Changing your mental attitude about yourself is going to be the toughest and possibly most important step in your quest for a healthier life and for positive change.
While you can spend years learning about nutrition, macro and micro nutrients, Paleo diets, yoga, strength training, conditioning workouts, stretching and mobility, how to food prep, or even how to order out and not screw up your diet when hanging with your friends; sitting around and comparing yourself to every fitness figure on Instagram and Pinterest, and beating yourself up every time you do something “wrong” is going to lead you nowhere other than a dark place consumed with self-abuse, ridicule, and depression.
“I screwed up again–I’m such a loser.”
“I have no willpower. I should just quit.”
“I’ll never have the body I want.”
“I hate my _______ (fill in the blank).”
Sound like you?
Your attitude is going to be the number one key to your new journey in a life filled with good health. If you can’t control your mindset, you’ll never reach your goals. Know that it’s ok to make mistakes. We all understand this. And we all teach our children, our friends, that when we make mistakes, we learn from them and keep going. Why should your health be any different? It’s ok to make errors. But it’s not ok to consistently verbally abuse yourself, shatter your own self-esteem, and hate your body. It’s not ok to feel like a failure.
By convincing yourself that you are doing your very best at that moment in time and you love who you are in this journey–right where you are–then you are sending positive vibes to your inner conscious. And guess what? Those triggers will start working for you even when you are unaware. It will also be much much easier to reach your goals when your mind is positive and you enjoy who you are.
When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love what you see (whether you do or you don’t), your brain will start to make the connections you need to start appreciating all that you are doing for yourself each and every day to make yourself the best you that you are currently searching for. Whether you believe it or not, start now, telling yourself that you love who you are. Even if you have to pick one body part or characteristic that you love, focus on it and be happy.
“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.” — Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
You might want to quit. But how do you know if the day your life turns around isn’t just right around the corner?
In Richard O’Connor’s book about rewiring the brain, he wrote
“Neuroscientists know now that bad habits have a physical existence in the structure of the brain; they become the default circuits when we are faced with temptation.”
Your brain is like a muscle and you are exercising that muscle daily. And if you consciously tell yourself every day that you love your body, you are strong, you are powerful–anything you want to believe about yourself–sooner or later your inner conscious is going to believe it without you telling it. The power of thought, meditation, personal affirmations, and self-love may be the single best exercises you can do for yourself.
Think about it this way: if you worked on push-ups every single day for a year, do you think you would be better at push-ups 365 days later? How could you not? The brain works the same way. Day one might be tough to love yourself for who you are right now. Day 10 may be even worse because you had a setback on day nine. Day 365? You’ll love yourself in no time.
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Speaking of Setbacks
Richard O’Connor’s book Rewire Your Brain to Break Bad Habits outlined what happened during an experiment on food choice related to the “I screwed up” attitude of dieters.
Two groups of dieters were given a dessert. Group A was given a fruit and yogurt bowl that added up to about 500+ calories. Group B was given a small bowl of ice cream that came to about 250 calories. Both groups were told how many calories were in the bowl.
Guess what happened? Group A, the group who ate the healthier fruit and yogurt bowl, ate less throughout the rest of the day. The group who ate the ice cream said, ‘screw it,’ and ate more the rest of the day AND made worse decisions when it came to what they ate–all because they felt as if they “screwed up” by having ice cream.
If Group B had just continued to make healthy decisions after the ice cream, they wouldn’t have blown their diets. They wouldn’t have had experienced food guilt the next day. They would have stayed the course and continued their progress. But because they had ice cream, even KNOWING they had fewer calories than the fruit and yogurt group, they blew their calorie intake for the whole day! They totally said ‘screw it,’ even though they were technically ahead of the game — all over a little bowl of ice cream!” Read more from my post here: http://strongfigure.com/battle-guilt-with-your-most-powerful-muscle/
How many times have you done this exact same thing in your quest to become healthier? How many times have you thought we actually failed when really you haven’t? And how many times have you given up because you stopped believing in your abilities to succeed?
“We have a plastic brain that changes in response to our experience. It bears repeating: The brain doesn’t tell us what to do; it is part of a system in which our life experience teaches our brain what to do. So you can practice mindfulness, willpower, overcoming procrastination, and other healthy new skills with the confidence that you are changing your brain. Each day’s practice does some good, and if you slip and fall off your diet or exercise program or mindfulness practice, all that you have learned before is not undone; it’s still there in your brain waiting for you to get back in the saddle.” Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits by Dr. Richard O’Connor .