Often times during a journey we tend to focus on how much of it is left.
Think of a long road trip with kids constantly asking “Are we there yet?”
Think of running a race and wondering how many miles are left to complete.
Think of paying down your car loan and checking each month to see how much of the balance is left.
We always focus on what we have left to do. How much more time until _____. How much more money until _____. How much more effort until ____. How many years are left until _______.
It’s no different with health and fitness. We are constantly wondering how many calories we have left to eat today or how many reps until we get to be done with the set. We wonder how many pounds we have left to lose.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this thinking. In fact, it’s probably some built-in human mechanism. You know, kind of like the flight or fight response. Our brains are wired to scan the horizon for vicious sabre toothed tigers or sabre toothed kangaroos (this is a real thing: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-395360/The-killer-kangaroos-roamed-prehistoric-Australia.html) on the hunt.
I guess the thing I want to talk about is what we so often forget… our journey so far. In other words, how we got here.
Specifically, the small wins and successes that we accomplished that rarely get noticed let alone celebrated.
I often see this when a client has a set goal. For example, I’m thinking of a particular client that had a 50 pound weight loss goal. After her first 10 days or so she had lost 5 pounds of fat, but she couldn’t see this success.
She only saw that she had 45 pounds left to lose.
She could only see what was left of the journey and not what she had already accomplished. But if we stop for just a moment and think about this… this woman had done the hard work and had lost 5 pounds of fat.
She accomplished this.
She got a little teary and said “I didn’t really think of this as a success. I only see that I have a lot of pounds left to lose.”
I then told her that our brains are wired to forego unsuccessful ventures. Success is a mindset. In this case, success or failure is strictly a matter of perception.
When we make a conscious choice to label something as a success it then registers in our subconscious as being worth the effort.
And when your brain truly believes that what you are doing is worth the effort, success in that endeavor is inevitable!
Then, working out, eating right, sleeping enough, managing stress, and all other healthy efforts are treated as necessities, instead of something you are “trying out”.
Then your brain will crave all of this naturally and easily, not much different from the way we are rewarded for eating and sex.
The only difference is where you place the value of the fitness experience…
Think about it. In most cases, when you have chocolate or sex, your intention is just to enjoy the process. It’s not necessarily to “release more serotonin and oxytocin”. Sure these are byproducts of these activities, but not the sole purpose.
You have chocolate or sex because you simply enjoy the experiences. Just imagine if you could train yourself to view exercise similarly.
This is one thing I wish I could change about my industry. I wish the successes were noticed more so than they are. As I’m sure you’d agree, it’s much easier to put on 5 pounds than lose 5 pounds. And it’s way easier to give in to the hopeless or hope-light thought of “I can’t do this” that accompanies the 5 lb. gain.
Here’s something I want you to take away from this post: If you want to train your body and waistline, you must train your brain too! This comes down to making thousands of little decisions to focus on growth and positivity.
You can’t just up and decide “I’m going to be more positive about this stuff” and be done with it….
Just as your work isn’t done when you decide to exercise and eat healthier one day because your beach trip is coming up in two months. There are thousands of little decisions that will all add up.
Here’s your test. Read the above again (about the thousands of decisions) and just watch your thoughts. The polarized responses would be 1. Since there are thousands of decisions, messing up a few times is not going to hurt me that much! Woohoo! or 2. Thousands of decisions sounds like a lot of pressure.
There will be days when your cynical side will surface throughout this journey. And that is OK. There is nothing wrong with you. We’re all human and have that voice for a reason.
Which is why it is crucial for you to have good influences.
Sometimes having someone there to remind you of just how much work you’ve done, or just how much you accomplished is so important during the journey.
If we’re constantly missing the successes, it makes the journey long, hard, and truth be told… kind of boring. No wonder people quit their health and fitness routine after a week or two.
There’s no joy in constantly feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything significant.
So the next time you find yourself lamenting on just how much is left until you reach your goals, I want you to think of how far you’ve already come and celebrate those milestones.
Relax. You’ve got this.
If you live in Sherman Oaks, Studio City, North Hollywood, Encino, or Valley Village and need someone rooting for you, coaching you, and giving you exact advice, fill out the form right here on this page for an enlightening consultation and free week of training at Fuel Rx Fitness. We promise you will feel right at home with us.
We will welcome you with open arms. Seriously, I want to help you help you.