To Reach Your Fitness Goals, Give Up Magical Thinking
When it comes to setting and attaining the goals you care about most, the entire path from hope to success depends on one big condition:
You have to learn to get out of your own way.
You may have heard this before and still be confused about what it even means to “be in your own way”. What does it look and feel like, why are you doing it, and how do you stop?
Well, with respect to finally getting fit, living your ideal healthy lifestyle, and shedding fat and building muscle to sculpt a body you LOVE, getting out of your own way means that you have to give up magical thinking.
Magical thinking is the condition in which you know WHAT you want but the process of HOW to get it is a mystery to you.
As a result, you invest mental and emotional energy, as well as some of your most valuable resources like your time and hard earned money, in things that claim to help you reach your goal but will most likely fail to deliver the results you want.
Magical thinking partly stems from a belief problem. Even if you have a clear vision of the version of yourself that you want to create, if you don’t BELIEVE in that vision, you can be easily swayed and thrown off track by phony solutions that sound — and are — too good to be true in an attempt to make up for your lack of belief.
For example, if you want to lose 20 lbs. but on a subconscious level, you doubt that you are a person who could ever successfully lose those 20 lbs., your attempts to lose the weight will be shaped and defined by your doubt and disbelief, not by your desire. Your ability to reach a goal will always be limited by the extent to which you believe yourself to be capable and deserving of it.
Magical thinking can also be a mis- or dis-information problem. With $20 billion in annual revenue on the line, the diet and weight loss industries have about as many reasons to sell you miracle products that claim to fix, shrink, and upgrade you in no time flat and/or without requiring you to do anything different than you’re doing right now.
These include, but are in no way limited to:
*The diet that has you eat 500 calories a day while taking the “pregnancy” hormone;
*The cleanse where you subsist on sugary lemon water for no other reason than to get a raging 7 day headache and immediately gain back all the weight you “cleaned out” once you eat solid food again;
*The workout corset that “shapes your waist” by rearranging your internal organs and causing your abdominal muscles to atrophy so that they appear smaller while becoming functionally less useful; and
*The myriad diet pills that claim to boost your metabolism, reduce the number of fat cells your body produces, and block your appetite, but just for the 6 months it’s allowed on the market before the class action lawsuits kick in.
These products and their promises may all seem seductive, but if you’ve ever tried them, you know that they don’t work, don’t last, and rarely come without hidden costs and unintended consequences.
Finally, magical thinking is indicative of a disproportionate ratio of too-high expectations for too-little effort. Another word for this mismatch is entitlement. When the strategy you choose to achieve your goal isn’t built on a realistic relationship between the work you put in and the results you get out, you set yourself up for a self-fulfilling cycle of disappointment and anxiety.
If you’ve ever dieted and worked out for 3 whole days, then gotten upset when you haven’t already lost 5 lbs., you suffer from this type of magical thinking.
The problem is that you won’t engage in magical thinking in the things that come most easily and naturally to you. You’re most likely to rely on magical thinking when you face a significant gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
It’s usually this distance between your starting and finish lines that can so frustrate and overwhelm you that you resort to looking for short cuts that are typically less effective than the tried and true methods you hope to avoid because you think they “take too long” or “seem like too much work”.
To reach your fitness goals successfully, quit your magical thinking and implement a concrete plan that will get you real results. Once you have a goal and a plan to get there that works, you can leave behind the guesswork, mysticism, and superstition. Instead, you’ll have the confidence of knowing how to get what you want and the freedom from the fear and disbelief that you can never truly have it.
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