lose a few pounds.” They didn’t (and probably still don’t) think they can actually lose those 40lbs, let alone be happy with the person looking back at them from the mirror. The best they hope for, right now at least, is to lose a few pounds rather than shooting for the big goal, because they think it’s too big or unachievable.
I’ve had plenty of clients that had a laundry list of why they couldn’t exercise: osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, lack of experience and tons of others. The ones that had the most success didn’t let any of those things hold them back.
There’s always the risk of the easy way out. Especially as we age, the mind and body want to do less. When we do do less, we speed up the rate of physical decline. It’s a vicious cycle. The less we feel like doing, the less we ask of ourselves, and the less we ask of ourselves the faster our body deteriorates.
Fear is the single biggest emotional barrier that prevents progress. Fear is okay. Fear is natural. Courage is the willingness to act in spite of the fear.
Every time you take action in spite of the fear you learn a new capability (You wouldn’t be afraid if it wasn’t something new – right?)
Every time you learn a new capability you gain the confidence to take another step toward meeting your goal.
So today, make a commitment to yourself to move in the right direction.