The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

Beliefs 1

Ever since I graduated college (about 6 years now), I decided that who I was, wasn’t who I wanted to be and instead of covering up those aspects of my personality that I don’t like, I decided that I was going to start over, start anew.  I decided I was going to “Raise myself” all over.  This time though, I was going to create a personality that was true to who I am and not what others want from me.  I was going to do what I wanted and be who I wanted to be as opposed to being someone that was created solely in reaction to outside influences.  If you had a good, loving household growing up, where most of the things that your parents did, made sense, than more than likely, you wouldn’t need to go through this process.  I did this, not to try and become “successful” (although my favorite quote of success is “There is only one success – to be able to spend life in your own way. ~ Christopher Morley), but instead to be the man I know I was capable of becoming.

And during those 6 years, I’ve done a ton of reading of how to change, a lot of exploring into my past, seeing the associations and beliefs that I’ve had.  I’ve tried to figure out the best ways to change any habit, any thought process and during that time I’ve done a shitload of journal writing (probably over 8,000 pages worth).  Most of my writing isn’t for shit, and I would say ½ of it is menial non-sense that wouldn’t serve me or anyone else, but some of that writing has been pure gold for me.  All of that mining, all of that digging and searching has unearthed so many false associations and beliefs, so many things that have held me back and continue to hold me back.  One of my favorite quotes from James Allen’s “As a Man Thinketh” is, “Only by much searching and mining are gold and diamonds obtained, and man can find every truth connected with his being if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul; and that he is the maker of his character, the molder of his life, and the builder of his destiny, he may unerringly prove, if he will watch, control, and alter his thoughts, tracing their effects upon himself, upon others, and upon his life and circumstances, linking cause and effect by patient practice and investigation, and utilizing his every experience, even to the most trivial, everyday occurrence, as a means of obtaining that knowledge of himself which is Understanding, Wisdom, Power.”

Trust me when I say that I have dug into the mine of my soul and have seen how true paying attention to even the most trivial of everyday occurrences can reveal so much when you link cause and effect.  During that journey, I’ve gotten to know my body very well when I’m writing.  When something sparks my solar plexus and I feel a knot in my stomach, I’ve learned to pay attention, listen to my body, and dig deeper into that feeling.  Rarely has it led my astray in doing so.  During that time, I’ve also come to realize that I’ve had a lot, A LOT of fucked up associations.  I bring all of this up, because over the past week or so, I’ve been going through a program made to eliminate certain self-limiting beliefs.*

It’s made me go back into my childhood and face some very interesting things that I hadn’t really thought exerted any influence over me , especially after all of this time and “mining.”  In doing so, I’ve become somewhat emotional with some beliefs, which has rarely happened in the past.  But I’ve always been someone that will explore things for what they are worth (or to the best of my ability) even if I don’t necessarily like certain aspects of it.  And in this program, although the process of going through each belief, has been a test in patience, it’s actually produced some interesting changes in myself, in a relatively short amount of time.   Some beliefs punched me pretty damn hard in the gut and those feelings brought about some interesting insights, such as, I’ve harbored a sense of feeling incompetent, although slightly, because I wasn’t able to “protect” my family when I was growing up.  I couldn’t figure out, or I wasn’t “smart enough,” and hence competent, to figure out a way to protect my family from my alcoholic stepfather.  Who would’ve thought that, that would be the association from which I harbored that belief, but none-the-less, it’s true.

And although I believe that the program itself is incomplete, (I believe that we have to replace that limiting belief, with something we can see ourselves believing), it has served as a reminder that each of us has limiting beliefs as to what we think is possible.  I had gotten rid of over 100 beliefs just to have the courage to start this blog and over the course of the past 7 years, I’ve gotten rid of probably at least another 200.

With that said, what are some of the beliefs that you are harboring and holding you back from either starting to exercise, continuing exercise, or doing the last bit to get the body you want?

If it’s starting exercising, is it because you think you’re incompetent, that you’ll be made fun of, that you don’t know what you’re doing, that you’ll get hurt, that you won’t lose weight, that you won’t stick to it, that you’ll be hungrier and just eat more anyway, that you’ll have to CHANGE everything, that you can’t afford it, that you don’t have the energy for it, that you don’t have “enough time?”  What is it for you?  Is it one of those beliefs, all of them and if you know what those beliefs are, what are you doing to change them?  Are you allowing them to hold power over you or are you willing to face the truth and take power over your own mind, your own thoughts?

If you’re in the process to continue exercise, what are the beliefs that will hold you back from continuing?  Is it the whole, I have too many responsibilities at work, I can’t continue this, or It’s summer and I don’t want to be inside working out, or is it the whole, I like my body as it is and don’t really want it to change, although deep down, you know that you’re not content with going back to being overweight and out of shape?  Again, are you going to allow those thoughts, those beliefs to hold you back from achieving the life you want or are you going to continue on the road to empowering yourself?  Because, don’t you know that exercise and body shaping is one of the most direct influences you can ever see in your life?  If you have the discipline, gather the knowledge and apply the principles that work for you, you can transform your body.  You can absolutely see the fruits of your efforts and almost in no other way is that more possible, than in taking control of your body.

So I guess the ultimate question is, what are you doing to change those beliefs that are limiting your growth?  Are you taking action and beating the belief with sheer determination, are you delving into parts of yourself that you would rather be left alone, but knowing that by doing so, you will come out a stronger and more determined individual?  Whatever you do though remember, if you want something different, you’re going to have to do something different.  And I guess I’ll leave this post with one more quote, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”  ~ William Johnsen

*You can get a better idea of the program by going to and going through one of the beliefs.

Note:  In case you’re wondering, what I think is the best method to change…there is none.  I think psychotherapy, or the pseudo-psychotherapy that I’ve been putting myself through is good for noticing associations and in those associations you can see where the beliefs are coming from.  This knowledge, although good, usually doesn’t do shit for changing actual habits in the short-term (although has been shown to rewire the brain and is I guess is good in reducing anxiety).  I believe that with those changes come a peace of mind and with peace of mind comes the opportunity for growth and continued change or just a moment to relax and be content with life.

There are many other therapies and believe that they all work for certain aspects of what you’re trying to do.  Cognitive and Rational Emotive therapies I believe are good for changing specific habits.  Those specific habits, after being changed, can then be used to increase your confidence, and take on larger and more important responsibilities.

There are many others and I personally think that there’s a time and place for each and that each person really can have a preference.  I preferred pseudo-psychotherapy only because I like knowing everything.  Other people don’t have the drive for complete knowledge and therefore would find those insights nothing more than a waste of time.  To each their own.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

1 comment found

  1. i guess i never really paid too much attention to where my tendencies came from because i would be so busy looking forward to things and accepting change (bc that in and of itself is a process…) but it’s true. a good look back can reveal aspect of your life that are directly correlated with the present and future.

    i want to be able to look back and say that i became the person i am because of my whole life stride to be different from my parents… but the more i see myself developing the same quirks as my dad or saying things my mom used to tell me all the time, i’m convinced that the book of my past holds more answers to how i can be a better person NOW than i could ever find in any present-day soul searching.

    i’m hoping i can use this concept of yours to weave a different outlook for myself, in life and in fitness, as i am in desperate need of it now…

    awesome entry, john. really hits home.

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.

More in Psychology and Exercise 'Basics', Thinking About... (30 of 34 articles)

Everything in life comes down to standards.  What are the standards you have for relationships?  Will you settle ...