You can turn the tide.
Equipping yourself with the right tools is 95% of getting the job done right. When you have the right tools at your disposal, it limits room for error and allows you to work more efficiently.
Having the latest fitness equipment is a great start, but there is an even more powerful piece of machinery you’re going to want to make sure is up and running and performing at its peak before beginning.
And that would be your brain. Your brain is your most powerful tool, and when you can understand how it works and how you can change it when it’s not giving you what you need to function properly, your chances of success skyrocket.
Your attention bias runs the show.
Your attention bias influences the decisions you make. It focuses on certain factors when it comes to decision-making while ignoring others. In essence, energy flows where your attention goes, and everything else gets left unnoticed.
Let’s say you’ve been struggling to begin a fitness routine, and no matter how many times you’ve tried, it’s ended in you on the sofa binge-watching some new series on Netflix. You can’t seem to break through this seemingly inevitable turn of events. This is the point at which you’re going to want to zero in on your perceptions of fitness.
If you perceive fitness to be a struggle, if it makes you uncomfortable and you consider it to be downright dreadful, your brain is going to make a decision based on those factors without considering all the other possibilities — i.e., excitement to create a stronger body, the happy endorphin hit, or the beauty of alone time!
Your focus stirs up negative emotions, and emotions are what we base every decision on—every single one.
The solution: broaden your horizon. Take into consideration all factors and possibilities and consciously avoid the same thought processes.
If you can change your emotional connection to losing weight, you can change your bias towards working out and finally begin (and stick) with a program that can help you lose weight. Your emotions run the show. They are the grand poobah in decision-making.
With me, working out makes me feel good. I love feeling strong and getting sweaty—the dripping from my nose sweaty. And the way it improves my mood when I’m pissed off or feeling depressed. I equate working out to taking care of my body, feeling strong, and improving my mood. The question for me becomes, Why would I avoid it?
My attention bias is focused on the good benefits. What emotions run deep within you when you think about losing weight? If they’re negative, try stepping back and consider other aspects and see if that doesn’t give you the nudge you need to make progress.
Rewards are screwing with your success.
You don’t want to hear it, but the truth is, you don’t always deserve to be rewarded for your stellar behavior.
This is where many of us trip and fall clear off the wagon and down the side of a cliff. We feel our virtuous behavior and ability to follow through on a planned regime of healthy living gives way to the yellow brick road of temptation. The brownie, the donut, the beer, the over self-indulgent treat is considered a reward for all the “suffering” and “being good” we’ve endured.
This system of rewards and the ease it provides in which you can fall back into old habits are why many people struggle with weight loss.
We abandon our self-control for a temporary boost (i.e., reward) which we base on a previous decision we’ve made — to be healthy and work out.
Rewards don’t need to be attached to progress and follow-through regarding our health, especially when those “rewards” screw with our success. Allow the progress you’ve made to stand alone and not be a determining factor in future choices. Allow it instead to be part of a cohesive network in which you now live your life.
A cheat day can be inserted into any healthy plan of action but should not be dependent on good behavior or bad. If Sunday is your day to loosen the reins a little, then that’s why, because you’ve chosen it, not because you were good Monday-Saturday.
It should not be viewed as a reward but as being real and not hung up on perfectionism. Because we’re not perfect, nor should we expect to be.
The absence of difficulty in abandoning self-control is exactly why it’s so easy to get back into old patterns no matter how long we’ve been “good.” That’s the struggle and rewards screw with our progress.
Don’t get seduced by the reward. Improving your health is the reward.
Turn the tide. If you’re serious about losing weight, focus your attention by turning it upside down, over and out, and even a little sideways, coming at it from all different angles and gain a new perspective.
Then, plan on some cheat days instead of rewarding yourself to change your bad habits. Doing these two things could be how you get your brain, your most effective and powerful tool, to work for you!