It’s a Trying Shame

high-five.jpgI hear this little inconspicuous word all the time with clients; I will try and do my 4 sessions this week or I will try not to eat 4 bars of chocolate a day! So what’s wrong with this little word? Well there are two reasons why you should consider banishing it from your vocabulary right now if you are looking to lose weight or get fitter. Firstly the definition of trying is “annoying or hard to endure”, now that doesn’t seem too appealing to me ? If I have something annoying that is going to be hard to endure, guess what I’m probably going to do everything other than that thing! How about replace the word ‘try’ with ‘will’, for example I will exercise 4 times this week. Does that make a difference?

Secondly the act of trying is actually strangely difficult. If you have a pen handy why don’t you TRY and pick it up? Trying is kind of this in between procrastinating state of neither doing or not doing something. Surely it would be much more simpler to either pick the pen up or leave it!!

There you go then, lose the ‘Try’ and replace with ‘Will’ and see how much more motivated you will become.

Anchor those good feelings

So New Year and potentially a whole new set of goals and targets for the year ahead? Have you ever considered what state you need to be in in order to achieve those goals? Do you need confidence, energy, inspiration, focus, determination or calm? Well whatever it is the way you have been conditioned you probably have never thought of these as immediately attainable but rather something that you should earn or pursue, i.e. Happiness? The problem here is that as long as you are pursuing it you haven’t got it!! So why not have the good feelings now?

The feelings that you will get when you have achieved your goals you can have now and use them as useful resources in the present by a process known as anchoring.An anchor is an external stimulus that elicits an internal response, remember Pavlov and his salivating dogs? For example a picture of a loved one (external stimulus) may make you feel warm inside and happy (internal response), where as a snake or spider may make you fearful and anxious. Either way these are known as anchors. We all have many habitual anchors that we are blissfully unaware of and these anchors will influence how you feel on a day to day basis. You can create your own anchor using a favourite piece of music, a unique phrase you say to yourself, a picture of a loved one, a fond memory a clenched fist or whatever is unique to you. So whatever good feelings you want you can have them NOW, yes NOW!!

Once you have decided on the state that you want and the anchor you want to use you can marry the two together.

Think of your desired state. OK say it is motivation for exercise, allow yourself to remember a time when you were immensely motivated, a time when you could do anything. Remember this does not have to be related to your goal. So if you wanted to be motivated to exercise you could think of a work situation when you were motivated. If you can’t think of a time imagine what you would be like if you were motivated.

As you remember your desired state do it associated, that is remembering the event as is you were looking through your own eyes. Also make the picture in your minds eye big, colourful, bright, moving, 3D, loud with surround sound. Basically engage your senses as if you are reliving the experience again, seeing what you saw at the time, hearing what you heard and feeling what you felt.

Once you feel as though the feeling of being motivated is as intense as it was when you initially experienced it, FIRE your ANCHOR!! Clench your fist, play your motivating tune, pinch your ear, say your phrase or look at your picture.

Well done your brain has now made an association between your anchor and the state of being motivated. The more you practice this then the stronger the association will become. Then when you need to feel motivated simply fire your anchor and off you go!!

Look out for Elite sportsmen and women at the top of their game using this process. Lewis Hamilton (Ear Pinch on podium) and Tiger Woods (Golf Club Twirl after a great shot) both fire their anchors when at the top of their game thus reinforcing good feelings.

Willpower

So it is about this time of the year when I start to hear murmurings that people have already fallen off the good intentions wagon. Blaming their lack of motivation on flagging willpower. If only I had more of it!! Well unfortunately for so many budding fitness enthusiasts the Willpower that so soundly convinced them to join a gym ,start running, drink less or eat healthily will have deserted them and left them firmly back where they started by the end of January.

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Why I hear you ask? Well Willpower requires a great deal of emotional energy and is usually what you need when you are not particularly motivated by your goals. In essence it’s what you need when you just have to white knuckle it, you know you’re not going to enjoy it but you just have to do it! Sure, to a degree that may be what you need to get you off your behind and start but it’s not going to suffice to make long term life changes.

 

 

Obviously if you have set yourself SMARTER goals (featured in this BLOG) then you are probably smugly sitting back enjoying the success you have earned. If not then ask yourself is this goal and course of action compelling enough? What will it give me that I don’t already have? Is it congruent with my values and beliefs? And do I believe I can do it? If you are struggling to answer those questions then it may be time to think what is important to you and whether the course of action you have chosen is right for you.

Check out your language also when you are describing your goals to your friends, your trainer or indeed yourself. I Must, I Should, I Ought or I Have to start exercising or stop smoking are all pressure words and imply that there is some kind of rule that has to be kept. Not very motivating, this is where you may need Willpower ! Think about changing your pressure words to I can, I will or I am going to. Does it sound a little more compelling now?