Did you start your year with New Year’s resolutions and a renewed commitment to do things differently? After the holidays, it’s tempting to focus on losing weight because of all those times we gave in to temptation! Those desserts and snacks tasted so good and everywhere you went there was something to tempt you.
After the holidays were over, popular wisdom told you to just pull yourself together and use your will-power to stick to a new diet or exercise plan. The old Nike slogan “Just Do It” comes to mind. And, like most people, you picked a new approach and dove in full of enthusiasm and energy!
You may still be going strong! Or, after a while, you might have found it harder and harder to push yourself to put on those Nikes. Usually, that happens some time before you reach the 28-day mark (the time it takes to embed a new habit).
We all have a built-in mechanism called ego resistance. This inner demon acts like a brake and looks to stop our progress when it appears that we are on the brink of some change in routine, belief or habit.
You might wonder why we even have resistance. Why do we have something that’s designed to hold us back?
Basically, ego resistance has its roots in self-preservation. If you think back to “caveman” times, it was pretty risky to go somewhere unknown and try something new. If you went to an unknown area, you might end up in quicksand and realize it only after it’s too late. If you decided to eat the juicy berry on that unknown tree, you might get really sick or even die.
At its core, ego resistance causes us to stop and think and evaluate before we go charging into something new. Thereby protecting us.
What I’ve found is that ego resistance jumps in even when we’re working on a change that’s sure to improve our lives! Bummer! That’s why you start off with awesome energy and a great new idea – that spin class at your gym, for example. For a few days, or maybe even 2 weeks, you go regularly. It feels great! You are amazed at how recharged and energized you feel – so cool!
Then, slowly, it changes:
- your kid got sick so you decided to stay home that day instead of getting to spin class
- a client called and that spare time you had to drive to class just got eaten up with the phone call
- you checked Facebook for just a few minutes (that then turned into a half-hour) and now it’s too late to get there in time
- you’re tired and don’t feel like going, so you skip the class because missing just once won’t make a difference
And, one derailment piles on top of another, and before you realize it, you haven’t been back to spin class in weeks (or months)!
So, whether the habit you wanted to change was exercise, food choices or a new attitude, you might be right back where you started.
I have good news for you! It can be easier.
You can get yourself back on track. You can use your inner resources to stay the course when you’re looking for different results. And, it all starts right between your ears. Yup… you heard me, inside your own head. Re-training your brain to get different results is a critical key and it’s actually easier than it might seem.
Before any fitness trainers out there jump up and down thinking I’m saying that you don’t have to work for it, here are a few key points:
- Do you still have to do the exercise? Yes.
- Do you still have to make different food choices? Yes.
- Do you still have to work on maintaining a positive mental attitude? Yes.
The difference is that you can make it much easier to actually do each of those things! Get your brain on board with you. I’ve written much about how to get your brain on board, and one article that might help is about creating results.
And, just in case you think this article is about weight loss or fitness, think again. This process applies to any new habit you’d like to adopt.