June 20, 2018

Reaching for the stars Part 2

By: Lucas Jensen

Assuming you’ve read part on of this blog post, you already have your “goal road map” started. On the left side, it might say something like “ I am 220lbs, I feel lethargic everyday, I don’t do any exercise, I eat 3 meals a day and I don’t pay much attention to weather they are healthy or not”. On the right side you have specified your goal as a detailed vision. It might sound something like, “ I will weigh 190lbs., in order to feel energetic throughout the day I will eat 5 strategically planned meals that give me more energy when I need it and help me maintain a healthy weight. I will have a personal trainer to help me set up my eating and workout plan and will be exercising 4 days per week”. In between those two points on opposite sides of your goal map, you will have written down 3 “IF…THEN….” Statements to help you stay on track on the road to that end goal. Next we have to tackle the biggest problem that is going blind side you one the way to your goal, temptations. If avoiding temptation completely just isn’t an option, you are going to have to come up with a strategy to stay focused in those moments when it would be so much easier to just give in. The first thing you are going to want to do is think about the situation from a higher level perspective or abstractly. That means when someone offers you a slice of that hot fresh pizza that they just pulled out of the oven, don’t think to yourself “ what harm could it do, it’s only one slice, and I’ve been doing really good so far!”. Take a step back and think to yourself “is this slice of pizza going to get me closer to the satisfaction of reaching my end goal?”. If the answer to this is clearly no, then think about why you want so badly to sabotage your own mission. Step back and realize that this is just your brain wanting to take the easiest path to the most calories possible because that is how it is naturally wired. Once you step back and look at the whole picture from a higher level, you will realize that if you want to attain your goal after all, you should push past the urge for temporary satisfaction in favour of an option that will move you closer to your goal instead of further away. If taking a step back doesn’t quite give you the strength you need to turn down that pizza, there is one other trick you can try. Don’t think of it as pizza! When you see that hot slice, steam coming up from the freshly melted cheese, the first thing your going to do is imagine how it must taste. This is your bodies natural response because you’ve had pizza before, and you brain would love to get it’s hands on all those calories again! This is where you have to take your brain off of auto pilot and tell it what it should be thinking about when it sees pizza. Instead of imagining the taste of the pizza like your brain wants you to, force your brain to imaging the extra inches this pizza is going to add to your abdomen. Force it to picture exactly what will happen with those calories after you eat it. Since its night time you more than likely won’t be burning them off, and by the time you wake up in the morning they will have already been stored on your body as fat. That’s not science fiction, that literally how fast your body will take advantage of this calorie serge and make sure they are stored for you. Once you’ve gone through this mental process, the chances of you wanting to do something detrimental to your goal in favour of momentary satisfaction will be greatly diminished. The last ditch effort you can make if none of the above tactics is seeming to work in deterring you from eating this delicious slice of pizza, is to trick yourself into thinking it is no longer pizza at all. Your going to have to be open minded about this one, but you can literally picture the pizza as something else and trick your brain into thinking you don’t want any part of it. Don’t like broccoli, then picture it as a big slice of broccoli! Certain ingredients you don’t like be sure to tell yourself they are all on that pizza and you wouldn’t like it even if you tried it, so what’s the point? Okay so you managed to turn down the pizza in favour of a chicken salad, good job! Only problem is now the dessert menu is making its rounds and your will power is completely used up from resisting the pizza right! Wrong, as tempting as it is to think of will power as a limited resource, it simply isn’t so. This is just another trick your brain plays on you to try and make you give in to those temptations once again! The best thing you can do is go through the same procedure you did when the pizza came out, think about the higher-level picture, imagine what the dessert will do to directly hinder you in reaching your goal and if all else fails imagine it as something you don’t like at all and be convincing! There are however a couple things you can practice before hand and as you are working towards your goals in order to “strengthen” your will power. Although there is not a limit on the amount of will power you can use, you can get better at applying this will power when needed so that your ready when a situation like the pizza above comes up. Try practicing applying your will power to things that wont be as hard for you to stick with, but that still require you to be conscious of your actions in order to complete them. Some examples may be writing with your bad hand for an entire week, forcing your self to pay attention to your posture throughout the day and keep your shoulders rolled back, or even just making sure you swish around your mouth wash for a full 30 seconds before spitting it out. The discipline you learn in completing these tasks properly and forcing yourself to stick with them will be transferable to situations that relate directly to achieving your real goals. After all, practice makes perfect! To finish up, here are some other factors that will always help your in achieving your goals that you may need to put some more thought into. Humility, be willing to be humble and admit your week points. If you can’t see the areas your weakest in it will be impossible for you to ever improve, so be honest with your self and always humble. Optimism, make sure you identify your strong points that will help you in reaching your goal and lean on them, and always keep it in the back of your mind that you WILL achieve your goal. Do or do not, there is no try! Last but not least, if someone or something offers you something that hinders you in reaching your goals, the answer is “ I don’t eat pizza” not “I Can’t eat pizza”. Remember you are choosing to fight to reach your goal, not being forced to!