- May. 13 2020
As featured on FigureAthlete.com.
So many times, I hear people say that they wish they could flip a switch and wake up with the body of their dreams. They want to win the “ideal body” lottery overnight.
They believe that life would be so much better if they could just snap their fingers and have all their body image problems solved.
Because, if that happened, life would be so easy. Or would it?
The question is, can a magical switch just be flipped, plopping the instant solution right in our laps? And would it really be a “gift” if it did happen? I don’t think it would, and here’s why.
Careful what you wish for. One-third of lottery winners declare bankruptcy within five years.
Whether the issue is fat loss, muscle gain, or even money, relationships, or career, any type of windfall solution could end up doing more harm than good. We must remember that in this new, supposedly “fixed” scenario, we’re still bringing ourselves with us.
Yes, Y-O-U, the person who created the issues that need to be fixed in the first place. You might think that outside factors like heredity, age, or time are your problems, and if you could only fix thesethings, then all your problems would be solved.
But to truly change the results in your life for the long run, you must change the root cause for the issue, and the bottom-line cause in any situation is you.
Many people want to change things they’re not happy with, but they’re unwilling to change themselves. This is why we go looking for solutions outside ourselves, because we believe that this magical switch will allow us to receive automatic results without first doing the work on ourselves.
When we do this, we’re ignoring the fact that an outside influence isn’t going to be able to solve an inside issue. It’s a Band-Aid, and will only magnify the problem in the long run rather than fix it.
In many ways, by relying on the quick fix solution, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.
Permanent, effective changes start from within.
When we focus on just getting the problem fixed, without learning exactly how to create the solution in the first place, we’re not equipping ourselves with the right tools and mindset that will allow us to maintain that result for the long term.
As the saying goes, it’s the journey, not the destination.
That journey from where we are now to where we want to be is what’s important. Granted, the journey can sometimes be uphill, facing some of our biggest fears along the way, but that’s where we’ll find the solution.
It’s where we find ourselves. It’s where we become the person who’s strong enough to handle that solution once we achieve it.
If someone did hand you your ideal body, you wouldn’t even know what to do with it or, more importantly, how to maintain it.
However, if you found your own way there, after going down that bumpy road riddled with troubleshooting and lessons learned, then you’re going to be equipped with the ability to produce that solution again and again, no matter what’s thrown in your path.
When Band-Aid-type solutions drop in our lap, we never have to address or adjust our mindset, and it’s our mindset that sets up success.
As a society, we tend to look at others, particularly celebrities and professional athletes, and think, “Well, if I had the resources (time, money, personal trainers, personal chefs, etc.) that they have, I’d reach my goals too. No doubt about it!”
We choose to believe that, based on where we are now, we can’t achieve whatever we have our heart set on because of reasons X, Y, and Z. Well, our minds are already set and we’re right.
As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Working with a fabulous trainer, having a nutritionist on speed dial, and scheduling a dedicated hour everyday for your workout helps, of course, but that’s not what actually gets people to their body image goals. Their mindset does.
Something I learned a long time ago is that successful people do certain things in a certain way. If you study any successful person, regardless of their profession, you’ll see that the people who maintain their success over the long term all do certain things in a certain way, and that’s why they got where they are.
They were never handed a magic bullet. They built their success one block at a time. Making mistakes, learning, growing, using each and every misstep as feedback instead of taking it as an excuse to give up.
We all know that some of the hardest things we go through in life are the things that inspire the most strength, courage, and growth within us. They shape and build our character.
By now, you’re hopefully saying, “Okay, I’m ready. But how do I get from where I am now to where I want to be?” Great question. There’s a four-step process to get you on the road to developing from the inside out.
Step One: Get Educated
Read, read, read, and then read just a little bit more. Seek out the best of the best, and find out what they’re saying. Read their books and their blogs. If you can, listen to their podcasts whenever you’re driving in the car.
This may seem like an overwhelming task, but I’ve realized that the more I learn, the more I realize I have more to learn. The sooner you accept that education is a life-long process, the sooner this task shifts from daunting to exciting. Only through education can you grow.
Remember that this doesn’t mean spending time searching out the quick-fix answer. You might take one step forward in the short-term, but in the long run you will take four to five steps back.
Invest your time in actions that will help you to grow. Your results will be in direct proportion to your wisdom.
Step Two: Shift Your Mindset
Sometimes this happens simultaneously with the first step. It’s time to participate in some self-evaluation. Take a moment and listen to what you think about and talk about most.
What kinds of words are you using? This may seem silly, but you’d be amazed at what a difference a change in language can make, even if it’s the self-talk inside your head.
Ask yourself if you’re focusing mostly on healthy, optimistic, forward-thinking things, or if most of your conversations and thoughts focus on the lack of whatever it is you want or the “bad” things in your environment.
Some examples of adjusting your language would be:
Once you begin paying attention to the thoughts that run across your mind and the words that come out of your mouth, you’ll be amazed at how a shift in these potentially-negative feelings can change your whole demeanor.
When you start focusing on and appreciating the good things in your life (for example, the parts of your body that you like right now, as they are), you begin to see even more good things that you never really noticed before.
When you get in the right frame of mind, it’s much easier to go after what you want and enjoy the process. You’ll soon begin to notice the thoughts and focus of other people around you, as well. Which leads right into the next step…
Step Three: The Support System
You’ve got to surround yourself with like-minded people. Your environment, and the people you spend time with, can be even more important than your heredity.
Become aware of the mindset of those around you. Are they in a good place mentally? Are they fun to be around or are they kind of a downer?
When you’re on the road to achieving your goals, you want to spend the majority of your time with people who are going to help you to grow, not hold you back.
Find groups of people who are focused on the same sorts of goals. Say, for example, an awesome website forum dedicated to bringing people together from around the globe to discuss their training towards a similar goal.
This task might seem challenging (not hard) at first, but when you really start putting these principles into action, you’ll see that this step is actually easier than it seems and many of these new, uplifting friendships begin to pop up unexpectedly.
Step Four: Create a Plan
This is so cliche but it’s true and it works. Get your goals down on paper. Be specific. Find images that remind you what you’re shooting for. Write deadline dates, goal numbers, and measurable numbers. This is the only way to be truly accountable.
The Success is Truly Yours
The ironic thing about wanting to win the great body lottery is that each and every one of us is already capable of achieving the solution to our problems on our own, without the magical flip of a switch.
The trick is just to believe it and get your head in the game. Traveling the journey is, in a sense, freedom, because if we can achieve the solution by our own hand, we realize that we’re capable of anything.
It’s like having a combination lock and one day figuring out that we already have the code to unlock it.
It’s time to stop wishing for that body lottery and begin using that magic switch within ourselves to go after the solution. We knowwe’re capable; we just have to use the drive that we all have, stop holding back, and do it.
We must realize that learning, growing, and pushing our comfort zone boundaries is what transforms us into the person capable of achieving our goal. The challenge is what brings us the strength, wisdom, and skills to maintain it.