The Most Common Statement
Sometimes when people ask us questions about controlling their weight, regardless of what we tell them, they will inevitably say, “But, it’s SO HARD!” No matter how hard you perceive it to be, it’s easier than staying obese when you consider the consequences. While no one wants to do hard things, there are things that you can do to make it more likely that you will be successful in a difficult task
1-Focus on the outcome rather than the difficulty of the moment.
When I feel the weight of a heavy bar of iron pressing on my shoulders, everything in me says to ditch that bar and run. However, failure is not an option for me until I know that I have exhausted every effort to successfully stand back up with that bar. I focus on my goal of having a fit, healthy body. Nothing will increase my lean muscle or shape my body like that heavy iron. As hard as life can get, nothing is any harder than standing up under that load. Focusing on my goal, makes me much more likely to successfully complete a set under the iron. That same strategy works for other things. When my job is so stressful that it seems almost impossible, I employ the same strategy. I just do what I know to do. The hard part will pass and I will accomplish what I set out to do. When I first quit eating sugar, the struggle with walking away from the dessert buffet was nothing compared to the victory of watching the scale plummet and my body being reshaped. The hard factor is relative. It begins to dwindle in the presence of victory.
2-Choose your mood.
When we are confronted with difficult tasks, we are inclined to go with our initial feelings and be miserable throughout the task. That will short circuit our efforts and cause us to quit before we reach our goal. Instead of dwelling on the misery of the task, choose your thoughts. If you cannot change the discourse in your mind, you might need professional help. When faced with a hard thing, instead of hating every moment of your existence during your execution of the task, think about something that makes you feel good. It could be an old memory, or new plans for something special. If you’re using your mind, use it to your betterment, not your demise. When I’m under the iron, I focus on my goal, the body that I want. I think about the benefits of continuing to earn a good income rather than the mediocre finances of retirement. I think about good times with friends and plan my healthy menus. When I struggle the hardest, I remind myself that I have chosen to do this. I have chosen my path. If you genuinely don’t like the path that you’re on, go a different way. Make your world small and there’s less junk to distract you. The difficult task may not be the cause of your agony. It may be your life. Fix it.
Oh, my goodness! When we’re engaged in a hard thing that’s going to take a long time to accomplish, it’s easy to get discouraged and think that we’re not making progress. Sometimes we lose ground, especially if you’re a heavy weight trainer. I do believe that Satan created the Overhead Press just to give me bad days. Too bad, it didn’t work. I make progress and lose a little progress, one pound up and 3/4 of a pound back. It would be so easy to think that I’m not getting anywhere with that damn lift except for my written records. I can go back and see where I’ve come from since I pushed that standard bar over my head the first time. I use an Olympic bar now with more weight. David taught me to keep records before I did my first lift and it makes all the difference in the World when the going gets tough. In some endeavors, the going is always tough.
4-Be aware of your position in the task.
When I first begin a difficult lifting session or any other hard thing, I go into it just because I have chosen to do it. If the “hard factor” persists well into the task, at some point, I will begin to look forward. I remind myself that I have already done the hardest part, I started. I made the initial commitment to begin. Once you begin, you will walk through a lot of your task by rote memory. Everything is more effective if you focus on the activity, especially lifting, but if you are having trouble with your focus, just do it anyway. At some point, the focus will kick in and time will pass. Then you can tell yourself that you’re almost finished! If looking forward to completion is not applicable, such as in long-term goals like weight management, you can still look forward to finishing THIS workout or navigating THIS meal or this day. Break your long-term goals up into short term goals and when you reach those milestones, it will give you the boost you need to keep going.
5-Add something positive to the task.
Adding something that you enjoy to any task makes it easier. That’s why so many people listen to music when they’re cleaning the house or digging a ditch. Weight trainers do the same thing but loud, aggressive music actually increases dopamine production which is conducive to picking up heavy stuff with better focus. The dopamine also helps us to remember all of the prompts that we need to recall to perform at our best. I recently bought new workout clothes so that I feel like a Diva when I lift. Don’t judge me. It helps. Whatever will give you a positive re-enforcement during the performance of your task is what will work for you. It may be music, conversation, clothing or even pictures of what you’re trying to accomplish. Just make it something that gives you a mental boost.
6-Remember where you started.
Unless you make a constant effort to keep your momentum going in the right direction, gravity will slow you down and then, without fail, you will lose ground until you are right back where you started. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fitness program or cleaning your house. This is a fact. If the thought of going back to where you started is terrifying, that should give you a little boost. For me, I was working for a major weight loss company, riding around to meetings and missing workouts. I was also losing muscle and strength. My muscle loss had become so profound that, although I was at the goal weight that they prescribed, I was beginning to lose mobility. There was more than one time that I almost fell going out my back door as I rushed to my car to drive 300 miles in one day to tell people how to lose weight. There was something missing, it was commitment to health. I had forgotten why I began that journey and did not have the proper tools to get myself back on track until I came to David’s Way. Remember your beginning and don’t ever go back. There’s nothing back there for you. Health is almost always yours for the taking. Push ahead and put as much distance between yourself and the beginning of a hard task as possible. Before you know it, the hard thing will be your new normal.