Have you ever set goals and work hard only to find your motivation fizzle out after a couple of weeks. Yeah, we've all been there. However, I find that I have had the most success accomplishing missions when I knew exactly what motivated me to do so. Using the same technique I use with my 1 on 1 Training Partners, my Kaizen system, I'm going to simplify the process of re-training your mind to accomplish anything.
The Two Motivators
When you boil it down, you're motivated by two simple things:
- To avoid pain (fear of failure)
- To gain pleasure (promise of reward)
You are naturally geared toward one of these motivators. To figure out which, think of the last time you accomplished a task and then ask yourself the following: While doing the task were you thinking about what would happen if you failed, or were you thinking about what you would gain when you finished?
Take note as to which motivator works for you - fear of failure, or promise of reward.
The Mission: The next step towards unstoppable motivation is to determine your mission. Maybe you're unhappy with your body, but what exactly do you want to change? Strength level, body-fat percentage? Why is it important to you?
Perhaps you can relate to one of the following goals:
- You need to lose weight for your health. Your doctor scared you straight or maybe you've had a recent health problem that landed you in the hospital. Your goal is to move away from the pain of sickness.
- You want to look, move, and feel incredible. You've always wanted to feel better, move better, look better. The idea of having more energy really excites you. Your goal is to move toward the pleasure and reward of a fit body.
- You're worried about your kids. They don't eat enough vegetables, they drink more soda pop than water and they play video games constantly. You have decided to model a healthier lifestyle and to encourage your kids to participate. Your goal is to move away from the risks of a sedentary lifestyle and to propel your kids toward a healthy future.
Re-Train Your Mind:
With your mission in mind, let's take a few minutes to train your mind to achieve it. You know that most fitness gains come as a result of 1. eliminating waste from you nutrition and 2. challenging yourself through exercise, so let's use your mind to conquer both.
Elimination of waste: Use this exercise to distance yourself from the self-sabotaging foods you really wish you didn't eat, and to naturally begin selecting healthy foods.
Take a moment to review your current eating habits. Identify the foods that you should stop eating (hint: sweets, anything fried, refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks). Identify the worst food that you eat regularly but know you shouldn't.
Now imagine the healthy foods that you should eat (hint: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein). Identify the healthiest food that you know you should eat regularly.
Now with the image of these two foods in mind, find a quiet place and do the following exercise (seriously this stuff works):
- Imagine your unhealthy food item. This image will likely be quite vivid, with smell, taste and bright color. In your mind, fade this picture to black and white and distance the image until it is dull, fuzzy and remote.
- Imagine your healthy food item. This image will likely be fuzzy and faded. In your mind, bring this picture to life with smell, taste, sound and bright color.
Challenging Exercise: This technique can be applied in a way that encourages you to crave exercise rather than avoid it.
Take a moment to imagine how you feel after a great workout (notice the emphasis on the word after). Remember the physical satisfaction as well as the sweet feeling of accomplishment.
Now bring to your mind the aspects of exercise that you dislike. What is your biggest reason for avoiding exercise? Are you too tired? Do you not have enough time? Is physical exertion too much of a hassle? Pinpoint your greatest complaint about exercise.
Now with the image of these two aspects of exercise in mind, find a quiet place and do the following exercise:
- Imagine your exercise complaint. The image is likely to be clear and accompanied by the sounds, smells and sensations. In your mind, fade this picture to black and white and distance the image until it is dull, fuzzy and remote.
- Imagine the wonderful feeling you have after accomplishing a great workout. Magnify this image in your mind. Fixate on how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. View the experience in bright colors and add a sound track of inspirational music.
Why It Works
If this was your first experience with training your mind (also called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP, or Visualization Techniques) it may have felt a little odd. Many of the world's top achievers regularly use techniques like these to accomplish astounding goals.
The techniques above work because they train your mind to bring your behavior in line with your values. When I was younger, I had no idea I was using visualization techniques quite frequently. When I was in high school, I would imagine myself signing a letter of intent to play college football. When I was in college, I envisioned becoming team captain. When I was in the professional world, I imagined running my company from my iPhone. All have been accomplished, and I owe a great deal of my success to training my mind to align with my values, and reduce the fear of failure.
These techniques encourage you to avoid self-sabotage and to make choices that line up with what you truly value. Not just those actions which bring temporary satisfaction or pleasure.
Now that you are ready to accomplish your mission, let's get you set up for success in 2017. I have a few more openings in my VIP group of 1 on 1 Online Training Partners.