Thursday, November 05, 2009

Change your Brain Change your Life

By: Chalene Johnson
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The Key to Long Term Success - Changing the Voice in your Head

What lives in your mind, affects your thinking. Your thinking affects your performance, your mood, your beliefs, and your ability to reach your goals. When we slip, or believe we should have done a better job of something, we beat ourselves up mentally. We say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to anyone else in our lives. “What a loser!” “I can’t believe how stupid you are.” “You’ll never be able to do it right.” We become what we think about most. Our own self-deprecating comments become our greatest obstacle.

When you Change your Thinking, you Change your Life.

Have you ever stopped and realized you had made things worse in your mind than they really were? Once the facts came to light, you recognized how you had allowed your imagination to take things off into a deep dark place where monsters live. It’s amazing how effectively we can convince ourselves that one of our co-workers is out to get us, that someone doesn’t like us. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of feeling tired because you tell yourself you’re tired. Certainly we’ve all had moments of self-pity; only to be snapped back to reality with the story of someone struggling with the illness of a child, or a life altering event. When that happens you reevaluate the way in which you were processing your own circumstances; you put yourself back in check and think, “Wow! I guess I really don’t have it that bad. I need to be more thankful.”

As you continue on your life fitness journey, remember that a great deal of your training time should be spent on exercises for your brain. When it comes to fitness, the number one area of the body that is most important and most often overlooked is…the brain!

It takes practice. It takes training. So many people defeat their own best attempts to lose weight or maintain their weight loss by speaking negatively to themselves. I hear from so many people, especially women who tell me they actually repeat negative mantras to themselves like, “I’m fat. I’m ugly. I don’t deserve this. I’m disgusting.”

Regrettably, many women recall hearing their own mothers say these things about themselves. Young girls take their self-esteem cues from their mothers. With a young daughter myself, I worry endlessly that my “line of work” may negatively impact my daughter. Think about it… my job is to help people lose weight and get fit. I can’t help but get excited when people reach their weight loss goals. Bret and I try to be extra careful not to spend too much time talking about people’s weight loss, but we have plenty of slips. I just never want my children to think that they have to be ultra fit or a certain weight to have Mom and Dad’s approval. As a mom, I try never to compare my body, speak negatively of my weight, or others in the presence of my daughter. Intentionally I praise those who look healthy, fit, or who have curves. I compliment women in the celebrity spotlight who have “normal” body types and try to put a negative spin on those who are dangerously thin. “Wow, doesn’t she look sad and weak; poor thing. She might be sick. She needs a healthy diet.” Certainly she’ll be inundated with plenty of negative messages from the media, but I have an obligation to do my part as her most influential role model. I work to improve my own behavior and word choice in her presence, as my opinions will affect the voice she hears in her own head.

Through awareness and practice we can change the way we speak to ourselves. It’s time to change the tone of “that little voice” you hear in your head. How empowering to hear the same positive motivation that you would give a child or someone else for whom you care about. If you care about other people, you need to care about and speak to yourself in a way that is positive, supportive, loving and encouraging. Have a sense of humor!

From this day forward, speak to yourself in a way that you would someone you care about. Change that little voice inside your head.

I want you to know that you’re beautiful. God doesn’t make mistakes. Believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Know that you can do this. Believe that you can be fit. You deserve it. You may learn from your experiences, but you will never fail. You will be, and you are, succeeding.

These are the messages I want you to hear when that little voice speaks to you. Lift yourself up when you’re tired, sad or disappointed in yourself. What would you tell your best friend, your sister, your child? Encourage!

By speaking positively you’ll begin to think better of yourself. You’ll start treating other people better. You’ll begin treating yourself better. Just change the way you feel about yourself by changing that little voice inside your head. Will it happen overnight? Probably not. Like all exercise, it must be repeated and practiced for that part of the body to become strong and fit.

Change your thinking and you’ll change your body. Change your thinking and you’ll change your life.

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