Monday, November 3, 2014

Staying positive and motivated, from beginning to the end!

In my last post I described why it is that people don't commit to a nutrition and training program and why they quit so often and so quickly. The problem comes from to a decrease in our desire for change. Desire fades because we reach a point where it's easier to convince ourselves that the current condition we're in is tolerable, than it is to go out and take action. When desire fades away, so too does motivation and willpower and pretty soon we're not committing and following through anymore. Eventually, after enough time, we quit completely.

Desire stems from the feelings we feel when faced with a certain situation. I'd like to use a concept from the wonderful work of Mr Tony Robbins to explain the feelings we feel about practically every situation in our lives. In his work, Personal Power II® , Mr Robbins explains that the feelings we feel are either negative feelings of "pain", or positive feelings of "pleasure" and that we would do anything to "avoid pain and gain pleasure". Feelings of pain and/or pleasure are the major drivers of human behavior.

Pain and/or pleasure drives our behavior in such a way as to develop the desire to take action. We either want to feel the pleasure of having a beautifully fit and healthy body, or we want to avoid the pain of being overweight, ridiculed and possibly developing life threatening diseases, for instance. In either case, we develop the desire to take action in order to gain a feeling of pleasure or to avoid a feeling of pain.

As soon as we have the desire, we automatically have the motivation and willpower to go out and take action to influence the way we feel. If we want to keep ourselves motivated and want to cultivate willpower to push through difficult times, we therefore need to keep our desires for change alive and kicking. We need to fuel the flames of desire throughout the process from start to finish. Does this make sense to you? Because desire brings motivation and willpower with it automatically, if we keep the desire alive, we also keep our motivation and willpower alive. We must therefore do everything in our power to ensure our desire never fades away.

Fortunately, there are a few simple, very easy actions to perform that'll help us keep our levels of desire sky-high through and through. In this post we'll discuss three powerful techniques so that we'll never have to worry about losing our motivation and willpower ever again. Then, finally, we'll be able to commit and finish the programs we start and build the bodies of our dreams.

Technique #1: Visualization

When a powerful desire takes a hold of you, you'll immediately notice the effects. You'll notice your heart beating faster and a funny uneasy feeling in your gut. It's almost as if you cannot wait to get started, as if everything is moving too slowly. You feel like you just want to get things done and get them done right now. You instinctively look for the next steps to take and desperately want to get things in order and get them done. A strong desire feels as if an invisible force is pulling you forwards. You almost don't have to do anything. It's like your body is moving along automatically, without you at the wheel.

As you experience this desire, you can already see in your mind's eye how you lose the pounds, how your clothes fit better and better and how you're able to wear smaller sizes. You can see how your muscles are bulging and can almost feel the ridges of your new six pack underneath your shirt. But what's more, you begin to experience a glimpse of the intensely pleasurable feelings that having a sexy, lean, toned body will give you. You start to see how others admire and desire you and you begin to see the influence you have on them. You become excited at the prospect of being successful, of losing a lot of fat and of building tons of muscle.

The opposite could also be true. You could see in your mind's eye how you won't be dependent on medicines and drugs to stay alive and healthy anymore. Images may appear where you're no longer ridiculed and mocked for being fat. Just as positive feelings of pleasure drive desire, so too is desire awakened by the need to avoid feelings of pain.

These feelings and the images in you mind's eye must be cherished and saved. This is an important step and should not be though lightly of. As soon as your feelings create desire and you notice the desire grabbing a hold of you, make careful note of how you feel and what you see in your mind. Take a moment then and revel in these feelings. Don't be shy, really dig into these images and imaginations of what can be and try to involve as many of the 5 senses as you can. Imagine the future as if you have already achieved that which you desire.

Sit back and relax, with your eyes closed, and allow the possibility of tomorrow to flow over you. See everything in as much detail as possible. Feel everything, hear everything and if you can, taste and smell it even. Add as much detail as possible and try to make these images as real as you can. The more senses you can involve, the more real the future will become and the stronger your desire will be. Remember how these images make you feel, write them down even, if it'll better help you to keep them closer.

