The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

Things I’ve Learned this Week ~ 11/5/10

“Books are for the Scholar’s idle times.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Although, I have a great respect for books and reading in general, there are times when the observations of life must come before any reading.  The observations of life are things we tend to miss out on if our noses are always in a book (a fact, I know all too well).  With that said, here’s the items of the things I’ve learned throughout this week:

1 – Sexy Item of the Week:  Last weekend, I worked out with my best friend for the first time in a long time.  One of the body parts we worked on was back.  Although back isn’t either of our strongest body parts, I had a hard time coming up with exercises that were better than the basics that we all know.  Monday, an article on T-Nation by John Meadows on back training gave me so many new ideas I wish I had that back workout to do all over again.

2 – Growing up in a volatile environment, I did not have the best influences on mirroring how to calmly have conversations about topics that grate on me.  I just finished the first run of one of my top 5 books of the year:  Crucial Conversations.  I think, no matter what environment you grew up in, it should be required reading for all political analysts, people in charge of others and parents.

3 – I get on random kicks of music.  This week, I’ve just grown a new appreciation for Bruce Springsteen’s Jungleland.

4 – After trying to juggle 10 things at once for so long, with my free time, I realized that for me to be infinitely more productive, I have to focus on just ONE major thing per week during my free time.  In this way, I will get more done in that one week, than being scatter-brained trying to get 10 random things done.  This week, I’m starting with finishing the rough draft of my book on Beliefs.  I should have the rough draft done by this weekend and by next weekend, I should have my first round of fitness coaching completed in an audio format.

5 – As though I needed another justification to drink, I just got one.  Evidently, the more intelligent you are, the more you drink.  This is because, drinking alcohol is relatively new and therefore, novel on an evolutionary scale. Since everyone likes to think they’re intelligent, why not add this to the list of stupid reasons to drink.

6 – And last, but not least, after posting my thoughts on change and then posting my thoughts on change again, I think, I’ve finally put together a much better concept on change.  Which, after I say it, may sound so simple, that I feel stupid for not noticing it quicker…Oh well.

So, with change, or better yet, the best way to change, is by raising one’s standards to a higher level.  Therefore, if you don’t work out, then you raise your standards to working out 5 days a week.  It should be a major shift and jump.  This doesn’t mean that you will automatically make that change and that it will be perfect the first time around, but that you will hold yourself to a level that is so much higher than your current standard of living, that you have in essence, shifted your identity.

From there, you make lots of small changes.  Say, you don’t reach your 5 days a week mark, but instead only make it 4 days a week.  Each week, your small change will be to learn a different exercise for the first couple of months.  After you get the hang of those exercises, you make small changes by trying to increase the weights you use for the exercises.  These small changes hold you over for another 3-6 months.

Overall, if you are actually striving to make your life better, there will come a point, where you will either stay at a certain level or you will strive to do more and therefore, will have to raise your standards again (or drop back down, but I’m not considering that here).

So you raise your standards again, this time by cutting out all wheat and dairy from your diet.  It’s a huge jump and by doing so, you are now on a different level than where you were previously.  Your diet has just improved immensely by raising your standards in relation to your diet.  From there, you make a lot of small changes.  You cut out dairy and wheat, but still have gluten-free cookies and corn tortilla chips (aka, junk food).  Gradually, you make small changes.  You cut out the tortilla chips.  You cut out the fries (which are still gluten and dairy free).  You continue to make these small changes, until you are satisfied with your results, crave more and decide to make another jump or simply fall back into your old patterns.

The bottom line is that the best way to change is to make a huge change in one area of your life.  Completely raise your standards, while making small changes in the other related aspects of that change.  For example, if you now smoke two packs, you make the jump to smoke only when you drink.  That’s a huge jump.  The other changes to make, would be to avoid other situations that made you want to smoke automatically, until you’ve gotten over the super-craving of nicotine and instead simply had a craving. At some point, you either go back to smoking like crazy, decide that this plan works for you, or decide to make another jump and quit smoking altogether.

Therefore, the ideal change process is to:
1 – Make a huge jump in your standards.
2 – While holding yourself to those standards, make other small and similar changes to that behavior, or related behaviors.
3 – After you’ve mastered those higher standards, decide to make another jump, stay where you are or, if you really hate the jump, decide to lower your standards to where they were before.

The best analogy I could use is if you were to go on a trip around the world looking for a place to live.  You would take a plane (make a huge jump) to get to a different continent.  Once there, you would make your way around town by walking and by using cars (the small changes).  As you traveled and explored the city, those small changes would hold you over, until you either decided that you didn’t like that city and continue on your journey or that you miss home and go back.

With all of that said, I will leave this post with my first quote of the day by Morty Lefkoe:  “Don’t ever settle for the ‘answer.’  Always hold your answers as working hypotheses, subject to constant checking and actual revisions when necessary. Live out of questions and observe what emerges. I promise you will be more successful than if you operate out of answers derived from what worked for you yesterday or what worked for someone else.”

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