Are You Self Sabotaging Your Health and Fitness?
I’d like to tell you about a good friend of mine who runs a gym. He is always amazed at the clients who come in and sign-up for a three-year membership. Why? Because after three weeks about 75% of them stop coming altogether. And after about three months, he’s down to about 4% of those original members. He calls it “sleeping” money because he doesn’t have to do anything about it after the initial two- to three-week flurry is over except sleep and watch the money come in. You might be wondering about his moral obligations, but after thirty years in the health and fitness industry, he knows that no matter what he does; personal training, one to one, telephoning you to encourage you to come along, he’s tried them all! He knows the age old saying is true, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”. So, here he is today having to accept money for a service that he knows he won’t be able to deliver because his new clients will sabotage themselves. “Every now and again someone just gets it! And they transform their life.” He says, “If I could bottle what they have, I could change the world!” Well reader, here is your bottle, drink deeply.
Just consider for a moment why in the world anyone would join a gym and immediately sign up for a three-year membership? It’s human nature, of course. We’re so excited about losing weight, about shaping up, about changing our lives, that if one year is good, then two years is better; and if two years is better, then three years is best! The only problem is; our motivation to change rarely lasts three weeks, let alone three years.
When’s the most popular time to sell a three-year gym membership? January, of course! After all, it’s the time for New Year’s resolutions, for doing what we know is best for our mind, body, and soul.
It’s also the time when our conscious mind is strongest. After all, we’re fresh from a solid week of holiday eating; we’re lazy from the winter weather, and soft from taking it too easy for too long. What’s more, we consciously know that if we don’t make some kind of healthy change in the beginning of the year, we’re likely not to make it anytime this year.
So, it’s off to the gym we go, fighting the first of the year crowds and burning our bodies sore until we drop from exhaustion back home on the couch. We can keep it up for another few days perhaps, burning a hole in our new tracksuits and wearing down our spiffy new training shoes and then… and then… reality hits.
The Self Sabotage voice starts creeping into our heads again, telling us:
“This’ll never work!”
“You’re not cut out for this!”
“You don’t belong here!”
“You’re too old!”
“Let’s go back home and have some tea!”
“I’m too busy at work/with the kids”
You know that voice, don’t you? It’s the sound you’ve been hearing all your life. Often you want to change, to grow, to learn, to reach, and to stretch. And what happens? You get all excited about that new gym membership, that new class, that new boyfriend or girlfriend, that new job, and your conscious mind takes over, for a day or two at least.
Then the voice creeps in, sabotaging all your plans, making you feel weak, insecure, ineffective, and out of place. You fight it for as long as you can, struggling against your nature to succeed until, eventually, it wins out, as it always must – the little voice “wins” and that is that. No more gym, no more track suit, no more trainers. Until next January, that is; and the cycle starts all over again.
Self Sabotage is Driven by Your Emotions
Well, I’m here to tell you that that tiny little voice has a name: your unconscious mind (your very own Saboteur Within). And if that tiny little voice sounds anxious, envious, unhappy, or any other emotion, that’s because… it is your emotions!
Your unconscious wants your life to remain on whatever course you are currently travelling on, always travelling along the path of least resistance, believing that you are perfect just the way you are! So the more you try to change, the more opposition you will encounter. And you are up against your most powerful ally.
How has your Saboteur become so powerful? It’s because your unconscious mind is like a wall that’s been built up brick by brick, minute by minute, month by month, year after year – for decades. It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 years old, your unconscious mind has spent the entire time crafting a careful universe where every hope, dream, desire, pain, anguish, and fear have laid the foundations of your beliefs and values. These “beliefs” and “values” then become the solid bricks with which your unconscious mind builds the very wall that you will one day find yourself trapped inside.
And the older you get, the higher the wall; and the harder it becomes to change… well… anything! However, cheer up! Please, remember that no matter how difficult it might seem to overcome your beliefs and values, you do rule over your universe and your unconscious is always ready to replace tough old bricks for flexible new ones.