I’m the Administrator for a page on Facebook called Getting Healthy Community. This page offers a private place to share accomplishments, challenges, tips and ideas about taking control of our lives. Nothing is sold in this group, we’re just a bunch of like-minded people interested in making the most of our lives.
Tomorrow is August 1st, so today I posted a low impact ab/core challenge for the new month. It’s 3 basic exercises that can be done in just minutes a day, but can have a very noticeable impact at the end of 30 days. Already today, the post has gotten a lot of views & one commitment to take the challenge with me. This got me thinking….
Although this article isn’t about food, a healthy lifestyle & exercise are the keys to defying age. As my Dad says, “If your body looks good, your head doesn’t really matter.” Now, he was referring to men’s hair loss, but I think it’s pretty true for all of us, hair or no hair.
We know that exercise is the fountain of youth. We also know that you can’t outwork a bad diet, so avoiding preservatives, soda, processed meats, sugar and the like are important to remaining youthful, inside and out. Yet, people struggle. Why?
It’s all in your head.
There’s a newer term that gets tossed around a lot lately; MIND-HACKING. It sounds quite sinister, like something from a sci-fi novel, doesn’t it? Mind-hacking is a term commonly used to refer to tricking yourself into doing things, or overcoming procrastination. As a Clinical Hypnotherapist, I deal with this on a daily basis. I won’t get into the psychological and neurological definitions here, but will summarize by saying that mindhacking can be described as small behavior changes that can go unnoticed by your subconscious. It’s like reprogramming your computer! You rewire your thought processes by employing new repetitive steps, thoughts or actions to create new habitual thoughts and actions. It doesn’t take to long to have a positive impact either, for some it can happen very quickly, for many it takes about 21 days. Employing these techniques, you can eliminate a negative mindset, stop sabotaging your dietary or fitness efforts, conquer fears and much more.
You may be wondering if you mindhacking could benefit you. Here’s a simple test; think about where you were in your life 5 years ago. What were you hoping for, working for, what were your dreams? How many of those goals or dreams have come true? If you can say, ‘not many’, you may like to try these techniques!
Here are my top ‘mind’hacks’ to change an wanted behavior:
Take It Easy
What is something that you keep meaning to do, but just can’t get started? Let’s use exercise as an example.
Each night, as you’re getting ready for bed, you promise yourself that tomorrow you will do 20 push ups before your shower. Morning comes, the alarm sounds and you hit snooze several times. Feeling frustrated by time you get up, you have just reinforced the thought that you are lazy, or a loser. It’s not true.
Tonight, as you’re getting ready to fall asleep, think about how great you feel in the morning after your 20 pushups! I mean, really feel it. Tell yourself that you can always lay back down after you drop and give yourself 20, it’s no big deal. As a matter of fact, it’s fun! Smile as you’re feeling so proud of yourself.
Whatever your challenge, be EASY with it, MAKE IT FUN, in whatever way you can think of. Feel the feeling of having just finished the pushups, smile, feeling so proud.
You deserve amazing things. You deserve to look good and feel great. You deserve to be happy, loved, self-employed, get that raise, join the circus, whatever it is that calls you! Don’t Settle.
How can you mindhack this one? Think about why you don’t go for it, it’s usually fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking stupid, fear of rejection, being afraid of change or another irrational thought. DO IT ANYWAY.
Much like keeping it easy and making it fun, imagine how it feels right after you’ve reached your goal! Feel the feeling of actually, maybe for the first time, not settling. Vividly imagine how great it is to finally feel worthy. Take a small step in the direction of the goal.
Feeling is the key.
You just have to go for it. The first step is the hardest, just do it. Then do it again, as many times as it takes until it feels normal and comfortable.
Let’s say you’re a casual smoker. You don’t really like smoking, the smell of smoke on your clothes bothers you & its expensive, but your friends smoke. At work, you like to join your friends on break for a cigarette. It’s fun to catch u[, hear the latest office gossip, ponder why he, or she, got that promotion you really wanted, comiserate. Hey, at least you’re not alone, right?
What happens when you think about quitting? Your thoughts may go to your daily breaks at work. They may go to happy hour at the bar, popping outside for a quick one between rounds. If you don’t smoke, you’ll be left out.
Now, try thinking about it this way; you DECIDE that you would rather spend that $12 a week on a gym membership than cigarettes. You’ve always wanted to try pilates and that big gym that just opened down the street from your office has classes included in the $29 a month membership fee. Wow, that sounds great! But wait, what about break time and your friends. What will they think of you, will they be mad? This is where we lose our way.
I encourage you to MAKE IT FUN, DECIDE that you’re going to join the gym! CHOOSE to feel the excitement of feeling, and smelling, better! START NOW. On your next break, why not let your friends know what you’ve decided and ask them to join you. What have you got to lose? Suggest that instead of hitting happy hour after work, 2 or 3 times a week, you guys hit the gym instead. You can still go to happy hour the other days, but you’ll feel a lot better about yourself, how you look and how you feel when you’re there!
A little is better than none.
Start where you are. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Heck, it probably won’t be perfect! Perfection is boring and overrated. The most important thing to do is just to DO something that moves you in the direction of your goal.
Have you ever thought about this?
When you were a baby you learned to roll over, sit up, crawl and, eventually, you learned to walk. That first time you pulled yourself up your wobbly little chubby legs and took that step, did you fall? If you were like most babies, you probably did. But, look at you, even as a baby you took that scary first imperfect step, you fell and then decided that it was FUN! You didn’t just sit there on the floor and think, “Oh well, I tried. I guess walking just isn’t for me.”
You may have cried, you may have laughed, you may have reached for a helping hand; but you got up and tried again. And again. And again.
If you were that brave at about a year old, you are unstoppable today. TAKE THE FIRST STEP.
From one imperfectly perfect person to another, I can’t wait to hear about what you’re up to next!
P.S. Here’s the link to our Facebook group, we would love to have you join us! Getting Healthy Community – Working together to take back our health.