René Descartes: "I think therefore I am"
This statement is widely know as he was discussing the nature of
self-awareness and identity. Descartes believes ideas are formulated
into three components of self-awareness: fabricated, adventitious, or innate.
-Fabricated ideas are mere inventions of the mind.The mind can control
them so that they can be examined and set aside at will and their
internal content can be changed.
-Adventitious ideas are
sensations produced by some material thing existing externally to the
mind. Adventitious ideas cannot be examined and set aside at will nor
can their internal content be manipulated by the mind.
ideas are placed in the mind by God at creation.These ideas can be
examined and set aside at will but their internal content cannot be
So what does this have to do with fitness ? This
is a pretty profound topic that may help you discover the willingness
and drive to succeed through any goal or task that you may encounter !
Your thoughts play a HUGE role in your life. Do you know why you choose
to do things the way you do ?? Your behaviors are directly linked to
your feelings and your thoughts. Most of what you do is designed to
reassure yourself and reinforce your perception of the world and the
role you play in it.
Any time you make changes you are trying
to modify a pattern or schedule that you have created for yourself. When
choosing behaviors to modify, you also think about how these
modifications will have an impact on the outcome in your life. They need
to not only fit into your scheduled behavior patterns but also they
need to fit into your belief system and morals that you created for
In psychology, the cognitive behavioral theory
explains a theory as to why you might struggle to change behaviors that
you have created over time. For example: Every time something happens in
your world your brain tries to make sense of it. It wants to understand
what a situation means for you and what it says about you. Over time,
you form larger assumptions, constructs and beliefs that guide you as
you navigate the world, your relationships and your goals. Your thoughts
about any given situation dictate how you will feel about it.
So lets try this out !!!
Say you won a contest for a full year to have your very own lifestyle
wellness coach. This would include someone who would be with you for a
full year to help transform your life from the inside out. You would get
a Personal Trainer, nutritional guide, professional chef, full gym
access ..etc.. You get the point!! Everything you would need to become
successful at transforming yourself !!!
SOME people would have
emotions such as excitement, ecstatic, relieved, happy? That is if this
is something that you truly want and desire. IF you are ready for a
change in your life.
BUT what if you had the opposite reaction.
What if this thought was terrifying, scary, embarrassing, and anxiety
?? What if the thoughts of working out, eating right, and losing weight
was too much CHANGE to handle ?
The bottom line here is that
how you feel is not a function of what is happening to you, so much as
it is a reaction to your assumptions about the situations you are
When you are presented with a "change" your brain tries
to make sense of it and that is what your thoughts are. Based on your
interpretation of a given situation you then form an emotional reaction
and your feelings are just a manifestation of your beliefs. Behaviors
are simply a more concrete expression of these two factors. They are
your solution to a given set of assumptions and the feelings elicited by
What you do has a personal connection to who
you are, and how you see yourself and your world. It is a direct
response to your beliefs and your feelings. Think of Facebook, the more
you click "like" (behavior) and comments you agree with (thoughts) the
more you receive feeds from those sites which reenforces your thought
Many of you are embarking on living a healthier
lifestyle. You want to improve your diet, and become consistent with
working out. You have made a personal commitment to change what and how
you eat, as well as how you move. You have made this commitment to
yourself because being healthier really matters to you. Your iniatal
reasoning for becoming healthy might be founded on the idea that with a
good nutrition and weight training program you will see results and
become "happy" with your life.Unfortunately, we are complex beings, and
you actually have a whole bunch of underlying assumptions, beliefs and
personal rules that are also going to positively or negatively impact
your chances of success.
Your thought process on getting
healthy can illicit many outcomes both positive and negative. What if
you view training and lifting weights as painful, uncomfortable and
hard? This though process now makes training have a negative belief that
can bring anxiety and stress thus stalling your progress. It creates a
personal barrier that needs to be overcome to change the outcome. This
kind of thinking is responsible for more failed goals than any kind of
physical barrier. These types of thoughts, especially the personal
beliefs about strength, worth or competence can make the difference
between persistence in the face of a challenge versus giving up.
How can we change this thought process?
1.)Recognize that any time you try to make a change you are not only
modifying a behavior, but you are challenging a whole cycle of thoughts
2.) Don’t expect big changes to be linear, or
easy. Rather understand that the process will involve some great
successes and some set backs.
3.)When you find yourself
struggling with a goal you can try strategize. Sit down, and outline
what your thoughts and feelings are about both behaviors: the one you
are trying to change and the new one you are trying to implement. This
will help you understand why you’re not doing what you committed to do.
4.)Use those insights to create a plan that is right for you, one that
not only contains the best strategies, but also addresses your
assumptions and feelings.
Create SMALL obtainable goals. WRITE
them down. Post them somewhere you can see them everyday. Re and re-read
them daily. You are in control of your thoughts and behaviors !
Research shows that we have 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day. That is
60,000 to 70,000 opportunities to help or hinder your progress. Luckily
the majority of they have NO impact on our lives but just come and go
but some of the major setbacks are real roadblocks that need to be
challenged and overcome!
So if you have been struggling to
change a behavior or habit despite feeling motivated and having a great
plan of action, the one place I recommend you go is to your mind – it
holds all the answers!