Monday, January 26, 2015

I think therefore I am !

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.

-Innate 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 manipulated.

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 yourself.

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 facing.

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 this reaction.

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 process.

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 and feelings.

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!


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