Thursday, September 1, 2011

What You See Within Is What You Will Achieve

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."

- Frank Loyd Wright

In self-help literature, it is normally said that "What the mind can see, can be achieved." Thus, all one needs to do is to have an image of something attainable and little else is necessary to make the results come about. This is most often true in social interactions, but does require some modification when it comes to fitness.

Imaging is one of the most powerful motivators in human behavior. Not much is known about it academically, but those who practice it regularly attest to its power. When it comes to fitness, it is the difference between staying at it, or giving up before results are ever possible.

The typical phenomenon is always with us: we start out with the best of intentions, but quit within three months. The prototype is the start of the year at the health club with us quitting by the middle of March. This is a common phenomenon, which will occur this coming January as well as in 2013. Why does this happen?

There are numerous reasons, to be sure. But, one of the biggest may be the image of how we will look after one or two months. Many of us refuse to even admit that we have on image like this, as it seems impossible to make such a prediction. Nevertheless, it can be argued that those of us who refuse, still actually do have one buried deep within. This unacknowledged image determines the outcome of all of our attempts to stay at a regular fitness routine.

Few, if any, have great expectations when it comes to working out, diet and supplementation. Most of us have tried this in the past, failing in under three months. Some have incurred injuries, or even gotten less in shape as a result of trying. That may not seem possible until we remember that escalated metabolisms can create increased hunger. This is especially so if the diet was not significantly altered or augmented by wise supplementation. In short, we really could have worked hard at fitness, only to have become worse off as a result That experience can cause a negative image to form.

Too, some of us have never tried getting into a fitness lifestyle. We have not had the benefit of being out for a sport in high school or of being on something like the rowing team in college. Consequently, we have no idea of what diet, supplementation and exercise can do other than by way of what we have seen in advertising. That makes our psyches fertile ground for images implanted by the media.

The former group (the lion's share of most of us) have images of ourselves one or two months from now looking exactly the same as we do today. Some of us even have the fantasy of being injured from overdoing it. Granted, these things may be so deeply buried that they are not felt as being part of us. We may say that we have forgotten them. But a little quiet time with a determination to surface these images can be revealing. Generally, the results do not auger well for staying with a new routine.

Those of us who have never had bad experiences may seem to be better off initially. But where did the idea to start a fitness lifestyle come from?. The answer generally is the inspiration of a fitness guru such as Jillian Michaels, or, for the men, a body builder in one of the latest muscle publications. If so, when searching internally for an image of how we will look in one or two months from now, we may immediately see a mental picture of either of these individuals. How wonderful it would be if that could be. However, that will not happen.

Fitness takes time. Jillian Michaels and the male body builder both invested long, hard years getting to the places they currently are at. Neither got that way overnight, and neither would ever say they did If asked in private. The media may make them out to be overnight successes in hopes of selling a product they endorse; but a frank conversation with either or both would reveal the truth. Therefore, imagining us like them in a short period of time is absurd.

In a similar way, the image that the rest of us carry is not realistic either. It is most likely us unchanged by anything. But we, who have failed before,really may not do so again. One or two months of work this time if done wisely, will make a difference in how we look. That means the thirty day image which we carry around in our psyches can and should be adjusted to be a belt size or a dress size less. That is realistic; and that is what we should be seeing during those quiet times alone.

When this happens, we find ourselves contemplating realistic mental imagery--internal pictures of us that we can believe. Focusing on these can and will get us to the point of actually becoming what we imagine. Then we can adjust again for the next thirty days, etc.

Achieving our long term goals requires continual attention to the short term images we carry in our minds.Continually conjuring up new realistic ones is what keeps us doing the things that really will eventually work. That is what ultimate fitness success is all about.

For further thought on mental imaging order my e-book "Think and Grow Fit."

Obese 48 years ago; state champion power lifter 1978; in better shape today at 62 than when on swim team in high school. (subscribe for weekly fitness updates)

Author of "Think and Grow Fit" the no hype guide to getting fit and staying that way forever. (6.00 ebook or 15.95 softcover from publisher I_Universe, Amazon or Barnes and Noble)

YouTube - mcfitnessguru19

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