How To Use Your Brain And Habits To Reach Your Fitness Goals

The fact is making a voluntary, self-driven, conscious change to improve any area of life often leads to procrastination, fear, hesitancy, and self-doubt. We all get affected in many areas of our life to varying degrees. Want to know why?

Its because there is no big reason WHY we should do it. There’s no one standing there with a gun to your head to do it.

However you have that big goal or that big dream, and you know what you have to do or what you have to give up to get there. Yet we still don’t do it; or we say we’ll do it next time or we have no time – these are excuses that keep us from facing reality.

We avoid because we may feel overwhelmed, or unmotivated, or don’t belive we can actually make it happen.

With the understanding on how your brain likes to function, we can change this into reality.

When aiming for a goal, the first thing is to focus on what you stand to gain and not what you could lose. Move away from survival mode (avoiding pain) and head towards thriving (move towards pleasure).

This is the reason your why has to be so powerful. The shift from doing something because you have to, to doing something because you want to is where the majority of us get caught.

It requires a change by making decisions not based on fear, but decisions based on desire.

The majority of us live average lives – not indecent, but unspectacular. This applies to not only health but careers, relationships, wealth, personal development etc. The 1%ers in any of these fields make decisions based on going the extra mile and they don’t let their fear guide them, rather their desire to be EXTRA and taking action towards that.

Your mind should be focused on the upsides and not the downsides to doing anything. Focus on what could go well eg I will learn to get out of my comfort zone, I could get stronger, I could lose weight, I could learn to persevere etc.

Taking health goals for example – initially you may have objectives such as – I want to look good, I want abs or I want to wear that bikini. Eventually the goal becomes higher and more ambitious – I want to be strong, I want to be a yogi, I want to be an expert.

Ask yourself these questions about your health goal:

1 Why would I do this? – This is your big WHY

2. What is the best case scenario from this/what could I gain if i succeeded? Eg Lose weight, look good, more energy, be strong, wear bikini etc

3. What do I have to lose if I didn’t do this? Eg If I didn’t exercise, or have that water instead of Fanta – I will feel defeated by myself, I will be back into comfort zone, I wont wear that bikini, I wont have xyz.

Having these reasons established, we can choose to take the right actions. We may do it for 1 day or 1 week or even 1 month, however eventually, what our routine becomes is as a result of our small daily habits. This is the reason we tend to fall back into old patterns:

We are stuck on a hypnotic rhythm – which is a habit that is so ingrained you don’t even see it. It’s automatic to do. This is why you take 1 step forward 2 steps back – the action is such a deeply ingrained habit.

What is the solution to these habits? Bring conciousness into what you do – be aware of what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, how it makes you feel and when you eat.

Because when you now have your action in the forefront of your mind, you are in the power to change it. This helps for when we are aware however, sooner or later we fall back into habits and then it’s the habits themselves to tackle.

And how we overcome a habit is by understanding how a habit is formed:

TRIGGER ACTION REWARD – the model for any habit. Eg trigger: night time before bed; action: have some snacks from the pantry; reward: tastes gooooooooooood.

When we realise our habits are in autopilot, we can take active measure to make these changes. For example, you want to give up night time snacking: you must now replace the action with a positive one. So now instead of having a snack, you will have some tea. The reward will not be the same, so it may feel like it’s less enjoyable and it is tempting to revert. And then here is the key to replacing bad actions with good ones:

Reward your actions, NOT your results.

For example, if you go to the gym in the morning instead of pressing snooze, that is a positive replaced action. Be proud when you take the ACTION, not when you feel good (eg lazying around relaxing) or only when you have lost 5kg. It’s usually those “feel good” actions that get us to where are are, which is usually not where we want to be. And those outcome-based results can take weeks to see.

If you keep up with the right actions, reward them, you will find results come as a consequence and are an indicator that the actions are right. Give yourself a mental pat on the back, eg went to gym? Pat on the back. Drank 6 glasses of water today? Pat on the back.

Eventually the results will come, due to accumulation of the right actions. So take the right actions and be happy you you did them – give yourself mental pats on back, watch TV, get that new workout gear etc.

Hence be aware of the “negative” of taking these steps – yes it is tiring to wake up early, or water is bland, saying no to a second slice of cake is tough, or exercising can be painful. However shift your focus on what you stand to gain from these acts and the positive outcomes.

Habits take 40days to get wired in so you need to keep at it for a while until it becomes more like second nature to you. And it’s an investment worth making.

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