Now, whenever your desire starts to wane and fade, use the visualization technique to re-ignite the flames of your passion again. How will you know when your desire starts to fade? For one, it becomes increasingly difficult to say no to the wrong food, or to get up to work out. Secondly, you'll start to say things to yourself like: "What's the point? Why must I do this? I'm OK with myself. There's really nothing wrong with me. I can live with myself like I am right now. I cannot enjoy my life if I have to diet and train the whole time. There's still enough time, I'll go tomorrow. I'll just have this piece of cake now and then after that I'll go back on the diet again." As soon as these thoughts start to manifest themselves in your mind, it means that you are trying to convince yourself that being fat and unhealthy is tolerable.

When these thoughts start to take form in your mind, you need to realize your desire is dwindling. And while you may still have enough willpower and motivation to get yourself up and going for now, it'll soon become too much effort. Take action immediately as soon as you find your desire is fading. Take some time where you can be still, quiet and where no one will bother you. Find a comfortable spot, sit back, relax and close your eyes. Now, play out all the images you remembered that moment when the desire first took hold of you. This is why it is so important for you to make the images and experiences in your mind's eye as real as possible. 

See and feel again all the images you felt on that first day. Taste all the tastes and smell all the smells. Try to remember the positive feelings you felt, of how good you'll feel when you reach your goals. Try also to remember the negative feelings you felt, of how everyone ridiculed you and how you had almost no energy energy in the day. Remember all the good and bad feelings and then remember why you wanted to take action to lose fat and build muscle in the first place again. Make it all as real as it was for you that first day. Again, imagine yourself as if you've already achieved all your goals. See the faces of others as they see the new you and feel how you'll feel when you have done all you plan to do.

You'll find that the same intense feelings of desire will return. You see, the desire never goes away, it only fades until a tiny ember remains. But if you use this visualization technique, you can blow on that ember and add more fuel to get it to burn bright and hot again. Hot desires lead you to action and will automatically bring about motivation and willpower again. 


Technique # 2: Document everything and keep it in front of you at all times

It is also very important to write everything down when you experience desire for the first time. All great nutrition and exercise programs should start with a section on goal setting. Not only do good, clear and strong goals help you to maintain higher levels of willpower, but good goals can be used to maintain high levels of desire and also to re-fire the desire furnace again, should it ever cool down.

In addition to setting great goals, one should also document everything in the entire process and especially one's progress. A fitness journal, progress pics and weight measurements can be used to keep desires burning hot and bright.

How do we use our great goals, journals and progress to keep desire up? We keep it in front of our eyes the whole time. Do everything to make sure you're constantly reminded of the program you're on. Write out your goals in big large bold letters and paste these up everywhere around you. On the fridge, on your bathroom mirror, in your office at work, in your car, everywhere. Everywhere you look you should be reminded of what you want to achieve. Goals that are always visible and that constantly remind you of the process you're engaged in will make it difficult for you to lose desire. The effect is like that of a mirror. It constantly gives you true feedback and makes you very self-conscious about the promises you made to yourself. People tend to keep promises to themselves more times than promises to others and this helps to keep your desire alive.

Keep your journal, progress pics and weight measurements close as well. Compare each new measurement and pic side by side with the previous one. Write down in your journal every new little achievement you've reached, every small little detail you can see as your body changes and your feelings and attitude day by day. Paste you first progress pic and every new one side by side alongside your goals everywhere where you'll always see them and be reminded of them. If ever you find that desire is low, then pull out your goals, your journal and your progress pics and take a look at the success you've already achieved. Not only will the constant reminder of the program you're on breed new desire, but success is also one of the greatest drivers of motivation, willpower and desire.

As you achieve more and more success and as you lose more and more fat and build more and more muscle, your desire to improve further will become more and more intense. The truth is that success breeds on success and once you've set the success cascade in motion, it becomes a snowball effect where desire, motivation and willpower only increases.

