The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between

How To Change Your Beliefs Towards Exercise

So what are the best ways to shift the 7 different factors that may be holding you back from exercising.  Today, I will talk about Changing Your Beliefs towards exercise, in a way that I think is most effective.

Please note that there are countless ways to shift your beliefs and that most of the time you won’t actually know what your beliefs are – which is the biggest problem with actually changing them.  Your beliefs have been with you for so long that you take them as facts, and not as something to be challenged. 

Also, please recognize that the method I present isn’t necessarily “the easiest.”  In fact, you will have to think about a lot of things that you haven’t necessarily thought about in a very long time.  You will have to make connections that aren’t automatic and that it’ll require a lot of work on your end.  The bottom line though, is at the end of the day, do you want to change or is it just a nice fantasy you have in your head?  If you want to change, like if you want to lose weight, then you’ll have to do the work.  If you wanted to get down to extremely low levels of bodyfat, then you have to watch your calories and have a plan.  If you wanted to change your life, so that you’re in charge of your life, then you have to watch your thoughts (beliefs) and have a plan to make them work for you.  This is that plan. 
 
With that said, here’s my method of changing beliefs that involves 7 primary steps along with 5 additional Steps – Doing the first 7 Steps will give you peace of mind with your past.  It’ll allow you to have the freedom to make your thoughts your own and not simply have you thinking thoughts from your past.  In other words, you will no longer will you be a pawn of your past – but it won’t necessarily have you taking all of the actions you want.  The additional 5 steps are geared to get you congruent with your new beliefs and your ability to take actions.  Again, the first 7 steps are for peace of mind and freedom from your past.  The additional 5 steps are to get you taking new actions that will make you congruent in your desires, beliefs (new), and actions.  
 
Here are the first 7 Steps:
1 – Become Aware Of or Recognize the Belief – Awareness of your beliefs, of what you’re actually thinking is paramount to any long lasting change – for some people, simple awareness of what they are thinking is enough to be able to move them past their previous limitations.  If not, keep moving…
2 – Figure out when the Belief was formed – What were the actual events that caused the belief
3 – Figure out why this belief is still in your life – It’s still serving a purpose, what is that purpose?
4 – Figure out why you want to change this belief – If you don’t want to change it, it’s not going to change.  Having a “why” to change it is very powerful to keep you committed to the change. 
5 – Find other alternative ways to explain the original events that caused the belief – Just because the original explanation is how you saw the event, someone else might have viewed the event in a different light.  Try to get 3-6 alternative views about the original event. 
6 – Ask yourself a new question, in a manner that is opposite of the original belief you identified in step 1 –  For example, say your original belief was, “Sweating is disgusting” and that is holding you back from working out hard.  Your new question should be something similar to, “Why is sweating while working out so cleansing and worthwhile?”
7 – Answer that question in as realistic, yet optimistic tone that will form the basis of a new belief that serves you – This is you taking charge of your beliefs instead of your beliefs being in charge of you. Something like, “Although in the past, I didn’t enjoy sweating, I recognize that everyone sweats, every single day – and I don’t remember the last time I actually thought any individual was ‘disgusting’ because they were sweating.  In fact, I was sort of jealous that they could be getting in such a good workout and I was barely sweating.  I also now realize that sweat is very cleansing to the body and even on the skin has anti-bacterial properties.  Therefore, although I may have not liked sweating in the past, I am actually looking forward to sweating, and sweating profusely, from my workouts.”   
 
If you take those 7 Steps, along with these five additional steps, more than likely, you will be set free from that limiting belief and you will start to spontaneously take new actions that serve your life.  

If not and you still have fear associated with taking a new action, that fear is based on the conditioned responses to the environment and how you associate the environment with the actions you want to take.  Here’s the other 5 steps to move you past those fears and into the actions you want to take. 
1 – Go back to the original events that caused the original belief.  To keep with the ‘Sweating’ example, say you remember being in gym class and thinking, this is disgusting – If this example is what you originally thought was the “event” that caused the belief, you haven’t gone back far enough.  Typically, before thinking that in gym class, you may have heard your mother see you after playing in the summer come in all sweaty and say something like, “Look at you, you’re so messy and disgusting – go take a shower!,”  and internalized that belief. 
2 – See yourself in that original situation, but turn the event into a very positive and happy situation for you (This is where mental imagery really comes into play).  With that original event, see yourself coming in all sweaty and your mother responding, “Wow, look at you all sweaty – You must’ve had a lot of fun playing outside and I’m jealous that I wasn’t out there playing with you.” 
3 – Now see yourself in the future, where the original belief may have been limiting to you and imagine yourself having the situation play out in a very positive and happy situations as in step 2 – You will do this while using your new belief from Step 7 and seeing yourself taking a different action – and hence having a different outcome.  So for example, instead of going to the gym and trying to avoid sweating, you will go and imagine yourself working out hard, sweating profusely, feeling good (by imagining your new belief) and having your spouse, friend, yourself be happy that you were able to have such a good workout. 
4 – Repeat this as many times in your head as you need to feel confident to take the new action, without the previous fear or limiting belief
5 – Put yourself in that situation as soon as possible – In other words, Take Action!  If need be, repeat these last 5 steps and I can guarantee that if you’ve delved deep enough into yourself for the 7 Steps, these last 5 steps will take about 10-15 minutes and you’ll feel so confident and excited about taking on that new action, that it will happen easily after a couple of trial runs. 
 
Please be sure though that you actually want to take on the new action.
 
With that said, what I just gave you is the outline of my Beliefs book that I want to write.  Needless to say, there’s a lot of information and examples that I’m not giving, because I don’t want this post to be a book’s length – Sorry.

If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.

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