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Overcoming Feelings of Defeat – Transcript
Today I would like to share with you five simple steps to get yourself out of a psychological rut when you’re feeling defeated, tired or simply overwhelmed with life challenges. No doubt this is an issue that all of us face whether it’s in fitness, professional career or personal life. As an example I’m going to read to you a message from one of my California clients because I feel like all of us have been in the situation she describes. Her message to me serves as a great example for how many of us often feel. Once we read her message, I will share the five steps that I sent her in response. She’s an amazing woman so with just this little bit of a support she’s been able to keep on her program and enjoying the benefit of several fitness milestone achievements. Here’s what she wrote to me…
“Hey Michael. I know I’ve missed my workouts so far this week. With my husband being down with this flu I am pulling double duty at home while still trying to recover myself, and of course the last two days have been completely overwhelming at work, and I am really struggling just to find a few minutes to eat my meals and get my workouts in. I promise I am trying – tomorrow is a new day and another shot at getting it right. I had a little breakdown today and had a soda. As I was wondering why the heck I was drinking it, I think I realized that when I get so overwhelmed and stressed and I feel like I am out of control, ironically I grab something unhealthy because I want to and somehow fulfilling a want for myself seems like some kind of an achievement which gives me a feeling of control. It’s ironic because it’s completely the opposite. If I were actually in control I would just grab a glass of water since that fits with my goals. It’s been a rough couple of days. Any advice for getting back on the horse when you’re feeling overwhelmed and a little defeated?”
The feelings she described are very common and even I struggle with getting back on my program if I fall off for a couple days. I also would tell you 9 out of 10 people have the same issue with food or finding a quick source of fulfillment. One thing I can say with certainty is that I have observed throughout nearly 20 years working as a fitness professional: Overcoming these feelings does not require a high-level or complex neuro-psycho pattern solution. With modern fitness programming, it comes down to simplicity of execution. The more direct and clearly defined a process is for people with a busy schedule, the easier it is to adopt them into a daily function. I like to avoid over-complicating processes because they become prohibitive. Meaning that people will be less likely to sustain best practices that can improve or enhance their fitness levels if we remove practical application. Here are super simple steps to walk yourself through when you feel defeated, tired or tempted:
1. STOP AND ACKNOWLEDGE: Stop and acknowledge how you are feeling so you can be objective about what’s happening in your life and the conditions that may influence your feelings. By pausing for a moment and summing up your situation, you will be mindful and gain better perspective for decision making.
2. SET MICRO GOALS: Make a quick and attainable goal for the moment or that same day and then go accomplish it. Something simple like a plank for 60 seconds or 10 push ups, these are good micro goals because they take less than 1 minute and the act of doing a quick exercise changes your state. Not to mention you can find 60 seconds somewhere in your schedule to create a small success. It’s also important to remember that in fitness, success is cumulative. This means that even what would be defined as a moderate or small success absolutely compounds and adds to your collective accomplishment.
3. ENJOY THE JOURNEY: Remind yourself that this is really a journey and not all paths are smooth and easy going. It’s ok to have bumps along the way because that makes each milestone a super success and gives it meaning. For example, don’t focus on the 50, 60, 70 or even 80 lbs you want to shed but focus on the 2, 5 or 8 pounds. Take it one step at a time and suddenly, the rough patches of the journey are not so hard because they are what make it worth it in the end. That’s why is “accomplishment” when you get to the top. Keep in mind, mountains are climbed one step at a time.
4. RECOUNT YOUR SUCCESS: If you know that a workout will be missed and it’s unavoidable, be careful not to get frustrated or down on yourself. Instead, resolve to make up that workout as soon as you can. Keep a positive mindset by reminding your psyche of the big picture and reflect on how great you have been doing. Recount how much stronger you are in a plank or how the HIIT is not as challenging because you are getting better.
5. CONTROL YOUR REACTIONS: Remember that one thing you control is how you react to your situation. It is hard and takes practice to master your responses or feelings but project to the next day. In the morning, will you feel better or worse if you make the wrong food choice or decide to skip a workout? I will tell you that for most people, it’s not the act of having a soda or skipping workouts that start the cycle of failure…it’s the next day when the regret kicks in or they feel like all the previous work was for nothing. Some people even say at this point, it’s just too hard to change so they miserably stay in their comfort zone. But it’s a trap not a comfort zone. So fight it and get free! Start the next day with even more determination and it will pay off.
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