By documenting everything and using it as leverage to keep your levels of desire high and intense, you need never concern yourself about losing motivation and willpower. Keep your plans in front of you all the time for a constant reminder and set the success cascade in motion for 100% commitment till the end.


Technique # 3: What's the worst case scenario?

Finally, another technique to be used to fuel your desires is imagining yourself in the absolute worst case that failure to take action will put you in ever. I mean, if you don't commit and don't follow through what is the absolute worst that could potentially happen to you? 

Let's look at a person that is severely overweight and has type II diabetes. Furthermore this person must drink many, many pills a day to keep his blood pressure down. The pain of being unhealthy, of having to take so much medication and of being unable to participate in any fun and healthy activities with friends and family ignites the desire inside this person to take action to improve his health and fitness. 

Now that the desire has been cultivated and while it's still burning white hot, our unhealthy person jumps into a diet and exercise program with a vengeance. But soon the desire starts to fade and the fat guy resigns himself to tolerating his unhealthy lifestyle. Think of what's going to happen now. What will be the absolute worst case for him if he doesn't stick to the program?

We'll in a case like this, the unhealthy lifestyle this person is living will eventually catch up to him. He'll develop ugly sores and lesions on his legs because of diabetes and poor blood circulation. Eventually he develops gangrene and the doctors amputate one of his legs just above the knee. Now, with only one leg, this person is even more sedentary, and the depression of not having both legs sends him into a feeding frenzy. On top of that, he has systematically cut off all contact with the world due to feelings of depression and shame. He has no friends and feels utterly alone. Often he has contemplated suicide, but could never bring himself far enough to actually do it. After a couple of months, on a hot sunny day, our fat guy crumples together. On the way to hospital, in the ambulance, he learns that he had just had a heart attack and that he's lucky to still be alive, in the condition he's in. After one day in ICU, his tired and unhealthy body decides that it had had enough, and fat guy dies a lonely, premature death. He was only 36 years old, a time when we are all supposed to be in the prime of our lives. He had no friends because he would not leave the house to live and enjoy his life with those he knew. His funeral is a sad reminder of the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.

If this story is also your story, imagine for a moment, that by going on like you are now could lead to your own untimely, premature death. How does that make you feel? Are you still just comfortable with your life like it is at the moment? Do you still feel like it is something that may be tolerated? Does it not cultivate the desire to do something about it right this moment? Or, if you have ever tried and quit a program, does it not re-ignite the embers of desire that made you want to get fit and healthy in the first place?

I mean, I try to live a healthy lifestyle to best of my abilities, and I would reckon myself to be in reasonable shape, but even my desires to live healthier are made stronger when I think of a potential absolute worst case scenario as told above. 

What's your worst case scenario? What would happen to you if you took no action to improve your health and fitness? This worst case scenario approach can be quite a shock, but a damned effective one in my opinion. Take some time today, if you feel that your desire is dwindling, and think of your worst case scenario. Visualize it in painstaking detail, just like you would do for any other visualization exercise. Involve all the sense and make it as real as possible. How does it make you feel? Can you feel the desire coming back again? Are you motivated and willing to jump right on back into your program again?

If ever desire wants to leave you, taking some time to think of the worst case scenario can shock your system back into gear again. A worst case scenario visualization will definitely help to drive desire back into the red again. And, as we know by now, desire leads to automatic motivation and willpower.


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These three techniques are powerful weapons that anyone can use to make sure that they always have the desire to make constant, ongoing changes in their lives. Always remember, that motivation and willpower stem from desire, and if you lose the desire to change, so too will you lose the motivation and willpower to make the change possible. 

Never allow yourself to lose your desire for change. Use these three techniques to see it through until the end and to make of yourself the person you want to be! Learn to recognize the signs of a strong desire for action and then immediately couple it to these three techniques. Life is too important to miss out because of unhealthy lifestyles and being unable to participate. 

Have you ever felt the desire for change? Could you feel it driving you onward? Did it ever happen that you lost your desire? All your comments are welcome. Share the experience!


Until next time friends, STAY TRUE AND TRAIN HARD!




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