Monday, December 22, 2014

Six Mental Prerequisites For Physical Change

Physical fitness starts with mental fitness

If you want to change how you look, you better start with your mental conditioning

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

Irrelevant of the specific changes a person wants to make, there are six key steps that will mentally allow someone to succeed at reaching and maintaining their ideal physical state.

1. Accept that there is no secret conspiracy that wants you to fail

Ask yourself, if you were going to sabotage someone from creating physical change, what would you do? Then ask yourself, how many of these things are you doing to yourself? You are often times your own roadblock and the only thing standing in your way is you. It's hard to see that because of our own biases and our own projections.

It must be my mom or my situation, or it must be something minor -- a lack of understanding about how to exercise and once that's remedied then it'll work itself out. It couldn't be how I think, or an issue with discipline. That would mean my journey is more difficult and longer than I want it to be. I probably can't change myself in two weeks, but I can learn to exercise in two weeks and that's all I need.

Yes that's all you need if all you have to lose is three pounds. Not if you have a large sum of weight to lose and you want to keep it off. It's all relative. Create a winning strategy by thinking of all the ways you could possibly sabotage yourself then do the opposite, anticipate and create countermeasures. Accept that the battle will be with yourself and the part of yourself that wants to sabotage you knows your playbook, now it's time to study the saboteur's playbook.

2. Focus on increments not end goals

I like to use the analogy of a fight. I want to win. I focus on winning. Start of the fight is A, me winning is B. Everything between A and B, I am going to wing it. I will do whatever my emotions tell me to do... and I will lose the fight. That's the problem with fitness, people look at where they are, they look at where they want to be and just make it up as they go and follow their emotions -- try really hard for a bit, get discouraged, beat themselves up, and fail or give up.

If I focus on increments: like circle, get my jab going, make angles, walk my opponent to the ropes, and aim to implement every part of my plan correctly, the rest will take care of itself. I'll be a winning fighter.

When people try to create change; not just physical change but any change, they think about the end and fixate. Imagine you're writing a movie, and you have an underdog, and of course the underdog stories have an inspirational ending. If you focus just on the ending, what invariably happens is, the movie has a terrible middle. It literally has no story. People walk out during the middle of a bad movie and people quit during the middle of their health journey. They never quit at the beginning, or when they're right at the end, it's always in the middle.

Focus on the increments, aim to do each thing correctly and the effect will be physical change. It'll be academic. Get proper sleep, hydrate, exercise, eat properly, be in a positive environment, be consistent, maintain your routines on trips and vacations, monitor your results, track what you're doing, mix cardio and strength, and keep ramping it up.

3. Conditions will never be perfect so don't put things off

In fact conditions will only get worse if you put it off. You'll get busier at work, you'll be more exhausted, have more responsibilities, and get more sick. Anticipate Murphy's Law and start now, adapt as things come up. Trust yourself, you'll figure it out.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

– Chinese Proverb

4. Manage your time

People looking to get fit are motivated, they just don't manage their time in a way that allows for physical changes. Let's be real, the majority of the time it's a scheduling problem. What's the most common thing people say as an excuse for just about anything? I ran out of time, I'm too busy, or some variation.

If time management is the biggest tangible reason for failure, why are we not talking about it? Don't focus on the things that make very little difference. Having time makes a difference. That's why meal prep is so important, you don't want to run out of time every day when making food choices, it gets annoying. Schedule your workouts, get a trainer, make an appointment, have the added risk of losing a session. You'll schedule things around your workouts. The cheaper the membership the more likely the person never shows up. The less accountability, the less likely the person shows up.

If you just go to the gym sporadically and it's not regimented, it's the first thing you'll skip to free up time in your schedule. Make it regimented. You're on vacation, you have an itinerary, did you allot time for exercise? If not, it'll be harder to go back to exercising when you come back because you fell out of the habit of scheduling time for exercise. Maintain your schedule, manage your time, keep things regimented, create accountability, understand it's about habits and it's easy to fall out of habits if you stop doing them.

5. It's all about habits

Be ready to make behavioral changes. You will not be able to make any physical change unless you change yourself first. You aren't where you want to be, because you don't have enough healthy habits and you don't have the personality to maintain those habits.

Change. Not completely, just be a better version of yourself who happens to be healthier. Create a healthier pattern of behavior. Think of it like this -- if I'm a FBI profiler and I profile you, and your profile doesn't fit that of a healthy person, why would you all of a sudden get healthy? Change your profile.

People think it's just going to be about external changes. All the changes are internal, the external will reflect your internal changes. Aim to make internal changes and the effect will be a much healthier body. You aim to make external changes only, and internally you'll become more vapid and shallow, which'll eventually show up externally.

6. Be mentally tough

Don't complain. Keep certain thoughts to yourself. If you keep expectations unrealistically high yet you have no resilience whatsoever, why wouldn't you give up? Your toughness should match if not exceed your expectations. Get rid of the unessential, maintain the meaningful. Keep it simple and add stoicism back into your life.

Constantly ask yourself how did whatever you tried work out for you? Be tough enough to be honest with yourself. If you see that it's not working, change something. People fall in love with the idea that it'll be easy. If it ends up being easy, fantastic. If it doesn't, you'll need grit to see it through.

Prepare yourself.

Source: Must Triumph

My name is Sam Yang. I'm a martial artist, entrepreneur, fitness nerd, information geek, and productivity nut. For more useful information, join my newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.

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