By Dian Fuller
Everyone wants to alter their fitness and health behaviors. Why then is the first step so challenging?
What prevents us?
primarily our minds Simple inertia, a fundamental tenet of physics, is one issue. Unless and until an outside force acts against a body, it tends to stay in its state of rest. It requires energy to move through inertia. But the brain stores energy. They require that jolt from an outside factor, such as a vicious dog closing up on us, an impending family gathering or trip, terrible news from the doctor, or an impending family reunion or vacation.
Our brains' affinity for storytelling is another issue. Stories can be helpful at times, such as when they explain events or inspire us. However, from what my customers have told me, their health and fitness journeys are more frequently filled with unanswered, frightening questions: Will my buddies who didn't get in better shape lose them if I do? Do I have a right to success? What if my health improves but my partner's doesn't? If my spouse won't let me eat healthier, how can I? What I consume won't be appealing to my family. How will I get along? How will it make me feel to gain a lot of attention if I change how I look? Who are these new admirers, exactly? Why didn't they listen to me earlier? The most important one is: What if I fail?
Believe me, the brain remembers every failure. A portion of your brain that guards you from poisonous berries and dark alleyways will activate and look for previous failures in the database. If it does, it will make every effort to stop you before you begin, even if it means keeping those extra 40 pounds and getting a pre-diabetes diagnosis. The brain is unconcerned. Until you get back in your chair, it will keep reminding you of your past mistakes (ever had buyer's remorse?). or never stand up.
What can we do to overcome the force field of our brains? Remembering that most of our fears are imaginary may be the finest thing we can do for ourselves. False expectations x fear seeming genuine. We begin making up fictitious narratives about future difficulties and ensuing failures. And with every new terrifying circumstance, we keep revising the story.
What can we do in this regard?
Try making up a separate story for yourself. Self-talk is actual and crucial. Support is also important. As my clients inform me six months after joining our team, “Why did I assume that? This is genuinely enjoyable!” Your brain is a story lover. So why not put that information to good use? What would life be like if you aced this, you could ask yourself? then on to write from there…