Understanding The Mindset
The MindsetLets talk about the Mindset Breakers first!
They come in many forms. From friends to family to junk food to drink. It starts with you telling everyone that you're trying to be healthy and lose weight. But you can feel that some people will do whatever they can get you to quit, whether it's trying to get you out on the booze, tempt you with junk food or just plainly and simply trying to talk you out of it. You have to be strong and stay the course. People will respect you more, as there are not many people who think that they can control their mindset - but you can. And that's a fact of life! Your mindset is exactly that - “your mind set” which you can change at the click of a switch. So when somebody is trying to focus, some people like to try and break that focus. I don't think they do it deliberately every time. I just think that when someone is being healthy, restrained and trying to better him or herself, it can highlight the bad aspects of other people's lives - which some people don't like. It's no different from people trying to stop smoking. The smokers are the first to try and get the non smokers smoking again because it makes them feel better.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit."
Aristotle, 322 BC
Voices from The Deep Dark Abyss.
The hardest test of them all is controlling your own inner voices. I like to refer to them as The Voices From The Deep Dark Abyss. These voices are the worst when the going gets tough. They hop onto the upward escalator holding their little placards shouting! “Give up! You can't do this! Just be happy with your weight, as it's you! Diets suck anyway! Give up! Eat some biscuits!” But the determined you, which I like to refer to as “The Dreamer The Big Plan Maker” gets drowned out by the voices from the Deep Dark Abyss! And I'm afraid they always seems to win and then they fuck everything up! They effectively take your wheels off your car whilst you're still driving to your better self. They remove your steering wheel, hand you a bottle of tequila and a cigarette and say “relax” “life's too short” “enjoy yourself” “let's wait until New Year and do it then” “let's get down the boozer” “that cake isn't going to eat itself!”. But The Dreamer The Big Plan Maker knows if we fail at this, with everything we have said and planned, our confidence is going to take one hell of beating! And when the chips are down, we all know where we turn to. We step on to the escalators and head down to the Deep Dark Abyss which usually operates in 3 - 6 monthly cycles and it’s where we let it all out! We leave our car jacked up on bricks, we head off down into the darkness with a bottle of tequila in one hand, a cigarette in the other and a rucksack full of bad ideas.
The voices from the Deep Dark Abyss have won again! No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The easy way out is exactly what it says: “It's the easy way out!” And I know first hand that nothing good can ever come from taking the easy way out. But it is the most common way out of any diet or testing situation. It can damage your confidence forever if you let it.
If The Dreamer The Big Plan Maker says to you “I want to be healthier! I want to control my drinking! I want to do more exercise! I want to save for a house! I want to learn to cook better foods and understand them! I want to read more! I want a more balanced life! I want to save money and eat real food! I want to improve my life!" then those are the things that you should focus on. OK, you have just read that last sentence, did you hear the chuntering start up from down below? As we speak, the plackets are starting to be written up! The drilling of the wooden poles, the hammering of the nails and up they come! Straight up the escalators “We don't have time for all that!” “we’re too busy!” “how are we going to fit that lot in around the kids!” “this is ridiculous!” “don't put so much pressure on yourself!” “life is about enjoyment!” “we work hard all day- give us a break!” “relax!” “pop your slippers on, pour yourself a large glass of wine and hop onto the sofa!” “start another box set! -you’ve earned it!”
If you leave the voices unchallenged then you are going to have to fight them every single time you have a bright idea, a new plan or goal. And on occasions the voices from below can talk you out of an idea within a heartbeat. Take New Year resolutions - most of them don't make it past the first two weeks for over 92% of the people that implement them. Most people just write them down on a piece of paper, to remind themselves and that's it! Now does that seem like a plan or just a small list? Remember - this is meant to be life changing stuff, not a trip to the grocery store. .. so why write a list? I've done it, many times before and failed every single time.
This was the moment for me that everything became clearer.
I’ll show you how I realised the power of planning for a task as simple as reading one book. I was fostered at the age of 6. So from 0-6 I missed out on large chunks of school. I was moved around a lot to different foster carers in the area with my brother. So when my new foster family took us both from Silvertown in East London to the Cotswolds it was a great change for the better. At 6 I couldn't read at all. I remember clear as day a boy called Leon Ostle who was in my class could spell "hippopotamus" out loud. And I couldn't read a word! I have struggled with reading and spelling all my life. But since leaving school after failing nearly all of my GCSE's (though I did get a B in drama!) I have always tried to read but whole books just seemed so daunting. I bought books that interested me and battled my way through them. I always added something better to myself by reading. I can only read non- fiction stuff as I have a real thirst for learning and self improvement. Whilst I still find it very challenging to read, I make myself do it.
Back life story over - but it is all relevant, I promise.
This is the power of a daunting goal broken down and made extremely simple and this is what successful people bring to their daily routines and tasks every day. I buy books that interest me, that challenge me and add something new to my outlook on life, not stuff that just reaffirms my own way of thinking. My wife Sam sees all these books being delivered and they pile up on my desk. Sam probably thinks (yes I'm trying hypothesise my wife's thought processes - dangerous ground I know, but what the hell!) "another book for that huge pile over there. What are you doing? Building a library!" Then one day I just broke down my top unread 7 books into manageable chunks which are for me 10 pages a day/40 mins as I am a slow reader, if you are a fast reader, just sit back and think what you could learn by this time next year.
Books/goal broken down
Most of my books are 300 pages long and I can read approximately 10 pages a day - that's one book every 30 days. That's 12 books a year, to my previous 2! Think about this! if I gave you 12 books and said read them all by this time next year, who do you think would start moving up your escalators with their placards? Now when we break the books down into small manageable chunks, and show the Voices From The Deep Dark Abyss the simple process of planning, instead of conflict at the top of the escalators like before, The Dreamer The Big Plan Maker and The Voices From The Deep Dark Abyss will now meet in the lobby, shake hands, embrace one another, order a couple of skinny lattes and discuss the never ending possibilities of your new-found way of thinking.
The trick is to dissect all of the barriers straight away. Write them down and systematically go through them before you listen to the voices. Big tasks broken down can look so simple and once you have shown the voices, they can stay in the lobby and help out.
If you can get the voices on side and understand them, the words of one song springs to mind:
“There ain't no stopping us now! We’re on the move!”
(I hope you can sing better than me!)
So when you start a healthy weight loss plan, make sure you break it down, set realistic short, medium and long term goals based on proven scientific study and get the voices onside quickly as they are the key to your success.
Thanks for reading.