“There's nothing like biting off more than you can chew, and then chewing anyway.”
I like this quote a lot. I just heard it the other day and it really struck a chord with me.
If you ever listen to the motivational speaker types you'll occasionally hear the term "limiting beliefs". I not a huge fan of self empowerment buzz terms but there really is something to this idea. We all have notions of what we are and are not capable of accomplishing.
Certainly some of these are just simple reality. For instance, I'm a 45 year old man. I think I can state with confidence that it is beyond my capacity to make the Olympic women's gymnastic team, no matter how much I apply myself. OK, that may be an extreme example but you get my point.
The thing is that far too often we sell ourselves short on just what we can accomplish. And the really insidious part is that sometimes we don't even realize that we are harboring these limiting beliefs. If someone were to ask you if you think you could ever run a marathon or fit into a size 5 again or run your own business you may honestly answer "Sure, if I were to apply myself and remain focused I could get myself there in X amount of time". However there might be that little inside voice, or maybe just a hidden assumption that puts day dreams like that in the same category as dreams of flying like superman or being the first person on Mars. A nice little fantasy but ... come on, let's be real.
A few years ago I took one of those be all you can be weekend seminars. Yeah, yeah, I know but I had just gone through a break up that left my heart in tatters, I hated the job I had and basically I felt directionless. A dear friend of mine who was, and still is, involved with this particular education group talked me into taking the three day seminar.
If I hadn't been at such a low point I never would have done it but in retrospect I'm glad I did.
Yeah the group uses a ton of those buzz terms I dislike so much and the people there can at times be a little on the overly upbeat side but behind all the lectures, exercises and warm fuzzies of a very long weekend there were some valuable core lessons.
Among them was that because you are a human being living in the world you have certain assumptions about yourself, others and life in general. Assumptions that sometimes you don't even realize you've made but still affect how you live and many of the major decisions in your life.
I hadn't realized how many of the options in life that lay before that I had written off as beyond my abilities before I ever knew I wanted them.
A couple months after taking the seminar I gotten past the emotional funk I was in, I quit that awful job and started my own business. This put me on a path that allowed me to get rid of the debt I had lived under for my entire adult life and buy my own home. None of that would have happened if I had not recognized and confronted the deep down, bedrock assumptions I had about myself. Among them were that I just wasn't a business man, that I would always be in debt, that I would always live hand to mouth & never be able to put together a down payment for a home.
I remember when I saw Eddie Murphy's Nutty Professor movie; at the end when he had conquered the conflict of the movie, won the heart of the girl of his dreams and had made the decision that he was going to change his life and lose weight he told his girl "I'm going to lose weight but I'll always be big". I thought to myself, really? That's the triumphant moment? I'll take off some of the weight but I'm always going to be a fat guy?
If that's your choice, to be a heavyset person, so be it and Gods bless you. However if your desire is to lose weight and be, well, let's say for now "not fat", then you may want to take a close look inside and see if you've already decided you can't do it.
A lot of people have that mindset. Once you know what to listen for you can often hear it in the way people speak about themselves. Many have reasons they use to fortify their beliefs like genetics or environment or because they have children and still many more just have internally cast themselves in the role of the fat person. The simple self limiting belief that you will always be overweight can sabotage your efforts before you begin.
Right now it's the first week of the new year and just like every year at this time the gyms are full of newcomers. That's a wonderful thing. Alright, it does make parking a pain in the ass but aside from that, it's good.
And just like every year those crowds will have dwindled back down to normal levels by Valentines day. Many of those that give up do so because they have no faith in their own ability to succeed in significantly changing their health & their fitness level.
If getting in shape is one of your goals in 2010 then I challenge you to not be one of those who gives up on it. Losing excess body fat and/or building up some of that muscle you've always wanted is within your control. I want you to believe it, to know it deep down inside.
It's not going to happen overnight and there are no magic bullets for this. You need to alter your lifestyle to a point that you are mostly eating a reasonable, balanced diet that is a bit lower in calories and you are moving your body enough to burn some fat and at least maintain if not increase your muscle mass.
This doesn't have to be done all at once. In fact, the best way, in my opinion, is to keep making little changes in your diet & activity level.
Before you know it those little bites of change you keep chewing on have you accomplishing something that you may have thought you never could and the way that feels, the realization that you can become what you had thought was beyond your grasp, well as Mark Burnett said, there is nothing like it.