by MFF Life Coach Joel Readance
Fellow Ninjas –
When we think about the time and commitment that goes into our exercise regime, falling victim to our own “head games” shouldn’t be one of the hurdles we have to clear. Alas, this isn’t always the case and it’s good to know what’s going on in these noggins of ours. As an on staff coach at MFF and fellow ninja (in week 2 of Snatched in Six Weeks), I want to make sure we all have our heads screwed on straight about a few of the more popular mental blocks that could keep us from achieving our health and hotness success.
An unwanted party guest and all together vicious queen, GAIL shows up in our lives at the most inopportune times. So who is this mischievous maiden and how can she f*ck up our fitness goals? Let’s break her down!
G.A.I.L. is an acronym for four nasty buggers that can plague our lives if left unchecked, Gremlins, Assumptions, Interpretations and Limiting Beliefs. So let’s define each and discuss how they might show up in our ninja lives and how we can overcome them.
Some of you crazy kids, like me, are old enough to remember the 1984 movie starring those cute little fluffy critters that, when exposed to water, turn into monstrous saboteurs hell bent on destroying everything in their path. Well guess what? The gremlin in our heads operate in a similar fashion trying to sabotage us in our efforts to achieve our health and hotness goals. This “inner critic” plays on our insecurities and keeps us feeling small, fearful and unsatisfied by telling us we’re not strong enough, smart enough, deserving enough, etc. to achieve our goals and dreams. Gremlins vary from person to person and are based on individual life experiences. For the purposes of ninja training, a good example of a gremlin is one that tries to sabotage your nutrition and physical efforts by telling you that you’re going to fail because you lack the discipline or strength needed to succeed in Snatched.
So what can you do about keeping these little saboteurs in check? Bring them into the light. Just like the movie, our gremlins don’t like to be exposed. As long as they can keep you playing small, feeling insecure and afraid to move outside of your comfort zone (where all real growth takes place), they can continue to take up space in your head. But if you’re able to identify your gremlins (I’m fat, I’m unworthy, I’m weak, I’m a loser, etc.), recognize when they’re whispering in your ear and purposefully continue to move forward in the way of your goals, you can push through them and the headlock that they have on you!
Simply put, an assumption is an expectation that because something has happened before, it will happen again. These are especially dangerous for ninjas who have dealt with unsuccessful diets or exercise plans in the past. You can sign up for Snatched,or any fitness/nutrition program, with the best of intentions, but then quickly derail yourself with negative assumptions you’ve created around your ability to achieve your exercise and nutrition goals. A good example of an assumption is one in which you think you’re destined to fail at your nutrition goals because you were unsuccessful with diets you’ve tried in the past. Assumptions are dangerous because they allow us to rationalize self-sabotaging behavior. Two weeks into your fitness/nutrition program, after a particularly stressful day at the office, you might find yourself thinking, “F*ck it! I don’t need to try to keep to my nutrition plan because it won’t worry anyway.”
So here’s what you need to know about assumptions. They’re based on past events and stale circumstances that no longer play a relevant role in your life. (TWEET THAT SHIT!) By holding on to these assumptions, you keep yourself stuck in some past experience that never served you to begin with. Crazy, right?! When an assumption comes up for you, remind yourself that it serves no purpose in your present life and move past it with an open mind. By opening yourself up to all of the amazing possibilities of your training and nutrition program, you can reach your health and hotness goals (provided you’re willing to do the work)!
An interpretation is an opinion or judgment that you create about an event, situation, person or experience and believe to be true. As human beings we have a tendency to create interpretations in our lives based on our own individual experiences and personal bias. A great example of an interpretation is around trainer/instructor feedback. I remember a time when I used to interpret the critiques I received from my instructors as negative. Even if they were trying to help me with form, I would think there was something wrong with me for not “nailing it” (having perfect form) every time. For us ninjas, it’s easy for our personal interpretations of what’s going on at the gym to skew our perception of ourselves and others.
So the next time you make an interpretation about someone or something going on in your life, ask yourself if this is based on personal opinion or fact. You can also ask yourself if there is another way to look at it. In my example, instead of interpreting instructor feedback as something negative, I chose to see it as an added benefit to my training. This helped me shift my perspective and look at the feedback I get from Mark and all the other hot ass instructors as helpful and beneficial to my own Snatched success!
Last, but certainly not least in GAIL’s bag of dirty tricks are limiting beliefs. These are beliefs that you accept about life, about yourself, about your world, or about the people in it that limits you in some way. They cap your potential to succeed and prevent you from reaching your full potential. Examples of limiting beliefs include:“I am no good at sports.”, “I am too old to start a fitness program.” and “I’m not smart enough to get that job so I won’t even apply.”
Think about any limiting beliefs you may be holding on to (not smart enough, too old, not strong enough, etc.) and begin to rewrite them in a manner that serves you. If you have a limiting belief that says “I’m not smart enough to…” call yourself out on it, ask yourself if this belief is serving you and if not, kick its ass to the curb!
Just remember, GAIL is an all around b*tch, but she’s totally manageable, provided you are willing to do the work to reprogram your self-imposed barriers to success. The only limitations we have in this world are the ones we place on ourselves. (TWEET THAT SHIT!) The sky is the limit provided you give yourself the opportunity to fly!
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