Do you set yourself up for fitness and weight loss failure by thinking you are a failure? Here is how to avoid negative self-fulfilling prophecies with a bit of positive visualization.
Let me share with you a little secret that many successful athletes know: you can think yourself into failure.
Why? Because outside of circumstances beyond our control, it is in our minds where we can set success or failure. Thoughts in a way are as real as our bodies, because your mind wants its perception of reality to be reality, and it will do its utmost to have the two congruent. There is a saying that I really like: “If you knew how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought”.
Therefore, when people come to me for help in losing weight and getting fit, one of the first questions I ask them is how they see and think about themselves. I believe my main goal as a trainer is not only to teach people how to eat right and how to exercise, that’s the easy part, but to teach people the thinking part, so they are more likely to get the results they desire. This is where the real difficulties lie, because most of us have a specific perception of ourselves, that was formed over years and years. Some of it is positive, but we also obey our negative beliefs.
So, What Do You Think About Yourself?
Where are you in this game? Do you think you have a hard time losing weight because of your genetics? Do you think you’re just an average Joe or Josephine? Or do you think you are an amazing fat burning machine with the fitness potential of a young athlete? No matter what you think about yourself, you are always right! Your body and mind will do their best to make it a reality.
Take inventory: look at your current total state of being, physically and emotionally. Do you like what you see? You are the creator of everything in your life and if there is something you don’t like, you are the only person with the power to change it.
Take Control Of Your Life
In order for you to even begin, your first step would be to recognize those moments where your negative thought processes occur. If you are trying to get in shape and constantly complain how fat you are and how hard it is, then what do you expect? If you think like that, you’re only going to attract more of it.
Instead imagine yourself as a fit person. How would that feel? Make this picture as vivid as possible, because this will be the new blueprint we want your body to follow. As said above, you decide what instructions are given out.
Now recognize your current negative thoughts about yourself. Which probably isn’t difficult, because they probably already came up when you imagined a fit you: “that is just not me. I’m a hopeless case.” Think about every negative thing you ever told yourself in the constant inner monologue we all go through and write all of it down on the left side of a piece of paper. On the right, write down a positive counterthought or solution to this negative thought: “I’m not fit – But I can get fit and I can educate myself about how to do it.” “I’m a failure – All people make mistakes, I’m just human.”
At this point you know where you want to go and you now have weapons at hand to defend this vision. Every day take five minutes to imagine your positive image. When one of the negative thoughts sneaks back in, fire the positive opposite in its direction, if needed with the help of the cheat sheet you created. At first all this will feel a bit forced, because your mind won’t willingly leave the beaten path, but with time the process will become natural.
If you ever failed a diet or got a gym membership and never showed up there again after the first two months, try again while using these tips. There is a fair chance that without self-sabotage you will want to do everything in your power to keep moving closer and closer to your goals.
Picture courtesy of the Emilian Robert Vicol.