Tuesday, 11 June 2013 02:17

The Thought of Fitness

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The Thought of Fitness

 

Thinking about fitness and actually doing something to get fit are two different things with the latter not necessarily following on from the former – right? Well for a large part of the population the answer would be ‘most definitely’ but for others, the connection between physical exercise and thought patterns are far more strongly linked and understanding why, could be the key to achieving your fitness goals.

 

Want to know more? Let’s start by doing this simple task

 

I would like you to stop reading this article and focus your concentration on physically ‘working out’. I want you to visualise on one aspect of this workout. It does not matter if you have never been to a gym before or attended a class, as it is not the detail that I am concerned with but more the focus and concentration you give. Position your mind so that nothing becomes a distraction. Your goal is to hold this thought pattern for as long as mentally possible – no thinking about work tomorrow or what you are having for dinner tonight, and no reading past this paragraph until you have completed the task, as it is very important to your understanding of this article. Now I know this article is good, but put it down and concentrate……

 

……Welcome back! How long were you able to hold this thought pattern for? Was the thought pattern an enjoyable experience or painful? If you managed 30 seconds or more, then you are doing very well. If you found on the other hand that you were getting irritable and distracted by it then read on as this article will be of use to you.

 

It could be argued, that for the majority of our working hours, habitual thought processes control us, determines our decision making processes, relationships, everything we do and say. Habitual processes, as defined by the Webster Dictionary (2001) are an involuntary tendency to perform actions, which have been acquired by frequent repetition and comfort within us. For example, how many people have felt bored at the weekend and proceeded to watch television to pass the time and distract their mind; or how many people just attend the gym and perform the same routine with the same exercises even when they have stopped receiving results. Apply these thoughts to yourself and your own behaviours and be honest, does this sound familiar? Do you do this on a regular basis? If the answer is “YES” then you too are being influenced by habitual thought processes.

 

This is not necessarily a bad thing as a large number of personal development books and articles will encourage you to develop a set of habitual thought processes that encourage you to grow and develop. This is great if the thought processes are positive but what if the thought processes are negative. Let me illustrate this point with the following exercise

 

I want you to now sensitise yourself to the thoughts and feelings you have when you read the list of words below. Be particularly aware of your body’s reactions as you go through this:

 

  • Sweating
  • Overweight
  • Obesity
  • Beautiful
  • Slim
  • Receiving a complement on the way you look
  • Eating fruit and vegetables
  • Supermodels
  • Self Image
  • Being confident
  • Being Disciplined

 

Note: These words are only examples; however they are effective in helping you to understand where you could be letting yourself down when it comes to fitness. If you experienced a negative thought pattern or feeling at all whilst going through the list, make a note of what the thought was.

 

Anthony Robbins (1998) suggests that all of our thought processes lead us to one of two conclusions – pleasure or pain. Every thought that enters our mind is linked in some form to experiencing the feeling of pleasure or experiencing the feeling of pain. The problem with ‘working out’ and getting fit is that most people are under the impression that they have to experience pain to get results.

 

If this is the case with you we need to act now and change this thought process. The key to changing this thought process is to create leverage that is strong enough to rewire your thoughts that exercise is fun and enjoyable and thus a pleasurable experience.

 

Firstly you have to sensitise yourself to the negative thoughts you have towards exercise, eating fruit and vegetables, health, fitness etc (as you did in the exercise above). If for example you noticed that you were making comments like the following when thinking about self-image or being confident: “Wish I was thinner and then I would have more confidence”, or “I hate the way I look” or “I hate my bum and legs” then you have successfully outlined a negative thought pattern which could be holding you back from achieving your goals.

 

The second thing you need to do is make a conscious commitment to yourself to change this pattern of thinking by rewording the negative thoughts into a positive empowering question. For example, when you find yourself making comments like: “Wish I was thinner and then I would have more confidence” you need to stop and consciously reword the thought out loud in a more positive way with a question, “How can I lose weight and enjoy the process”. Doing this continuously over and over, will help you rewire your thought processes and help you find an answer that leads to you achieving your goals. What you must realise though is that you need to be honest with yourself. When you ask the question of yourself in a positive way, you must give yourself time to hear the answer. If you don’t receive an answer immediately that is right for you, keep asking the question with conviction and I guarantee that an answer will appear.

 

Lastly, you must take action to implement the pleasurable solutions you come up with. For example, if you discovered that when you asked the question “How can I lose weight and enjoy the process?” you answered with “Try new and exotic foods which are also healthy”, then you must plan to do this straight away. If you don’t take action immediately you run the risk of returning to your old habitual ways.

 

Changing habitual thought patterns is no easy task, but if you start small and always implement questions that provide empowering solutions that enable you to rise to the change, then you are on to a good thing. Most importantly, stick with it, as every time you break a negative thought pattern, you move closes to breaking the habitual habit.

 

 

References

 

  1. Olsen, M. Webster’s Dictionary: Generated on Wednesday October 13 2001
  2. Robbins, A. (1998) Unlimited Power: Nightingale Tapes USA: Seller: Zygmo
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